Fall 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

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UNIVERSITY-WIDE PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE

Please see Fall 2021 Activities for public health guidance including mask, vaccine and screening mandates. These FAQs will be frequently updated to provide answers to questions for students, faculty and staff.

Masks

Can I wear my mask on my chin, dangling from an ear, only covering my mouth, only covering my nose, or a mask with a vent or opening in it?
Masks must be worn over both your nose and mouth. Masks with vents or holes are not permitted.

Are masks required in crowded outdoor spaces?
Masks are required indoors. At this time, there are no requirements to wear a mask outdoors. Anyone may choose to wear a mask for their own comfort outdoors, but they are not required.

Is CSU requiring visitors (attending events, visiting students in residence halls, partners attending meetings, etc.) to wear a mask?
All visitors must wear a mask when inside university buildings.

I have a documented medical condition that prohibits me from wearing a mask. Is there an exemption process?
Students who have a medical reason for an exemption should contact the Student Disability Office. Employees who have a medical reason for an exemption should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team and partners from across the university have created this information and scripts for supervisors and instructors regarding exemptions and compliance.

I share a workspace with someone, but we sit six feet apart. Do we need to wear masks?
Yes, masks are required indoors and should be worn unless you are in a private workspace.

What’s the definition of a private office or work space?
Masks are required indoors, including in work spaces. Masks are not required when you are alone in a private work space. A private office or work space is defined, for the purposes of the Pandemic Preparedness Team’s guidance on mask requirements, is a work space that is not shared and is an office or any space, including a cubicle,  that has three “walls.” This can include cubicle walls that do not reach the ceiling, traditional cubicle dividers or dividers made of furniture such as bookshelves.

In an environment with cubicles or similar arrangements, masks are required when individuals leave their workspace. Anyone who is is walking around an common workspace, such as around an environment with cubicles, is also required to wear a mask.

What are mask requirements in university housing?
You are required to wear a mask unless you are inside your own room.

How do I alert the university to a concern about someone not wearing a mask?
Use the COVID Reporter to share those concerns. There is an option to report a violation, or to report a concern in your academic, work or living space.

Are bandanas, scarves or gaiters a replacement for masks?
Because gaiters conform to a face, they are allowed if there are two layers.

Bandanas and scarves do not fit snugly and are not an allowed substitution for a mask.

Masks with vents are not permitted.

Is plexiglas an acceptable substitution for masks?
Masks are required indoors, even if an individual is behind Plexiglas.

Can face shields be worn instead of masks?
No, masks are required indoors. This includes while running meetings, lecturing, etc. Individuals may choose to wear both a mask and face shield, but cannot wear a face shield only.

How will dining centers and university restaurants enforce mask requirements?
Anyone in a meeting room, classrooms or dining center should wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking. If feasible, it is preferred that additional physical distancing be put in place in smaller rooms while individuals are eating.

Are eating and drinking allowed in areas such as classrooms?
Yes. You may pull your mask down to take a bite or drink, and then immediately place the mask back over your nose and mouth while you chew or swallow.

Physical distancing

What are the requirements for physical distancing on campuses?
There is not currently a set physical distancing requirement for university spaces but the Pandemic Preparedness Team encourages physical distancing when feasible. The university is providing a layered approach to public health recommendations, to include required masks in indoor spaces, mandating vaccinations, requiring routine COVID screening for students, faculty and staff who are not vaccinated, and robust contact tracing conducted by our public health team.

COVID exposures, positive tests, contact tracing

How do I report a possible exposure, symptoms or a positive test?
Please report through the COVID Reporter.

What is the process for addressing concerns about students or employees who refuse to wear masks on campuses?
Please report through the COVID Reporter.

What is the process for notifying a student, faculty or staff member of a saliva screening that indicates that they have COVID-19?  
Any student, faculty or staff member, regardless of vaccine status, may submit saliva for screening. Saliva screening twice a week, or another screening process approved by the Pandemic Preparedness Team, is required of anyone who is not vaccinated.

