Mines COVID-19 Dashboard update—The Mines COVID-19 dashboard was updated today, revealing 123 active cases on campus. This week, the sixth two-week snapshot (Oct. 26-Nov. 6) was also added to the dashboard, with both the number of positive tests and positivity rate trending upward since the fifth snapshot (Oct. 12-23). Additional details are available here.

Free COVID-19 testing now available for whole Mines community, including family members—Mines and COVIDCheck Colorado (CCC) are now offering COVID-19 testing for all Mines students, faculty and staff.  We’re also excited to announce that family and household members (spouses, children, significant others, roommates, etc.) are also now able to get tested through the end of 2020 at CCC sites outside the Mines campus.  Please follow these instructions:

Only Mines students, faculty and staff who are part of the campus surveillance testing program should sign up for appointments at the Mines testing site. This will help ensure the Mines testing site continues to have the capacity to test members of the priority surveillance groups. The priority groups are: 1) students living in Mines housing, 2) NCAA athletes, 3) fraternity and sorority members, 4) faculty and teaching assistants teaching in person, 5) staff working on campus and 6) anyone referred to testing by the Student Health Center or by the Mines COVID-19 Response Initiator Team (CRIT). All other Mines community members in need of a COVID-19 test should sign up for an appointment at any of CCC’s other testing sites throughout the Denver area.

All testing is free—including for family or household members—thanks to the support of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). All CCC test sites use the same testing method and laboratories as used on the Mines testing site.

After turkey, testing for those living on campus—After the Thanksgiving holiday, students living on campus are being asked to test immediately upon their return to Mines—and twice per week until they depart for Winter Break. Those students returning to Mines residence halls (including 1750 Jackson) and all campus fraternity and sorority houses will be required to:

  1. Get tested as soon as possible upon their return from Thanksgiving Break. Students may move back into their rooms prior to testing but should schedule their test for either Monday, Nov. 30 or Tuesday, Dec. 1.
  2. Self-quarantine until they receive a negative COVID-19 result. Most results are returned within 24-36 hours. During self-quarantine, students should only interact with their own roommates and get take-out meals.
  3. Test twice weekly until winter break. All students living on campus after Thanksgiving will be tested twice per week until they head home for Winter Break.

Post-Thanksgiving, Spring 2021 plans remain intact—As was announced last month, Mines will remain open but deliver all classes and exams remotely after the Thanksgiving holiday, although with some added testing options and requirements (see above). Priority registration for Spring 2021 begins Monday, Nov. 16 and runs through Friday, Nov. 20. As the schedule suggests, Mines will begin the spring semester on Jan. 12, with an anticipated increase in the percentage of in-person classes offered.

Don’t live together? For the rest of the month, don’t hang out in-person—That’s the message from state leaders and public health officials this week as COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalization numbers continue to soar throughout Colorado, including the Denver metro area. On Thursday, Colorado reported 4,591 new COVID-19 cases, with a seven-day test positivity rate approaching 12 percent and 1,183 people hospitalized. (By comparison, Colorado reported just over 4,000 cases for an entire week in July.)

Here in Golden and Jefferson County, there have been more than 4,218 new cases of the virus reported over the last two weeks and staffed ICU beds within the county are at 92 percent capacity. These trends in the Denver area have led to a new curfew within the City and County of Denver, prompted several school districts—including middle and high schools in Jefferson County—to revert to remote instruction and more.

In response to these increases, the State of Colorado earlier this week extended its state-wide mask mandate for another 30 days and is asking all state residents to:

  • Continue to wear masks.
  • Maintain a strict social distance of 6 feet or more whenever they leave their homes.
  • Restrict all social interactions outside of our immediate households.

What we’ve learned at Mines: Transmission often occurs in small social settings—On the Mines campus, the COVID-19 Response Initiator Team (CRIT) has spoken with nearly every one of the 258 Orediggers who have contracted the virus since August. The result? CRIT learned that the safety protocols in place in our classrooms and other campus buildings appear to be working and that Orediggers have been doing a great job of staying safe and adhering to the Oredigger Promise. However, spread still happens when we let our guard down—even briefly. Most transmission at Mines appears to occur in social settings where mask wearing, physical distancing and other protocols are relaxed. It’s not big parties so much as impromptu indoor get-togethers, dinner parties and other small, informal gatherings (including study groups).

For that reason, Mines is repeating the Governor’s request that all Coloradoans—and Orediggers—take this extraordinary step and do your best to avoid any social interactions with anyone you don’t live with throughout the month of November. We know it stinks, but we all need to do our part if we’re going to finish the semester together.

Move to Level Orange on state COVID-19 dial doesn’t impact Mines classroom occupancy—As an essential business, Mines’ core educational mission and classroom occupancy limits will not be impacted by Jefferson County’s switch to the state’s stricter Level Orange restrictions earlier this week. That said, Mines has taken some steps to further tamp down on the spread on campus and help assure we can finish out the semester as planned.

  • Mines Athletics will end formal workouts and practices for all fall and spring sports today. Only winter sports will be active for the rest of the semester.
  • Campus events are currently restricted to 25 people indoors and 75 people outdoors, in line with the state’s Level Orange capacity limits.
  • Vice presidents and supervisors are scaling back on-campus employee headcount where appropriate beginning this week.
  • As of Monday, the Student Recreation Center is requiring reservations to use the fitness equipment in the Fit Lab and Isaacs Room.