The following message was sent to all Mines students on 8/6/20:

Dear Mines students,

Over the last few weeks, we’ve hosted three virtual town halls where we updated you on our fall preparations, answered your questions and enjoyed your company. It was wonderful seeing so many of your names on the attendee rolls and in the Q&A. It made us all the more excited to begin the fall semester.

And begin we will. While the COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges, given the multi-mode course delivery options we can offer, the careful planning and preparations of our nine pandemic recovery teams, and our community’s strong commitment to do what is needed, we will begin the fall semester as planned on Monday, August 24.

Whether you’re packing your bags for the trip back to Golden, or preparing to join us remotely, we want to share the latest guidance, repeat some of what’s been said elsewhere, and signal our excitement for the climb ahead.

Testing and Travel Guidance

  • Mines is asking all students to complete a COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus. While not required, we hope students, particularly those from outside Colorado, will take this extra precaution. A positive result would alert an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic student to an infection and allow them to recover before traveling and possibly infecting others en route or in Golden. Students receiving a positive result must remain home until no longer infectious. According to the CDC’s latest guidance on discontinuing home isolation, individuals receiving a positive test result should remain in isolation until at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and at least 24 hours after resolution of fever without fever-reducing medication. A follow-up test, which is no longer recommended by the CDC, will not be required of returning students, faculty or staff, provided the conditions above are met.
  • In consideration of classmates, professors and staff, we’re also asking all new and returning students to self-isolate as much as possible and avoid high risk activities – such as large gatherings – in the time remaining before you travel to Golden.
  • We are finalizing an agreement to test all students living in residence halls and campus fraternity and sorority houses on the day of their move-in during the week of August 16-20. This is required for all those living on campus and applies to students moving into Morgan, Thomas, Bradford, Randall, Elm, Maple, Spruce and Weaver, as well as FIJI, Sigma Kappa, Pi Beta Phi, Alpha Phi and the other fraternity houses. Testing will also be available on those dates for students who have already moved into 1750 Jackson and Mines Park. A testing site will be available on campus and more information will follow regarding procedures. There is no charge to students for these tests.
  • We also plan to test each residence hall student at regular intervals throughout the semester. This, along with implementing a cohort scheduling model and setting aside space for sick or symptomatic students to self-isolate, and for those who are determined to have had close contact with infected individuals, will help limit exposure and spread within the residence halls, 1750 Jackson and the fraternity and sorority houses.
  • In addition to these measures, we expect to test groups of students throughout the semester to monitor prevalence of the virus on our campus, while also offering testing to asymptomatic and symptomatic students as needed through our campus test site partner and the Student Health Center.

Health and Safety

  • As outlined in the Oredigger Promise, masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn at all times when inside buildings and when outside where maintaining social distances of at least six feet is not possible (e.g., on campus sidewalks). This is in keeping with updated requirements issued by the State of Colorado, City of Golden and Jefferson County. Mines has a mask policy with accompanying FAQ that is available here.
  • Many of our Mines community members have been busy sewing cloth masks for you. We have also received generous donations to be able to provide a bottle of hand sanitizer to each of you. These bottles are refillable and refill stations will be set up on campus. Both masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to you as you arrive on campus.
  • A contact tracing team has been established and will notify classmates and housing unit neighbors, as well as others, to make them aware that someone in their classroom or housing unit is ill.
  • Among the Oredigger Promise requirements is a commitment to complete a training module on campus safety guidelines prior to the start of classes. Information on accessing this virtual, on-demand training will be provided in the coming days. Completing this training will be required prior to the start of classes for those studying on campus.
  • Students, as well as faculty and staff, will be required to self-monitor their health and to stay home when sick. We are not planning to perform temperature checks on campus as a part of normal daily operations. We encourage you to bring your own thermometer to monitor your temperature and other symptoms daily.
  • Additional details are available in the Mines Climbs Together site’s FAQ, as well as in the new Returning to Mines resource guide.


