Dear Mines Community,

In 11 days, we will kick off our fall semester. We’ve been hearing from students, faculty, and staff about their excitement to again be in-person and together as a community. We share that excitement and look forward to seeing you and welcoming our new students and employees.

As has happened for more than a century, many Orediggers will begin their 2021-22 academic year by climbing together to the M on Mount Zion on Friday, Aug. 20. This year’s climb will be our largest ever, as both our new students and last year’s entering class will participate. Classes begin on Monday, Aug. 23, with Fall Kickoff events continuing through the following weekend as we host both Friday’s Celebration of Mines and Saturday’s Celebration of Golden.

It will be a busy week, but an exciting one. We’re thrilled to have you back on campus and are looking forward to a return to (almost) normalcy.

Continuing our climb together

As you know, our goal for this academic year is to offer the distinctive, in-person and on-campus experiences that Mines is known for. That means utilizing our classrooms and laboratories at normal capacities, allowing indoor student organizations to meet with food, having fans at our sports events, and offering a full suite of extramural and extracurricular programs.

We are on track to do that, thanks to the commitment of many to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Even so, the Fall 2021 semester won’t initially be a full return to normal. While the Delta variant is present here locally and across the country, it’s important that we all continue to do our part to protect ourselves, our colleagues, friends and neighbors.

Masks required in class and labs

When classes begin on Aug. 23, everyone will be required to wear a face mask while in an indoor class, teaching lab or computer lab – regardless of vaccination status. This is a continuation of the mask policy that was in place during Summer I and II. Faculty will have the option to remove their masks during instruction when 6 feet of physical distance can be maintained.

For all other indoor spaces and non-class uses of classrooms, we will begin the semester mirroring the requirements for our surrounding community: Face masks are strongly encouraged indoors regardless of vaccination status, given the substantial transmission levels in Jefferson County. Masks will not be required outdoors on campus.

We hope to be able to reassess and relax the mask policy as the semester progresses, based on campus vaccination levels, local transmission numbers and public health guidance. Read the full mask policy on the Mines Climbs Together website.

Quarantine and isolation protocols

As we cooperate with Jefferson County Public Health and consider CDC, county and state public health guidance, we are starting the 2021-22 academic year with revised quarantine and isolation protocols in place. Please familiarize yourself with them at

Anyone required to quarantine or isolate will not be permitted to attend in-person classes or in-person campus activities for the duration of their quarantine/isolation period.

With our move back to full in-person learning, there will not be a remote option for in-person classes this year. However, faculty will excuse student absences and will work with students to provide opportunities to make up the missed material, coursework or tests due to quarantine/isolation.

Remember the Oredigger Promise

Please remember that we also all commit to staying home when sick, getting tested for COVID-19 when showing symptoms of the virus, following campus and local public health directives and more. Please spend some time reading through our updated Oredigger Promise on the Mines Climbs Together website.

One last reminder about the vaccination requirement

Thank you to everyone who has already done what is needed to satisfy Mines’ vaccination requirement for Fall 2021. As a reminder to everyone else, Monday, Aug. 23 is the deadline to fulfill the requirement by either:

  1. Providing proof of vaccination, or
  2. Submitting a vaccine exemption form (medical or non-medical)

Full instructions for submitting your proof of vaccination or exemption form can be found at

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet…

Mines will be hosting two on-campus vaccination clinics the first week of classes for anyone who wants to get their shot. All three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – will be available, including second doses of Pfizer and Moderna. Anyone who completes their vaccination at the free clinics Aug. 23 and Aug. 27 will receive a $25 gift card, courtesy of Jefferson County Public Health.

Here’s to another new beginning—and to being together

We’re thrilled to have you back on campus and to begin our work together once again. There’s so much to look forward to and to celebrate. Let’s get going.

See you soon—and Go Orediggers!

Paul C.  Johnson, President and Professor

Richard C. Holz, Provost and Professor

Kirsten M. Volpi, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Daniel P. Fox, Vice President of Student Life