Any student, faculty or staff members whose saliva screening indicates the presence of COVID-19 will be contacted by the CSU Public Health office for follow up nasal swab testing to confirm the presence of the virus. If the nasal swab test is positive, the individual will receive specific public health guidance from the CSU Public Health office and they will investigate the case through contact tracing. 

What is CSU’s process for investigating positive cases?
CSU public health experts conduct contact tracing and provide guidance and public health orders for isolation or quarantine.

Is CSU reporting the vaccination status of its COVID cases?
Public health response to a positive case does not change based on vaccine status. The Pandemic Preparedness Team does not receive information on the vaccine status of positive cases. This is consistent with Larimer County COVID case reporting. The Pademic Preparedness Team continues to work with Larimer County public health officials regarding vaccination booster best practices.

Vaccines, exemptions and screening

How many students, faculty and staff are vaccinated or have exemptions?
See our vaccine stats.

Where do I provide my vaccine status to the university or declare an exemption?
Visit the vaccine page for links to the student portal, employee portal, and instructions.

What exemptions are allowed for students, faculty, and staff for the COVID vaccine?
Exemptions available to students, faculty and staff are for medical and non-medical reasons, according to the CSU System policy. Non-medical exemptions are for religious and personal reasons.

If I have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine, do I need to screen?
Yes, you are required to screen twice a week until you are fully vaccinated. For more information about screening requirements, screening locations and screening appointments, see the screening page.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean?
Fully vaccinated means that you have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine, or the single dose of a one-dose vaccine AND you are two weeks past the final dose.

Is natural immunity from COVID infection accepted by CSU in lieu of getting the vaccine?
At this time, the university is requiring a vaccine or screening; natural immunity is not accepted as a replacement for a COVID vaccine.

If you are not vaccinated you are required to screen twice a week, even if you have had COVID.

Vaccine info privacy: Who can ask me about my vaccine status? May I ask about others’ vaccine status for the purposes of work or academic participation? Who will know the information I submit to the vaccine portals?
Faculty, staff and students should not ask others (including colleagues, students, visitors) about their vaccine status. Vaccine information is private medical information.

Individuals are not required to provide their vaccine status to supervisors, colleagues or instructors as a condition of participation in work or academic activities.

Individuals who are not vaccinated are allowed to participate in meetings, in-person classroom instruction and other in-person activities if they are screening twice a week. The public health office will track who is compliant with screening and follow up directly with those individuals who are not compliant.

The university is asking students, faculty and staff to either provide documentation of their vaccine status or declare an exemption – this information will be kept private and shared only with very few individuals on only a need-to-know basis, generally only related to contact tracing if there is an exposure, and screening compliance.

Is CSU requiring visitors (guest lecturers, speakers, guests of students, event attendees, vendors, etc.) to be vaccinated or screen?
No. Please remember that students, faculty, and staff cannot ask others, including visitors, about their vaccine status. That is private medical information.

The university is asking students, faculty and staff to either provide documentation of their vaccine status or declare an exemption – this information will be kept private and shared only with very few individuals on only a need-to-know basis, generally only related to contact tracing if there is an exposure, and screening compliance.

Will the university track individuals who are not vaccinated to make sure that they screen twice a week?
Yes, the university will compare information about those who have provided documentation of a vaccine and screening records. Students who remain non-compliant will be held accountable through the Student Code of Conduct, and employees will be held accountable through employee policies and follow up.

Can Housing verify if my roommate has been vaccinated?
University Housing is not granted access to any student’s vaccine status because vaccine status is considered private medical information.

Because this information is private, Housing does not consider vaccine status when making hall and roommate assignments.

Student vaccine status information is collected and confidentially stored by the CSU Health Network, as are all student vaccination records.

If I’m required to or want to screen twice a week, what is the recommended cadence?
Anyone who is required to screen by the university mandate must screen twice a week and are permitted to screen on twice weekly cadence that accommodates their time on campuses and varied schedules. This includes employees and students who spend limited time on campuses each week (such as once a week for a class). The Pandemic Preparedness Team recommends that screening be spaced apart by a day when possible.

