Protect our campus – by having a relaxing and COVID-19-safe long weekend. Mines will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means it’s almost the first long weekend of spring semester. To decrease the likelihood of a large campus outbreak in the weeks to come – and to help ensure we can remain together on campus throughout the semester – it is vital that all Orediggers be thoughtful of their surroundings and interactions over the next three days.

  • Avoid gathering with anyone you don’t already live with, in any environment, but especially indoors.
  • Avoid ridesharing. That includes carpooling with friends to a shared outdoor destination, such as one of Colorado’s many ski slopes. 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 the ride.
  • If you do travel (or ski) this weekend, plan to get tested on Tuesday or Wednesday. Make your appointment now for early next week at the COVIDCheck Colorado testing site on campus:
  • Wear your mask and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancewhenever you do interact with those outside of your household. That includes your parents, siblings and other family members if you are living away from home this semester, as well as friends at Mines, other Colorado universities and beyond.
  • Do not travel if you are sick. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 – even seemingly mild ones – and/or have recently tested positive should not travel until after they complete their isolation period.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water often.

COVID-19 Dashboard Update – The Mines COVID-19 dashboard was updated today, revealing 46 active cases on campus. A total of 2,748 tests were completed last week. The COVIDCheck Colorado testing site on the Mines campus was closed Wednesday due to high wind warnings. Additional case details are available here.

Mines Community Member COVID Reporting Tool moves to Mines Help Center – The Mines COVID-19 Response Initiator Team and ITS have launched a new interface for Mines community members to self-report when they:

  • Have received a positive COVID-19 test result
  • Have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact is considered living with or having extended face-to-face contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes), irrespective of mask use.
  • Have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results

The tool can now be found in the Mines Help Center/Team Dynamix at The old URL, on the Environmental Health & Safety website, will redirect to the new location.

Message from Mines CRIT: Stay home when sick. Seriously – Even the seemingly mildest of symptoms could be indicative of a COVID-19 infection. That includes sore throat, one of the top symptoms cited by Mines students who tested positive for COVID-19 last semester. Remember, the symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Be COVID-19-smart and stay home if you have ANY of the above symptoms, even if you think you feel well enough to come to campus. Your friends, colleagues, instructors and supervisors will be grateful for the extra caution – especially if it means not having to quarantine for 14 days due to having close contact with you before you realized you had COVID-19.

President Johnson to students: “Best wishes to all of you for a healthy and successful semester” – In a first-day message to students, President Paul C. Johnson reminded all Orediggers of the continued importance of The Oredigger Promise – wearing masks, interacting with others from a safe distance, conducting daily health assessments, following quarantine/isolation protocols and remaining vigilant when outside your immediate household (anyone who isn’t one of your roommates and/or housemates). “Like last semester, our goal is to begin together, remain together and make it safely to the end of the semester,” he wrote. Read the full message on the Mines Climbs Together website.

When will the vaccine be available to Mines faculty? The quick answer: We don’t know yet – Colorado’s mass vaccination effort is currently focused on moderate-risk health care providers, first responders and Coloradans 70 or older. According to the state’s distribution plan, the next group to be vaccinated will be frontline essential workers, but it remains unclear at this time whether faculty at institutions of higher education are included as “educators” as defined in the Phase 1B distribution. Mines is working with Colorado Department of Higher Education to seek clarification and will let the campus community know as soon as we have an update.

As Colorado’s vaccination effort moves forward, select Jefferson County pharmacies will begin vaccinating those 70 or older next week – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s COVID-19 website is the home to the most up-to-date information on providers who are currently offering the vaccine to Coloradans 70 or older. In Jefferson County, select Safeway and King Soopers pharmacies will begin next week vaccinating county residents who are 70 years of age and older, according to Jefferson County Public Health. Due to limited vaccine availability, there may be a two- to six-week wait to get an appointment. Registration links by site are in development – please continue to check for these as they become available. Please do not call individual Safeway or King Soopers stores.

State-mandated COVID-19 leave available if you or a loved one gets sick –  Senate Bill 20-205, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis last year, extending and expanding the sick leave first offered in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In emails on Monday evening, Mines’ Human Resources office explained the details of this act and what they offer to Mines employees (from hourly student workers and graduate students to faculty and staff in temporary, hourly and benefits-eligible roles, among others). Another email to employees on Wednesday misstated certain elements of the benefits available. The HR emails, which originated from Ann Hix, are the definitive source of information. These details are now compiled on the Mines HR website by employee type. Visit for more information.

Reminder: Campus testing program expands to include non-resident students – Mines’ COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program for Spring 2021, in partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, features:

  • Weekly testing of campus residents (Elm, Spruce, Weaver, Maple, Randall, Thomas, Bradford, Morgan, 1750 Jackson and sorority and fraternity houses)
  • Expanded testing of other students taking in-person classes. Off-campus residents who are not already part of another regular testing group will be randomly selected to test each week.
  • Faculty, staff, teaching assistants, research assistants and other student employees working on campus are also encouraged to participate in regular testing.

All Mines students, faculty and staff living locally have access to testing through COVIDCheck Colorado, should they be notified of close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or develop symptoms of COVID-19. Family members and non-Mines housemates can also take advantage of free COVID-19 testing through CCC, thanks to funding from the state of Colorado.