‘Strict enforcement’ threatened for students at CU Boulder, where COVID-19 cases spike

By: - September 18, 2020 4:44 pm

Outside the University Memorial Center at University of Colorado Boulder. (

Cases of COVID-19 are climbing once again in Colorado, spurred in large part by outbreaks at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 507 new cases on Sept. 17, representing the largest number of daily new cases since Aug. 4. CU Boulder reported 130 new cases of COVID-19 — its highest single-day total — on Sept. 17. The university has had 671 cases since testing began on Aug. 24.

Statewide, the three-day moving average for Sept. 15 through 17 is 461 cases. Just one week ago, on Sept. 10, Colorado was averaging around 300 new COVID-19 cases per day.

At his COVID-19 briefing Sept. 18, Gov. Jared Polis once again urged CU Boulder students to follow public health orders.

“I know that the vast majority of students across our state are doing the right thing,” Polis said, “but those students who have continued to attend large groups or parties really have put everybody at risk because of their actions.”

Local students, faculty and staff at CU Boulder are under a mandatory quarantine for two weeks, a step strongly recommended by Boulder County Public Health and enforced by the university.

According to a Sept. 15 statement from CU Boulder, students are permitted to leave their dorms or off-campus housing only to:

• Attend in-person classes, labs, research activities and intercollegiate athletic trainings.
• Obtain food (delivery or curbside pickup), medicine, medical care and emergency supplies that cannot be delivered. This includes seeking COVID-19-related testing.
• Work and take children to school/child care.
• Exercise alone.

“Because of the serious public health risks involved,” the statement said, “students found in violation of COVID-19 protocols that endanger our community will face strict enforcement of the student code of conduct and the campus health and safety policy, which may include exclusion from campus, probation — which can impact future study abroad or attending graduate school — and suspension from the university pending adjudication.”

Polis said Boulder and Adams counties were also showing higher test positivity rates than the rest of the state, meaning that not enough people are getting tested.

Coloradans can find a “free, quick and easy” testing site in their community using an online map.

“The students who are navigating through this tough moment, who are rising to the occasion, who are doing the right thing, I want to say thank you,” Polis said. “And for those who aren’t, there’s still time to make a course correction and show that you can be the hero that I know you are.”

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Faith Miller
Faith Miller

Faith Miller was a reporter with Colorado Newsline covering the Colorado Legislature, immigration and other stories.