Public health compliance

How do I report a concern about someone not following public health requirements?
Please report through the COVID Reporter.

How will CSU ensure people who are not vaccinated are complying with the mandate of twice weekly screening?
The Pandemic Preparedness Team is tracking compliance with the screening mandate. Anyone who is not compliant will be contacted by the Public Health office and, if they remain non-compliant, will face consequences through the Student Code of Conduct or Human Resources processes.

Is the university reviewing student and employee vaccine or exemption information?
Health Network employees review all student vaccine information and exemption submissions to the student portal. Human Resources tracks employee submissions to the employee portal.

Events

Are events allowed on campuses?
Yes, please follow the Fall 2021 activities guidance. The university is complying with Larimer County public health recommendations and, at this time, there are no capacity restrictions for events.

What public health guidance is in place for visitors?
Visitors are required to wear a mask while indoors.

If a visitor is exposed or tests positive, they are required to report through the COVID Reporter.

Visitors are not required to disclose their vaccine status; this is private medical information. Faculty, staff and students should not ask visitors about their vaccine status. Visitors are not required to screen.

Faculty and Staff FAQs: Academic spaces or work spaces and public health

General Fall public health guidance

Where can I find information about the Fall 2021 mask, vaccine and screening mandates?
Please see Fall Public Health Guidance.

Can employees meet over a meal in smaller meeting rooms?
Anyone in a meeting room, classrooms or dining center should wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking. If feasible, it is preferred that additional physical distancing be put in place in smaller rooms while individuals are eating. 

May I set my own rules for food and drink in the classroom?
Yes. Instructors may establish rules for eating or drinking in academic spaces based on the presence of sensitive equipment or materials and the potential for disruption of the classroom environment. Instructors are encouraged to accommodate students who must eat at certain times to manage health issues, such as diabetes.

Please discuss this with your unit chair or department head to ensure you are following departmental and University expectations.

What if I have an employee who reports to me who is not in compliance with CSU’s health protocols?
Please see these FAQs from Human Resources for more information. These scripts for supervisors may also be helpful.

Concerns about public health compliance may also be reported through the COVID Reporter.

What considerations are being given to faculty and staff who have young, unvaccinated children, who care for a vulnerable person, etc.? How are these factors being weighed vs. the need to teach large classes, the need to be in any environment where you might come into contact indoors with large numbers of people? 
Human Resources Reuniting Campus Fall 2021 FAQs provide work arrangement guidance for the fall semester.

What steps are being taken to ensure that we do not disproportionately impact faculty and staff with young children, immuno-compromised family members, or with care-taking roles for elders?
Human Resources Reuniting Campus Fall 2021 FAQs provide work arrangement guidance for the fall semester.

Academics and public health

Will in-person classes and academic experiences remain in-person?
Yes, academic experiences that are currently scheduled as in-person will remain in-person. 

Why are seating charts in classrooms and laboratory settings not required?
Seating charts are highly recommended but not required. They will greatly help, but are not required; public health will contact trace potential exposures through interviews. Because the majority of our community is vaccinated, seating charts are not as necessary as they were last year. Many learning environments are “mobile,” meaning that students and instructors move around through the room.

Last year, the public health office did not identify classroom transmission as a cause of spread among the university community. There were instances were students who were friends and socialized outside of class created small groups of exposure outside of classroom settings.

Larimer County is not requiring seating for K-12. If there is an exposure, public health does not anticipate that a full classroom will be required to quarantine.

Where can I locate the seating chart template for my class?
Faculty can access electronic seating chart templates for sections held in University general classrooms by going to ARIESweb and the “Instructor Tools” heading:

  • Under “Instructor Tools,” click on the link for “Class Lists.”
  • Once you go to “Class Lists,” you will see a blue box in the upper-right hand corner labeled “Open/Hide Seating Chart Information,” click the box to expand it and view instructions for the page.