  • The majority of Mines classes will be held on campus, either fully in-person or in a hybrid format. As was shared in the provost’s latest update, most of those classes will also be available for remote learning, but not all. Labs will be among those most often delivered only in-person, but some of those will have remote options.
  • Our ability to offer so many courses remotely is a tribute to your professors and the expert staff in the Trefny Center, ITS and other offices. While it looks like there may be a short delay in getting cameras and recording software into all classrooms, that project is largely on track for completion by August 24. This offers those of you who want or need to participate remotely due to illness or self-isolation and quarantine measures to do so. It will also give all of you a valuable learning resource – lecture recordings – to help you review your course material.
  • Students will have until August 31 to declare whether or not they’ll take their classes in-person or remotely. No changes will be permitted after that date. Visit the Registrar’s website for more information.
  • 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 student in need of a socially distanced study spot with a strong Wi-Fi connection. Many are smaller classrooms not being used for in-person courses this semester. A list of those locations will be shared in an upcoming Mines Climbs Together update (distributed every Friday) and posted around campus. Students living on campus are asked to use their room for remote classes to allow other spaces around campus to be used by students who live farther away.
  • Many of you have asked about planned adjustments to our academic calendar. We still are planning to proceed without changes and expect to resume classes after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • See the Mines Climbs Together FAQ page for additional academic updates.

Student Life

  • Career Day will be an entirely virtual event held over three days, September 15-16 and October 14, and will include one-on-one chats and interviews with hundreds of recruiters and companies. Workshops to prepare for the virtual Career Fair will be held the two weeks before the events.
  • Mines is 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 (Zime) will be open in Spruce Hall in September. Students will not be allowed to eat in classrooms.
  • The Student Recreation Center is already open. Masks must be worn at all times, except while 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 distancing.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Center, Intramurals office and other Student Life areas are preparing to offer you the recreational and social opportunities you need. You will receive more details about this programming via the Mines Climbs Together Friday updates and in the first days of the semester.

Welcome Week

  • Residence hall move-in is being spread out over a week. It will begin Sunday, August 16 and continue through Thursday, August 20 with roughly 300 students moving in each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only two family members are permitted to attend move-in and all involved will be required to wear masks as students move into the residence halls.
  • Convocation for our new Orediggers will take place Thursday, August 20 at 4 p.m. Instead of gathering all together in Lockridge Arena, groups of 50–100 students will be distributed across campus in places where we can socially distance and broadcast to—and from (not unlike the New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV). The ceremony will be broadcast on the Mines YouTube channel. This will allow families, who unfortunately are not permitted to attend in-person this year, to take part.
  • As students arrive on campus, you will be asked to check-in for housing and the Registrar’s office (using poster QR codes that will hang in academic and housing buildings). Campus residents will check in twice (once for housing and once for classes) and commuter students, only once.

The Golden Rule and Oredigger Promise

As was shared in our June 22 update, our goals for the fall continue to be the safety of our campus community, as well as your academic progress. If you haven’t seen it, the extraordinary efforts of our nine pandemic response teams have been compiled on the Returning to Mines website. This resource details large and small steps taken to allow us to reconvene—but also, to have the best possible chance of remaining at Mines throughout the semester. It’s worth repeating, however, that the work of those teams pales in importance to the individual actions we all must take—beginning now.

Wearing a mask and physical distancing are essential to limiting the spread of this virus. We owe it to ourselves, our classmates and friends, as well as our faculty and staff, their families and the Golden community, to wear a mask, practice social distancing with all but our roommates, and wash our hands and surfaces often. These are simple actions with profound impact – and also state and local health requirements – so we require your dedication to implementing them.

See you soon — here and online

We are convinced that Orediggers can meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 in ways few other universities can. Whether you’re coming to campus or learning from home this fall, we know all of you will do what’s necessary to keep COVID-19 from spreading. The payoff for this work and common commitment? One another’s good health and safety, progress to graduation, access to Mines resources and the unique components of a Mines education, and strong connections to your friends and workgroups as we progress through this semester.

Stay well – and see you soon, Orediggers!

Dan Fox, Vice President for Student Life
Paul C. Johnson, President and Professor
Richard Holz, Provost and Professor
Kirsten M. Volpi, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Stefanie Tompkins, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer
Rebecca Flintoft, Associate Vice President of Student Life
Derek Morgan, Dean of Students
Colin Terry, Associate Dean of Students