First time seeing this email? Welcome!—Mines Climbs Together is a weekly update the Communications office distributes to the Mines community with details about health and safety updates, new COVID-19 guidance and more. New Mines students were added to the distribution list today—just the latest sign that you’re now part of the Oredigger community. You can expect to see these updates weekly, across the fall semester. All students, faculty and staff will receive event notifications and news via a separate email (called the Daily Blast) which will resume with the start of the fall semester.

Move-in for Mines Park and 1750 Jackson starts Saturday—Upperclass and graduate students will be the first to return to campus, with some arriving as early as this weekend. On Saturday, students will begin moving into Mines Park and 1750 Jackson, which will be Mines’ newest residence hall until Spruce Hall opens later in the month. Both will have new safety guidelines in place. These include mask-wearing requirements when outside of personal rooms or residences (suite or apartment), capacity limits on common spaces and a moratorium on outside visitors.

Move-in for the fraternity and sorority houses begins August 15, and all other students will move into Spruce Hall and the remaining residence halls over five days later in the month (August 16-20).

It’s a new, but not entirely novel, move in.—While the Residence Life team has been busy spreading the word about new safety guidelines and pinning up posters to remind residents of their Oredigger Promise responsibilities, this isn’t an entirely novel start of the year. The students they’re speaking with are excited to move in, meet (or reconnect with) classmates and stretch their legs on Mines’ 373-acre campus. That’s an echo of years past, and a welcome sign, said Mary Elliott, director of residence life. The team is taking some extraordinary steps this fall to connect residents in a world where masks and social distancing will be required. The residence life coordinators shared that they are setting up Canvas pages for each hall, still planning regular check-ins with their residents and developing programming to connect students with one another and campus resources.

The list of Fall 2020 in-person courses that cannot be taken remotely is now available on Registrar’s website—Earlier this week, the Registrar’s Office published the list of all Fall 2020 courses that require in-person participation and cannot be completed remotely. If you plan to be fully remote in the fall, check to see if any of the classes you are registered for are listed here. After consulting the list, students should speak with their advisors to discuss their options and find alternative classes, if necessary. Remember: Students are asked to fill out this survey by Aug. 31 to indicate whether they will be taking in-person courses on campus or remotely. And while the deadline says “August 31”, please provide your thoughts ASAP to assist faculty with planning.

Missed the student town halls this week? Check them out now for the latest updates.

Your questions about study spaces on campus, class expectations and more—answered

Student (and parent) questions were sent our way this week via our Mines Climbs Together web form and at the student town halls. We’ve answered the questions below and will update the online FAQ as additional answers are received.

Q: Is there a plan in place for when professors get sick?

A: Yes. Mines faculty members are being asked to prepare for this possibility by preparing materials in advance and working with colleagues to assist in the event of an absence.

Q: Will there be spaces available for me on campus where I can complete remote courses? 
A: The Return to Mines Task Force is  putting the final touches on  a list of designated locations around campus that will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for any  Mines  student  in need of a  socially distanced study spot  with a  strong  Wi-Fi  connection. Many of these spaces will be classrooms that are not being used this  coming  semester due to their smaller size and limited capacity under  the  COVID-19  distancing requirements.  A list of locations will be shared in an upcoming Mines Climbs Together update (distributed every Friday) and posted around campus to help you find the nearest  open study space.  Students living on campus will be asked to utilize their housing space for remote classes and inclement weather shelter to allow other spaces around campus to be used by commuter students.

Spaces will also be available for individual or small group studying during evenings and weekends, including for residential students. Social distancing and mask requirements will apply in all cases.

Q: I’m worried about getting to class on time. Will professors be lenient? 
A: All faculty, staff and students are being encouraged to be flexible and understanding, especially in the first days of the semester as we get oriented to new traffic patterns and schedules.

Q: I would like to take as many in-person classes as possible. How do I go about changing my schedule?
A: Continuing students can search for courses they are interested in and look at the modality to see if it matches their preference. Instructions to do this are provided here. You can register for these classes like you would during regular registration time. We do recommend speaking with your advisors before making changes to your schedule.

Q: Will Mines host classes after Thanksgiving? Can I choose not to return to campus after the holiday? 
A: Mines has not adjusted its academic calendar and intends to resume classes after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Q: What will classroom spaces look like this fall? 
A: Classrooms will be at a reduced capacity this fall to accommodate social distancing. Some non-traditional spaces will be used for in-person classes, such as the Student Center ballrooms and the Green Center.

Q: What support services will be available for students?
A: Mines will continue to provide access to the many support services on campus, including advising, tutoring, mental health counseling, career services and more. Because of capacity restrictions, many walk-in services will likely move to appointment only or may be offered in a virtual format.