For college-level or department-managed classrooms, you can create your own charts showing each student’s name, assigned seats for each student using rows with seat numbers (e.g., Row A-Z, Seat 1-30), or a diagram based on the seating layout of the room.

What if I teach a large course section with 50 or more students where maintaining a reliable seating chart can be difficult or not feasible?
For easier charting, we recommend using quadrants to chart class seating (e.g., Northeast Row A-Z, Seat 1-30; Southeast Row A-Z, Seat 1-30, etc.).

Encourage students to sit in the same seats or at least the same quadrant each class.

Can I do group work in class?
Yes.

Can I change seating charts over time, if the need arises?
Yes.

How will I know if students in my classes, labs or studios are vaccinated?
Faculty are not permitted to ask students about their vaccine status. Vaccine information is an individual’s private medical information.

The University is asking students, faculty and staff to either provide documentation of their vaccine status or declare an exemption and screen. This information will be kept private and shared only with very few individuals on only a need-to-know basis, generally only related to contact tracing if there is an exposure, and screening compliance.

Individuals who are not vaccinated are allowed to participate in meetings, in-person classroom instruction and other in-person activities if they have declared an exemption and are screening twice a week. The public health office will track who is compliant with screening and follow up directly with those individuals who are not compliant.

Masks in academic spaces

Are faculty required to wear masks in academic situations if they are more than six feet away from students?
Faculty are required to wear a mask when indoors and in classrooms, regardless of distancing from students.

Can faculty wear face shields instead of masks?
No. Masks are required; face shields may be worn in addition to masks, faculty cannot wear a face shield only.

Can a student seek a mask exemption and how do I manage that in my classroom?
This exception request process is for students with documented medical reasons that prevent them from wearing mask. Students should work with the Student Disability Center.

At this time, there are no mask exemptions. Anyone on campus or university grounds must wear a mask.  There may be mask accommodations that can be made; the Pandemic Preparedness Team is working on identifying options.

What if I have a student who comes to an academic space without wearing a mask or wearing one that does not cover their mouth and nose?
All students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear masks over their face and nose while inside CSU buildings.

If there are issues with mask compliance in an academic space with a student who does not have an exemption, please refer to this document to help reconcile  compliance issues.

Are masks required on field trips to an event, business, etc., or in the field for experiential learning?
Masks are required indoors in university buildings but are not required outdoors. Follow public health requirements that apply to your destination.

Masks are required in vehicles during University-related travel if more than one person is in the vehicle.

Will CSU provide faculty with masks for classroom or lab use?
Generally, no. But if you need assistance with acquiring masks for teaching, please check with your department chair.

Vaccines and screening for faculty and staff

Does the policy for vaccination, mandatory screening and masking apply to employees who work at home full-time or in county or federal facilities not operated by CSU?

Masks: Employees who work full time at home are not required to wear a mask unless they are on a university campus.

Vaccine and screening requirement: All employees, regardless of their work location, are required to submit their vaccine status or declare an exemption.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team is developing a process to for unvaccinated employees who work remotely 100 percent of the time and who have submitted an vaccine exemption to Human Resources to request that they not be required to screen twice a week. If those employees visit a campus or resume work in university buildings, they must screen twice a week. Until that process is developed, those employees are required to screen twice a week. More information about that process will be shared in the coming weeks.

CEMML, Extension, and research or other employees working at remote facilities do not need to screen if they are not vaccinated, but are expected to follow their local public health guidance where they are working. If they are returning to a campus, they are required to screen if they are not vaccinated.

Follow local guidance: Some county and federal facilities will require employees to wear a mask; employees should follow those requirements outlined for their designated workspace, such as a county courthouse or federal facility.

If I only teach remotely this semester or am on sabbatical and not teaching, do I still need to comply with the vaccine or screen mandate? I am a graduate student on continuous registration and fully remote; do I need to comply?
Please see the information immediately above.

