Chancellor Philip DiStefano sent an email to the University of Colorado Boulder community Monday with an “urgent request” to limit the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
DiStefano pleaded with the community to abide by regulations and avoid large gatherings, although stating that as of now, current campus operations will continue with previous precautions that have been in place.
According to the email sent Monday, there have been 308 confirmed positive cases to date. With the number of positive cases more than doubling from week two to three of in-person classes, DiStefano explained that the university is working with partners in the city, county and state to develop new testing strategies.
With the email’s statistics showing that of the positive cases, 71% are off-campus, DiStefano places the concern as largely being off-campus.
“Information from our contact tracing program shows that the most common factors in our positive cases are participation in large gatherings, particularly among a few sororities, fraternities and other multi-student residences on University Hill, along with a failure to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing,” he said.
United Campus Workers Colorado (UCWC) sent a press release in response to DiStefano’s email, with its President Alex Wolf-Root dubbing it “the chancellor’s student blaming email.”
UCWC expressed the need for campus administration to take responsibility for the current surge in positive cases. Despite what it explained as students making “predictably bad decisions,” the union furthered its assertion by explaining that the administration “chose this course of action against reason and at the peril of everyone in the community.”
“We need to stop the spread of COVID immediately,” DiStefano said. “You can help.”
He followed this statement with a number of protocols for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing a face covering, avoiding gatherings with more than ten individuals as well as practicing social distancing and remaining at home when you feel any symptoms. He also warned about the repercussions students will face if they are caught attending or hosting a party, such as a two-week exclusion from campus.
According to UCWC, it is going to make sure that CU Boulder’s administration will be “held accountable for the impact their decisions are having — and will have in the near future — on our community.”
The union is demanding that CU’s administration provide hazard pay for essential workers, make free diagnostic testing available to everyone in the CU community and provide better data on the state of COVID on campus.
Contact CU Independent Senior News Editor Noelle Videon at firstname.lastname@example.org.