Colorado College Cutler Hall


As we reported on Sept. 1 (see original post, below), a UCCS instructor allowed students in an off-campus class to remove their masks, leading to 14 students being placed in quarantine for the COVID-19 virus.

Clearly, removing masks violated UCCS' policies surrounding a safe learning environment during the pandemic, so we asked what, if any, discipline was imposed.

Chris Valentine, UCCS assistant vice chancellor of marketing and communications, declined to name the instructor, citing personnel rules. But he said via email that the situation did lead to some action against the instructor, though he didn't say what. His statement:

"The situation you are asking about was reviewed and it was determined that the faculty member did not appropriately apply the current procedures for face coverings and social distancing during this class meeting. Disciplinary action has been taken and all involved have been educated on the current UCCS policies and procedures. We were able to use this unfortunate situation as a learning opportunity for the entire campus. As of today, more than a week after the potential exposure, none of the 14 people in quarantine have reported any new COVID related symptoms."


-- ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 1, 2:52 p.m. --

Following positive tests for COVID-19 among students and a quarantine of students in three residence halls, Colorado College said Sept. 1 that all classes will convert to remote learning for the first three-and-a-half-week block and for most students during the remainder of the fall semester.

CC spokesperson Leslie Wedell says via email:

"All classes are moving to remote delivery for the remainder of Block 1 and most classes will be in remote delivery for the remainder of the Fall Semester. We hope to provide in-person or hybrid fall classes for a limited number of students to take for their degree progression.

"Faculty have been incredibly creative about adapting their classes to an online format."

The first positive test involved a student at Loomis dormitory, which was placed under quarantine last month.

The CC Covid-19 Reporting Project, a student-driven project, reported Aug. 31:

"By Thursday [Aug. 27], the college had announced four new positive cases: three in South [residence hall], and one in Mathias [residence hall]. Early Saturday afternoon, they reported an additional six cases among the two dorms and began the quarantine. The 10 new positive results this week are in related cases, according to the college’s website."

Meanwhile at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, campus learning and activities remained in "level 3," which spokesperson Jared Verner explained like this:

"Open campus with public health guidelines in place; students can come to campus for services and in-person classes; and Family Development Center and retail dining operations open. It’s considered our standard operating condition for the fall semester."

But later on Sept. 1, UCCS issued a release saying three students who live off campus tested positive and had potentially exposed 14 others. As a result, a class was moved to remote learning for two weeks, UCCS said.

 Moreover, UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy issued a statement, saying he was “confident” those cases didn’t result in a campus-wide spread.

"We are glad that all three students are only experiencing mild symptoms and are self-isolating,” he wrote. "We have conducted contact tracing and have notified 14 individuals who may have been exposed. If you are not one of them, please feel comfortable that you were not exposed.

He went on to reveal that one of the students who tested positive was in a “small group” in an off-campus class where the instructor allowed students to remove their masks while they were in close proximity.

"We are investigating these circumstances,” he said, "but know that all the people in this small group have been quarantined and the entire class has moved to remote learning for the next two weeks as a precaution. This demonstrates the critical importance of every member of the UCCS community continuing to wear a face covering and watching their distance.”

The other two students, he said, attended classes late last week on campus, but wore their face coverings and maintained social distancing. Likewise, the class followed social distancing, limited interactions and face coverings, and did not have any additional quarantines. 

"Purely as a precaution, the class has been moved to remote status for the next two weeks and deep cleaning of the impacted classrooms and common spaces have been completed,” he said.

The Air Force Academy says it continues to randomly select and test approximately 750 cadets, faculty and staff for COVID-19 per week, which has proven vital in helping keep positive cases well below 1 percent of cadets. The testing program has just passed 3,500 tests, and began in early summer, as Academy leadership looked to bring back cadets in phases in the most safe and healthy manner in alignment with county, state and national medical guidance. Random testing, along with masks, social distancing, 50 percent online and 50 percent in-person classes, and classroom Plexiglass were part of the Academy’s detailed planning to resume classes Aug. 12.