Fellow Bears,

 I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable winter break and that you and your loved ones have remained in good health. We continue to monitor the evolving circumstances regarding the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and I am writing today with additional updates in advance of the start of classes next week.

We will resume on-campus instruction and activities Monday, January 10, as planned, and are implementing a booster shot requirement, expanding our indoor masking requirement, and taking additional measures to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community members – which has been our top priority throughout the pandemic. We are also taking steps to align our quarantine and isolation requirements to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please review the detailed updates below to ensure you understand the changes that are being made and their implications as you return to campus.

The pandemic has affected our families, communities, and the world, contributing to so much loss and disruption to the patterns of daily life. Many of the impacts that have been universally felt are the ones that kept us apart. We know that a lack of contact at times has not been most supportive of the rich inputs to the learning process that are realized when we are together and has strained the mental health of our community. The educational opportunities and engagement that occur in person on our campus are an important part of the invaluable educational experience we facilitate wherein our students and even our faculty and staff learn, grow, and thrive together. We learned over the past several months, including during the fall semester, that we can operate and offer an in-person educational experience safely. Measures like the vaccine and masking requirements allowed us to do so by mitigating transmission of COVID-19 in our classrooms and shared spaces. We anticipate there may be some operational impacts as this situation evolves and we have been working diligently to develop plans to manage them.  

Much as we have throughout the pandemic, we are going to get through this together. I wish everyone good health and success in the spring semester and thank you for following these protocols.

feinstein signature

Andy Feinstein

COVID-19 Updates

In our best efforts to protect the health and safety of our community and to reduce the likelihood of disruptions, including the need to pivot to remote instruction at any point during the semester, UNC will be taking the following additional measures and precautions, effective immediately.

Booster Requirement
With COVID-19 cases rising across the country, largely due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, getting the vaccine and booster shot is the best way to protect yourself and our community against serious illness from the virus. UNC students, faculty, and staff are required to receive a booster shot before February 7, 2022 if they are eligible or within one month of their eligibility, if that date is later than the Feb. 7 deadline. Individuals are eligible five months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, six months after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, and two months after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The same allowances for an exemption to the policy for medical or non-medical reasons still apply.

Although the deadline to submit information regarding your vaccination status is February 7, 2022, we urge members of our community to receive a booster shot and submit their information as soon as they are able to do so. In partnership with CDPHE, UNC will hold vaccination clinics on campus Friday, January 7 through Monday, January 10 to make it easy for students, faculty, and staff to take this important step to keep ourselves, as well as our friends, classmates, families, and colleagues safe. Additional information about vaccination and booster availability is included below. Much like in the fall semester, students, faculty, and staff will be required to submit information about their vaccination status or formally request an exemption before February 7, 2022.

  • Students must upload a digital copy — PDF or JPG — of their COVID-19 vaccination card showing their booster dose information through UNC’s Secure Student Portal. Sign in using your UNC student credentials (Bearmail username without @bears.unco.edu and Ursa password). Students who previously submitted an exemption to the policy are not required to resubmit their exemption forms.
  • Employees must complete a new affidavit form, even if they previously submitted an exemption, by clicking here.

Coloradans who are fully vaccinated and receive the booster are 47.5 times less likely to be hospitalized than someone who is unvaccinated. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and receive the booster are nearly 10 times less likely to get COVID-19 than someone who is unvaccinated and 3.3 times less likely than someone who is vaccinated but hasn’t received the booster (according to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment).

Updated Mask Policy
UNC will continue to require masks covering the nose and mouth to be worn indoors in public spaceson campus. As an additional precaution, masks will be required in all shared spaces in the residence halls, effective immediately.

Updated Quarantine Isolation/Policy
Following recent guidance from the CDC, the university has adjusted its isolation and quarantine periods for individuals who are exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or who test positive themselves.

On-Campus Vaccination Clinics
Thanks to our partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado’s COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic will operate on campus (south of Campus Commons) Friday, January 7 through Monday, January 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. First, second, and booster doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are available. No appointment is needed. Additional information regarding future on-campus clinics and vaccine availability through other providers is on UNC's vaccination webpage. CDPHE also maintains a current list of vaccine providers across the state.

COVID Testing
UNC strongly urges any member of our community who is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 to get tested as soon as possible. We also encourage students, faculty, and staff to test as you prepare to return to campus. UNC’s drive-thru COVID testing site on campus remains open – the site is located on the east side of Bishop-Lehr and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The test provided at the site comprises of a lower nasal-swab test that is free, painless, and quick. CDPHE also maintains information about testing locations across the State of Colorado. Vaccinated individuals who are exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested five days after the exposure.