Q: Will lab spaces be prioritized for undergraduate use with graduate work limited to nights and weekends? 
A: Laboratory use will be determined by departments. Many of the labs that are also used for undergraduate classroom laboratory instruction will be occupied during teaching periods. In the spaces where the instructional labs are separate from research labs, any access restrictions will be determined by individual departments to determine an appropriate balance.

Q: If a student selects a remote or online study option, will it affect their teaching assistantship? 
A: No—how you take your courses will not impact your appointment at all.

Q: Will graduate students be required to teach in-person classes? 
A: No—department leadership and faculty instructors will make sure everyone feels comfortable in the classroom.

Q: Can graduate students opt into remote learning? 
A: Yes—graduate students should work individually with faculty to accommodate remote learning, and larger classes will have remote access or be recorded.

Q: If I don’t live on campus in the fall, can I still move into campus housing in the spring? 
A: Students may apply for spring housing, if there are spaces available. Residence Life will open the housing application in November and notify students/families of any availability.

Q: Are guests allowed in the residence halls? 
A: No. To protect students and the Mines community, only residents will be allowed in their assigned residence hall. Other students living on campus will not be permitted to enter other residence halls.

Q: Will Celebration of Mines still be held at the beginning of the semester? 

A: Yes, but the event will be hosted virtually. More information about how to access the event and other details will be shared next week.

Q: Will there still be a Family and Friends Weekend this fall? 
A: Mines will not be hosting an in-person Family and Friends Weekend, but we will offer some alternatives for families to engage with their students. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Q: Is Homecoming canceled this year? 
A: While alumni will not be returning to campus for Homecoming events this fall, the Mines Activities Council is still planning events for Homecoming weekend on October 8-10, though there will likely be more virtual events than in-person activities this year.

Q: Will the Student Recreation Center be open? 
A: Yes—with some restrictions in place. Masks must be worn at all times, except for in the swimming pool. Exercise equipment has been moved to accommodate social distancing. And the pool is available by appointment only in one-hour blocks. The Rec Center is still offering Zoom classes and outdoor group activities during the day to exercise with others while at a safe social distance.

Q: Where can students eat on campus outside of the dining halls?
A: The Return to Mines Task Force has been inventorying all the spaces on campus and identifying a process in which students could request a time to occupy those spaces, but, weather permitting, students are encouraged to occupy outdoor spaces. Mines is also expanding our dining options to reduce density in all dining locations and maintain social distancing. We are partnering with GrubHub to offer mobile ordering, delivery and pickup options, and a new café will be open in Spruce Hall in September. Students will not be allowed to have food in classrooms.

Q: I need a laptop. Can Mines help me get what I need to complete my courses?  

A: Mines has several ways of supporting students who are in need of assistance. A good place to start is the Dean of Students’ Raise Your Hand form.

Q: Will international students be required to quarantine when arriving in the United States? 

A: Yes—in keeping with CDC guidelines, international students will be required to self-quarantine off campus for 14 days after arrival in the United States. After that 14-day period, they may return to campus and classes.

Q: Will masks be required at all times? 
A: Masks will be required at all times indoors, including classrooms, academic buildings, lab spaces, etc. Students will be required to wear masks in the common spaces within each residence hall but do not have to wear a mask when in their individual rooms.

Masks must also be worn while exercising in the Student Recreation Center, except for when you’re in the swimming pool. The pool can be used by appointment only.

Masks are required outdoors when a distance of six (6) feet from individuals cannot consistently be maintained. Under normal conditions, use of campus sidewalks will require a mask.

Q: What resources will be available for graduate teaching assistants to help them stay safe and help enforce masks and social distancing requirements in the classroom? 
A: TAs will have the same resources as faculty—all TAs will get masks, and for those who are teaching labs, face shields will be available. Similar to faculty, TAs may ask any student to leave the classroom if they refuse to wear a mask or they can cancel class.

Q: Will the Student Health Center be able to administer a COVID-19 test or free seasonal flu vaccines to students? 
A: Mines will continue to run our flu vaccine clinics that we have on campus every year and flu shots will be paid for by Mines’ student health insurance. For those without the student health insurance, most health insurance programs reimburse the full cost of flu vaccines.

For students who have COVID-19 symptoms, Mines will offer testing in the Student Health Center.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing (ie., for those who do not have symptoms) is not offered on campus at this time, but there are free testing sites in the community that students can access.

Q: Will there be a fall sports season at Mines? 

A: The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference delayed the start of fall sports practices to August 24, 2020. The first date of competition will be September 18, 2020. Football, soccer and volleyball will be conference-only competition. A decision about club sports has not been determined yet.