The University of Denver is making a multi-million dollar bet on on-campus learning this week, except for the Sturm College of Law which started August 17th. New student orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th and the fall quarter begins September 12th.
DU developed a detailed plan which guides a return to campus learning under COVID-19. And, it is clear that DU is making every reasonable effort to navigate an extremely difficult situation for students, staff, and administration.
While most schools and Universities started earlier than DU, many have been forced to shut down their campuses a move to off-campus learning (see Colorado College, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill to name just a few). DU has leveraged its late start time to introduce best practices (social distancing, masks, and enhanced sanitation) and hold wide-ranging orientation meetings to guide safety adherence. Chancellor Jeremy Haefner has publicly announced a zero-tolerance policy for risky behavior (i.e. large parties and social distancing violations). Haefner also held special meetings with Fraternity and Sorority Life leaders to prevent similar mass outbreaks witnessed across the country. DU has partnered with National Jewish Health for testing, contact tracing, symptom monitoring, and prevention of the disease.
Students will have access to four methods of learning during the fall. In-person classes, online classes, hybrid classes (a mix of in-person or on-line), and ‘Hyflex’ classes which will switch between in-person and online, depending on the desire of the student(s). This is all in an effort to reduce or mitigate person-to-person contact.
As for living accommodations, the University is offering single occupancy rooms and enhanced cleaning of common areas and shared bathrooms (3x daily). The student bookstore and Anderson Academic Commons (library), meanwhile, are leveraging online, contract-less ordering.
The Division of Athletics and Recreation is doing its part, too. The Coors Fitness Center and El Pomar natatorium have reopened for faculty and students with extra sanitation and operational precautions. Coaches are reinforcing behavioral and sanitation practices with their teams to reduce or mitigate person-to-person contact and transmission.
✔️ Maintain social distance
✔️ Always wear a mask
— University of Denver (@UofDenver) August 27, 2020
Considering the plans outlined by the University, DU leadership looks to be doing everything in their power to reduce a mass outbreak on the DU campus. There will, no doubt, be outbreaks this fall on the Denver campus but, hopefully, DU can isolate outbreaks and continue on-campus learning.
Photo courtesy of the University of Denver