COVID-19 Dashboard Update – The Mines COVID-19 dashboard was updated today, revealing 29 active cases on campus. A total of 2,452 tests were completed last week, with a positivity rate of 0.98 percent. Additional case details are available here.
There are currently four active outbreaks on campus, in Bradford Hall, Spruce Hall, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon. CDPHE defines outbreaks as two or more individuals within a cohort (facility, business, non-household group) who have tested positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period. The state’s outbreak report is updated each Wednesday at covid19.colorado.gov/covid19-outbreak-data.
Tales from the Testing Line: Getting tested is a sneeze – Brain-tickling swabs, long lines and even longer waits for the results of your COVID-19 test are a thing of the past. But you don’t have to take our word for it.
“I took the COVID test on campus as a precaution because I have in-person classes and I work on campus. It didn’t hurt, but it made me want to sneeze. The process was fast and easy.”
– Aiman Hakim, Senior in Petroleum Engineering
Share your own Tales from the Testing Line by replying to this email or dropping a note to email@example.com. And don’t forget: Whatever your reason, all Mines students, faculty and staff can get tested for FREE on campus through COVIDCheck Colorado all semester long. Not part of a regular surveillance testing group? If you’re taking on-campus classes and symptom free, we recommend testing every other week. Feeling sick? Get tested ASAP.
Science says: Masks work – Earlier this week, one of our students shared a piece of advice. “Since Mines is a school of scientists and engineers, the message about masks…will be more effective if you include links to studies that prove the effectiveness of masks. It is important to understand WHY we have to wear a mask.”
Solid point! Here goes: As you may have heard, earlier this week the CDC released new research that supports wearing tight-fitting surgical masks or a cloth-and-surgical mask combo. As The New York Times reported, such a combination has been shown to reduce viral transmission by as much as 96.5 percent. Last year the Times also collected the latest research to produce an interesting explainer on how masks work (have a look).
Not keen on double masking? Want to learn a bit more about mask wearing? Our friends up in Boulder published a quick and interesting interview this week you should check out.
Happy President’s Day Break! Relax and recharge the COVID-19 safe way– No matter where your plans take you this weekend, the smart move is to keep COVID-19 safety in mind. And we all know Orediggers are a brainy brunch. Sticking around Golden? SAIL has a ton of fun activities planned as part of Oredigger Love Weekend – like Black to the Future Trivia, tie-dye, “Zoomba” and make-your-own flower bouquets. Oh, and did we mention free burritos?
Got plans to travel or get together with friends? Keep these six tips in mind:
- Maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from anyone who isn’t a member of your immediate household.
- Always wear a face mask when in public or around people you don’t live with.
- Avoid in-person gatherings with people you don’t live with. “People you live with” means roommates and housemates here, not residence hall floormates. If you are going to gather, outdoors is best, and the fewer people the better.
- Think twice about ridesharing. Don’t live together? Consider driving in separate vehicles. If you do choose to share a ride, wear a face mask the whole time, open the car windows, keep the middle seat open and wash/sanitize your hands before and after.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Get tested. If you have travel plans, get tested for FREE at COVIDCheck Colorado on campus when you get back to Golden. Make your appointment now at primarybio.com/a/mines.
Dean of Students: “Take a break—but not from everything.” – In a message to all students earlier this week, Dean of Students Derek Morgan encouraged students to stick around Golden for the upcoming President’s Day Break – and to stick to following COVID-19 safety protocols. “We’re not asking you skip your trip home to visit family and friends – although SAIL and Campus Rec have a ton of fun activities planned on campus all weekend. Rather, we just ask you to be mindful of your actions, activities and interactions, because the decisions we each make over the coming days will impact all of us, our friends and our campus community,” he wrote. Read the full message on the Mines Climbs Together website.
COVID-19 vaccine update: Mines encourages eligible Orediggers to get vaccinated – The state of Colorado is currently vaccinating eligible Coloradans in Phases 1A, 1B.1 and 1B.2. For descriptions of each phase, please see the state’s vaccine distribution chart. If you are part of an eligible group in one of these phases, we encourage you to seek appointments where possible. Several health systems and pharmacies have online registration systems. Visit CDPHE’s website for a complete listing and sign-up links.
Mines and other institutions continue to advocate for higher education to be prioritized in some manner, but currently, educators and staff at colleges and universities are not identified in either Phase 1 or 2 of the state’s distribution plan. In the distribution phase FAQ, the state addresses their decision:
Q: Why aren’t higher education teachers and staff prioritized?
A: At this time, it is critical that we focus on making in-person learning for children as safe as possible. Remote learning in pre-K-12 settings has the potential to hurt the participation of women in the workplace, and can also have negative effects on the mental and physical health of children. Because these risks are not as prominent for students in higher education, we have made pre-K-12 education a priority.
Mines employees: You can still get FREE face masks through the COVID-19 Safety Supply Store – Your face mask collection starting to look a little ragged? All Mines employees can get up to two cloth masks for free, courtesy of Mines COVID-19 Safety Supply Store. Both cloth masks (vetted and approved by EHS) and disposable face masks are available for order. Speak with your department’s program administrator or area lab coordinator to obtain supplies. So, what’s your excuse for not masking up?
Reminder: It’s just as important that employees wear masks as students while on campus. Employees should wear a face mask whenever they are in a room/indoor workspace with other people – including office layouts with cubicles – and outdoors when walking on campus sidewalks and other busy areas where social distancing cannot be easily maintained. For more details on appropriate mask materials and care, dive into the Mines Mask Policy.
Jefferson County moves down to Level Yellow. What it means for Mines – Over the weekend, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment debuted its COVID-19 Dial 2.0 and moved multiple counties down to Level Yellow restrictions – including Jefferson County. Over the last seven days (Feb. 4-10), Jefferson County had 707 cases of COVID-19, or 121.3 cases per 100,000 residents, with a test positivity rate of 3.6 percent. For the latest info on the state’s dial, check out the CDPHE website.
So, what does the change mean for Mines?
- Mines Dining: Mines Market and the Periodic Table resumed limited dine-in service on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The maximum seating capacity has not changed in either facility.
- Student Recreation Center: Additional reservation slots are available in various areas of the Rec Center.
- Campus Events: With the move to Level Yellow, event capacity has bumped up to a maximum of 100 people (with 6-foot social distancing) for outdoor events. Indoor events can have up to 50 people as long as the space is approved with social distancing restrictions in place.