Colorado College takes action with coronavirus concerns, provides update on Spring Break and cancels large events

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Colorado College Release) - The following was posted to the website of Colorado College on March 10. Click here for more.

As the number of cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to increase, we know many of you are worried about traveling during Spring Break, and also about what may be ahead of us in the coming weeks and months as we navigate the effects of this outbreak. Please know that our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

Because confirmed virus cases are expected to grow exponentially nationwide and worldwide in the coming weeks, and because Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has now declared a state of emergency, we are taking the following actions:

*Block 7 classes will be delivered via distance learning. Students should plan to remain off campus from Spring Break through at least the end of Block 7, and possibly the rest of the academic year. Students, when you leave for Spring Break, please take your essential belongings – including medications and items needed for study – with you now. You may wish to take all of your belongings.

*Adjusted block schedule: We are extending Spring Break by one week, through Sunday, March 29. On Monday, March 30, we will begin Block 7 with distance-learning classes only, in a revised schedule. There will be no block break following Block 7. Block 7 will continue through the previously scheduled block break, with the option of faculty adding weekend instruction. Some classes will be canceled if an online alternative is not possible. Advising resources will be put into place to help students navigate the impact of these changes. We understand that seniors are worried about meeting graduation requirements, and we are actively discussing your needs. We will make sure there are pathways to graduation as planned for all seniors. We will follow up with more communications on this.

*Canceling large events: In order to reduce risk, we are canceling most, if not all, large campus events scheduled between now and the end of Block 7, including admission open houses. We also will schedule fewer in-person meetings. We will make a decision on Commencement soon, and will communicate that as soon as possible.

We know that some of our peer colleges are canceling in-person classes for the remainder of the academic year. Because the Block Plan allows us more flexibility, we will monitor the situation and determine mid-Block 7 if we can resume in-person classes for Block 8. Extending Spring Break will give us more time to monitor and assess the ramifications of the virus’ reach, and will allow faculty more time to modify their Block 7 classes to be delivered via distance learning.

-All students should prepare to leave campus no later than the end of the day Wednesday, March 18.
-Those students who already registered to stay on campus during Spring Break and do not have the option to return home must seek special permission to stay on campus.
Room and board will be provided only to students who have no option but to remain on campus, including international students, those whose legal residence is Colorado College, and those with other extenuating circumstances. Please use this web form for those petitions. Students who do not have another housing option will be provided with housing, meals, and technology support.
-Students who stay on campus should expect that courses will be offered in a distance-learning mode as they will be for all students. There will be few activities, and few gatherings of groups. Previously scheduled campus Spring Break activities are canceled.

Faculty and staff will continue working, while adhering to the protocols advised by the Centers for Disease Control and our local public health department to keep safe and healthy, including not reporting to work if they have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.

We ask you to carefully evaluate your Spring Break travel plans. Please consider simply going home instead of traveling elsewhere this break. We realize that may be a disappointment, but broader travel now brings additional risk of exposure to the Coronavirus and the possibility of quarantine, so we are asking all members of the CC community – including faculty and staff – to be as conservative as possible with their travel plans.

The president’s cabinet is meeting daily to make decisions on our response. A campus task force has been planning for the possibility of online classes and is supporting faculty. We understand that there are many implications of these decisions, and we will be working through them and following up with you in the coming days.

If you have questions, email covid19@coloradocollege.edu; please leave your phone number if you prefer a personal call back.

The fear of Coronavirus has resulted in incidents of bias and harassment against Chinese nationals, Chinese Americans, and people of Asian heritage here, and worldwide. Many members of our community, including our international students, faculty, and staff, may be dealing with stigma. Please uphold our commitment to antiracism. The Centers for Disease Control provides information on stigma related to this outbreak.

These are difficult decisions, and ones we do not take lightly. This is a time when we need to work together to ensure the health and safety of our entire CC community and our broader communities. With your help we can do that wisely, thoughtfully, and compassionately.