Dear CSU Community,
Beginning Thursday, March 3, and consistent with President McConnell’s message of Feb. 10, Colorado State University will no longer require masks to be worn in indoor areas on our Larimer County campuses.
As President McConnell affirmed, CSU has been following National Centers for Disease Control guidelines for high-transmission areas for all our campuses in Larimer County with the intention—approved by the Chancellor—of lifting the mask mandate when local transmission rates fall into the moderate range.
The CSU Pandemic Preparedness Team has been monitoring transmission rates and continuing to consult with both local and national public health officials. This week, the CDC made adjustments to their metrics for classifying COVID transmission within communities. Per these adjustments, Larimer County now has low risk of community transmission.
Therefore, wearing masks will now become a personal choice rather than a university requirement, with a few exceptions. Our health centers, including the CSU Health Network, the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and the Around the Horn Shuttle, will continue with a mask protocol.
No CSU division, department, office, laboratory, class, supervisor, or instructor may institute a mask protocol without first consulting with the Pandemic Preparedness Team. More information about how to request a specific individual mask protocol will be forthcoming; these requests will be considered by the Pandemic Preparedness Team on a case-by-case basis. Questions can be sent to pandemic_preparedness_team@Mail.colostate.edu.
The new CDC guidelines shift from considering individual COVID-19 case counts to a more holistic view of risk from the coronavirus to a community, including caseloads, hospitalizations, and local hospital capacity. Larimer County continues to report declines in major COVID indexes, including the seven-day case rate per 100,000 residents; seven-day positive tests percentages; the number of patients in Larimer County hospitals who have tested positive for COVID; and the percentage of intensive care unit utilization at usual care levels. These declines came despite local public schools lifting mask protocols.
This shift to masking by choice reflects higher levels of community immunity earned through vaccinations and infections and an understanding that the COVID virus is transitioning from pandemic to become endemic. We also understand that opinions on mask protocols reflect individual concerns. We recognize that many in our community will continue to wear masks for many reasons, including being the parents of small children, sharing a household with someone immunocompromised, or being immunocompromised themselves. We continue to recommend N95, KN95 and KF94 masks as the best choice for protection from transmission. N95 masks are available at no cost from the CSU Bookstore to any CSU student or employee with their CSU ID card.
CSU is proudly and traditionally a residential university, and most of our courses this spring (as they were in the fall) are designated as in-person learning and should be conducted as such, as much as possible, moving forward given the current public health environment. The Teaching Continuity and Recovery Team also will be providing further guidance for department leadership on teaching and learning under the optional mask protocol in classrooms, labs, and studios.
Employees who wish to adjust their work arrangement will need to engage their supervisors as delineated by CSU Human Resource’s Work Arrangement Guidance. Instructors interested in changing modality of their courses will need to follow protocol established the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great disruption in many aspects or our lives, and we recognize this disruption did not fall equally on members of our CSU community. We remain incredibly grateful and appreciative of the efforts made by each student and employee to steward our institution through the many difficult months.
The Pandemic Preparedness Team