Dear students, faculty and staff,
We have endured a tremendously difficult start to the new year, with devastating wildfires last week amid a continuing spike in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant in our state and across the country. As we kick off 2022, let us support one another and remember that we are at our best when we come together in common purpose.
As noted last Friday, our campus is working on making emergency funding available for those impacted by the fires that ravaged communities in Boulder County last week. We are reaching out to students and employees potentially affected, and we will have more to share later today.
The realities of COVID-19 are again requiring our campus to make changes to safeguard our health and sustain our operations. Our goal right now, as it has been since day one of the pandemic, is to ensure the safety of our campus community. We also want
to maintain our forward momentum to the extent that we can do so, and to avoid a campus shutdown.
Current public health modeling efforts indicate that fast-growing COVID-19 case numbers in Colorado will likely exceed volumes of prior peaks within two weeks before beginning to decline. Given these projections related to the rapidly moving omicron variant and based on current data available, we are taking measures to limit in-person contact where possible and sustain the health and operational status of our campus.
We are therefore implementing the following, effective immediately:
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen minimal transmission on our campus - a testament to our vaccination policy, masking and distancing protocols, and robust self-reporting and contact tracing efforts. Due to high levels of community transmission of
the omicron variant, it is prudent to minimize our on-campus presence over the coming weeks, and decrease pressures on our campus resources. All those able to work remotely should continue to do so, with supervisory approval. As always, faculty
and staff with clinical responsibilities should consult with their clinical supervisors.
Students will continue to receive guidance from their schools and programs. Where possible, some programs are transitioning to virtual and/or hybrid programming, but in-person instruction will be allowed where necessary.
Critical personnel and students with in-person academic activity who must be on campus should continue to observe safety protocols.
In-person meetings, gatherings and events of any size, other than academic classes and essential academic activities, are on hold until January 24*. Note that, while existing room reservations may appear active in the EMS room reservation system, all
space reservations through January 24 should be canceled. *Edited to clarify this applies to both on-campus and off-campus meetings, gatherings and events.
Please continue to use Zoom and other tools available to gather virtually, or plan to reschedule for another time.
We know that COVID-19 booster shots provide added protection against waning immunity, and are an essential tool for keeping ourselves healthy. Indeed, a booster brings your vaccine’s effectiveness level up to more than 75% from a rate as low as
35%. Early studies show that booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines significantly improve our bodies’ ability to fight off the omicron variant. Side effects are mild to moderate, and similar to those occurring after initial vaccination, with fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site most commonly reported.
In accordance with the latest science, our campus and all CU campuses have elected to require booster doses for all students and employees. At CU Anschutz, a booster shot will be required beginning January 24, and we are pleased to report that nearly 74% of our employees have already received and documented their boosters.
Eligibility timing differs based on when you received your final dose of your initial vaccine. We will follow CDC booster guidelines - currently 5 months after Moderna or Pfizer, or 2 months after Johnson & Johnson.* If you are not yet eligible, you will be required to get the booster within one month of eligibility. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are preferred for primary and booster vaccines; Johnson & Johnson may be considered where a contraindication exists to the use of mRNA vaccines.
Once you have received your booster, simply log in to the campus vaccine verification system and add your details, as you did with your initial vaccine.
Schedule your free COVID-19 booster shot today through UCHealth My Health Connection, another medical provider or any vaccine provider.
With fewer individuals on campus currently, all university permit parking lots except the Leadville lot will be open and available for students and employees, regardless of parking permit or permit type. We hope those critical personnel and students who must be on campus are able to take advantage of expanded parking options to park close to their campus destinations, as well as to take breaks and meals in their vehicles if they wish to do so. Refunds will not be provided for those with existing parking permits.
While pivoting yet again is not welcome news to any of us, we have learned a great deal over the course of this pandemic and proven that by setting a high bar for our health
and safety, we continue to deliver on our mission and move our campus forward. Our gratitude to all those who worked over the last week to transition as much of our programming online as possible. And our thanks to each of you for your continued flexibility
This is a challenging time for many of us. Please remember you have an entire community at your side, and many resources available to you, both on campus and off. Take care of one another, and ask for support when you need it.
Thank you for helping keep #CUAnschutzTogether as we navigate new challenges in the new year.
*Notes added and edits made 1/13/22 for clarity.