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KUNC is here to keep you up-to-date on the news about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and answer your questions about Colorado's response to its spread in our state.

University Of Colorado Boulder Says Students Back This Fall

uc_boulder_library_2008_ken_lund_cc-by-sa.jpg
Ken Lunc
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CC BY-SA 2.0
File photo dated January 2018 of the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The University of Colorado Boulder announced Tuesday that students will return to campus this fall with new policies and safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The university introduced new guidelines including mandatory safety training, mask-wearing requirements, smaller class sizes and the creation of small groups of on-campus students who will live, socialize and go to class together, the Daily Camera reported.

The plans are designed to provide students with an on-campus experience while simultaneously implementing safety measures to curtail COVID-19. While fall classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 24, students will stay home after the Thanksgiving break and finish their classes remotely — a decision aimed at reducing potential spread of the virus between their homes and the campus.

The university said it will enhance its on-campus testing capability, create a campus response team to track, notify and isolate those exposed to the coronavirus and change the student code of conduct to include compliance with COVID-19 public health requirements and increased sanitation.

The announcement came as state education officials released guidance for how K-12 schools might operate in the next school year.

Noting that significant physical distancing would likely continue through fall, the Department of Education said schools may be able to have staggered schedules and smaller in-person instruction for some students, as well as remote learning for those who are more prepared to work from home.

It warned that there would be disruptions that would require the use of remote learning, and schools would need to be flexible.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

In other developments:

- Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday the spread of the coronavirus has slowed enough to justify reopening restaurants to in-person dining.

Restaurants will be allowed to open Wednesday at 50% of their posted occupancy limit but cannot have more than 50 customers at a time. The restaurant industry accounts for more than 294,000 jobs, about 10% of statewide employment, but Polis said the decision was not based solely on economics.

"Humans are social beings," he said. "We need those personal interactions to stay mentally healthy, and sharing a meal, breaking the bread, is one of the most important ways we bond with one another."

Restaurants will be allowed to exceed 50% capacity if they spread tables at least 6 feet apart outdoors.

Polis said that in the early stages of the outbreak, those infected with the virus were spreading it to an average of three to four people. Now, those infected are spreading it to an average of about one person.

- Arapahoe Basin ski area will reopen Wednesday with restrictions, including limiting the number of visitors through a reservation system, as well as requiring them to wear a face covering if they can't maintain social distancing. The resort near the Continental Divide west of Denver also is barring tailgating in all of its parking lots. Resorts in the state were shut down March 14 to curb the spread of the virus.

- State health officials warned it was critical for older people to practice social distancing to limit their chances of becoming infected and preventing a surge in demand for hospital care this summer. Nine out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the state have been in people aged 60 or older but the death rate is higher for those 75 and older. The number of people staying home overall peaked in the third week of April, just before the statewide stay at home order was lifted, and has been rising ever since, health department director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said.

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