University of Colorado officials announced Wednesday that in-person classes will resume on the Boulder campus on Oct. 14 following three weeks of online-only instruction to combat the spread of COVID-19 among the student population.
That news followed the approval by the Boulder County Board of Health of two new public health orders allowing for a gradual relaxation of the rigid restrictions placed on 18-to-22-year-olds living in Boulder once the age group meets specific COVID-19 metrics.
“We are so pleased that the number of new COVID-19 cases in this age group has dropped significantly,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director in a news release. “Thank you to every single young adult in our community who has been following this order, on top of all of the other behavior changes we’ve asked of you. Your actions have made a difference!”
The first public health order determines how many 18-to-22-year-olds are allowed to gather at a time and what kinds of gatherings are allowed.
Currently, only two 18-to-22-year-olds are allowed to gather in Boulder, but if students were to hit specific COVID-19 metrics, that number could increase to four people, six people and then reach the same guidelines the rest of the state faces under the new order.
The metrics are based on testing goals, cases per 100,000 among 18-to-22 year-olds in Boulder County, the positivity rate among that age group, the number of University of Colorado Boulder students tested and cooperation with contact tracing.
Officials will look at 14-day positivity rates and 14-day cases per 100,000 residents to ease restrictions and look at those same metrics’ five-day rates to make them more restrictive.
Any movement between levels will be decided and announced by Boulder County Public Health.
Zayach said any gathering limits would not apply to CU Boulder classrooms, where there has not been evidence of COVID-19 transmission.
The second public health order focuses on group collegiate housing, meaning any off-campus housing managed by a third-arty where five or more college students live.
The orders requires anyone living in collegiate group homes on the list of more than 35 properties previously singled out by the county to continue under stay-at-home orders until Monday — or until they complete and Boulder County Public Health approves an isolation, quarantine and testing plan.
The stay-at-home order for the six properties identified by the county that are not collegiate group homes will expire Thursday as long as there have been no violations at the property in the past two weeks. To date, none of the properties have had additional violations, the county said.
This is a developing story that will be updated.