With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, President Andy Feinstein sent a message to the University of Northern Colorado campus informing students and staff that Weld County’s Safer at Home Level Two status could change to Level Three.
According to Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment, Safer at Home Level Two statuses are for counties that have a 10% positivity rate or less. This means having 75-175 cases per 100,000 people and no more than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day. Safer at Home Level Three statuses are for counties that have a 15% positivity rate or less with 175-300 cases per 100,000 people and greater than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day.
Colorado’s COVID-19 positivity rate has increased from two percent in August to 6.88%. This rate is five percent higher than the state’s threshold for virus management. The CDPHE has listed a number of guidelines and ways to stop the spread of the virus to help manage the number of cases in the state. Based on this information, Feinstein stated that it is likely Weld County’s restrictions will increase.
“In the past few days, it has become clear that we face an increasing prevalence of COVID-19 cases in our county,” Feinstein wrote in the message. “We must act quickly and decisively to slow the virus’s spread and keep our university community – and our neighbors and friends in Greeley and surrounding areas – as safe as we possibly can. Our actions including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and limiting group events and close contacts remain critical to our community’s well-being.”
If moved to a Level Three status, Weld County will see stricter guidelines and restrictions put in place. A Level Three status encourages remote or hybrid classes and further decreases the number of people gathered in one place in all areas, including schools, restaurants, offices, outdoor events and others.
“As Weld County’s Safer at Home status is downgraded, we should expect changes to our operations,” Feinstein wrote in the message. “While we do not yet know when these changes will take effect, we do know how the change in status and guidelines will restrict our work.”
Changes to UNC’s campus include capping in-person and hybrid classes at 25 people, limiting dining facilities to 50 individuals at one time, reducing office density from 50% to 25%, reducing the number of people per room in the Campus Recreation Center to 25 and limiting other indoor and outdoor activities.
Faculty have prepared for the possibility of capping in-person and hybrid classes and will reach out to students with information and instructions. Faculty who have been teaching in-person classes will be implementing contingency plans for remote instruction.
“I am deeply grateful and so proud of how our community of Bears has risen to the challenge of keeping our campus safe and healthy,” Feinstein wrote in the message. “As we take these significant steps to address the current situation in Weld County and Colorado, I am confident that we will continue to care for each other by following these important health and safety guidelines.”
More information about COVID-19 can be found at unco.edu/coronavirus.