What about students participating in an internship off campus? Do they have to comply with CSU mandates at their internship?
All students, faculty and staff must submit their vaccine status or declare an exemption.

When working at a non-university location, you are required to follow the public health expectations at your host organization.

Please see the above response for more information about other mandates.

Exposure and COVID positive tests

What is the process for notifying a student, faculty or staff member of a saliva screening that indicates that they have COVID-19?
Please see “COVID exposures, positive tests and contact tracing” section above for information.

How will I know if a student, one of my employees or a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19 or potentially has been exposed? Under what circumstances would I be informed?
CSU will not notify instructors or colleagues if a student or coworker tests positive, unless it is necessary for contact tracing purposes. You will be notified of possible exposure only if you are identified as a close contact.

Even if a student or instructor becomes ill, not everyone in a classroom or office area will automatically be identified as a close contact.

Last year, the public health office did not quarantine any entire classroom due to an exposure. In fact, they did not document any cases of transmission within a classroom: all cases where transmission was identified were within social settings outside the classroom due to small gatherings.

A student who I teach has volunteered to me that they are not attending classes because they are in quarantine or isolation, and they are requesting a temporary remote option. Can I verify that they are in isolation or quarantine?
If the student volunteers to you that they are out for quarantine or isolation, you can ask them to provide you with the official documentation of isolation or quarantine dates they received from public health officials.

If the student does not volunteer that they are missing classes due to being in isolation or quarantine, they can be asked to provide generic documentation from Student Case Management to verify that they need to miss class.

What is CSU’s process for investigating positive cases?
Please see “COVID exposures, positive tests and contact tracing” section above for information.

If one of my students tells me they need to be out due to a positive test or exposure, how long should I expect them to be away from class?
CSU Public Health follows Centers for Disease Control isolation and quarantine practices and guidelines. This means that the length of time can vary depending upon multiple factors.

How will CSU ensure people who are not vaccinated are complying with the mandate of twice weekly screening?
Please see information above under “Public Health Compliance”

Sanitation stations, clean spaces, indoor air quality

Will CSU maintain sanitation stations in buildings?
Yes, stations will be stocked and maintained with hand sanitizer and wipes in various locations on campuses.

Sanitation stations are powder-coated the green and gold of CSU and each has an individual QR code that can be scanned to report if supplies need to be refilled.

What is CSU doing to ensure clean classrooms, laboratories, meetings rooms, common spaces, etc.,  and protect indoor air quality?
You should wipe down your chair, desk, podium, table, etc., upon entering the room. Locate the cleaning supply station, provided by the University, in or near your space to get any cleaning materials you need.

Facilities Management is cleaning all spaces frequently.

Cleaning supplies will be monitored centrally.

Ask students to clean their seating areas when they arrive in the classroom. Remind students that disinfecting supplies will be located near the classroom.

See COVID-19 cleaning protocols

See steps Facilities Management has taken to protect air quality in CSU buildings

Student remote learning requests

What if a student requests a remote learning accommodation for an in-person course I teach?
If a student has a documented disability (as federally recognized and mandated) and wants to inquire about online accommodations, please refer them to the Student Disability Center.

Faculty are not expected to accommodate student requests outside of a documented disability managed through the Student Disability Center. If a student prefers remote course work, please instruct them to consult with their academic advisor or departmental representative who can assist them with possible alternatives. Options might include an online version of the course or an alternate online course offered through CSU, should these options exist within their major.

What if a student requests a temporary remote learning option for a fully in-person class because they have tested positive for COVID-19? What am I expected to do to deliver the course to them while they are in quarantine?
Faculty are not expected to extend teaching of their class to multiple modalities, if a student tests positive.

However, some faculty will find it easy to record or invite students remotely into the class and we encourage you to extend such flexibility if possible.

Also, we ask that you make allowances for the student to turn in assignments late, make up missed work and exams as you would in the event of any other student illness or personal hardships (e.g., a death in the family).

Faculty or staff remote working requests

Please see these FAQs from Human Resources for more information about remote work requests.