Virtual Town Hall maps out fall return to campus

Chancellor Venkat Reddy and campus leaders addressed campus in the fourth virtual Town Hall of the summer on July 22.

Chancellor Reddy and a panel of campus leaders provided updates on the phased return to campus and health and safety measures UCCS has put in place in advance of the Aug. 24 start of the fall semester. Leaders also addressed the new “Protect the Pride” initiative, meant to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus.

Updates presented by Chancellor Reddy and campus leadership included several key takeaways.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Beginning July 27, UCCS will enter the second phase of the UCCS Returning Stronger Together plan, which will begin to open additional offices and buildings on campus. Learn more >>

  • All students, faculty, staff and visitors will be expected to “Protect the Pride” while on campus by wearing a face covering while in public spaces and maintaining social distancing. Learn more >>

  • Students will be held accountable for Protecting the Pride by the student code of conduct, and employees will be held accountable by the personnel performance management system. Learn more >>

  • Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and El Paso County Public Health, the UCCS Wellness Center will implement robust COVID testing for students that are experiencing COVID symptoms or are a close contact to a known positive case. At this time faculty, staff and campus visitors and will be referred to their primary care provider or a community testing site, but the Wellness Center plans to collaborate with the county on vigilant contact tracing as needed. Learn more >>

  • Once results are received by El Paso County Public Health or the UCCS Wellness Center, individuals who test positive for the virus will be contacted within 24 hours to begin contact tracing. Learn more >>

  • Should a student living on campus test positive for the virus or have a known exposure to a positive case, they will be asked to return home to self-isolate or self-quarantine. If the student is unable to return home, they will be asked to stay in a private, reserved residence hall room to self-isolate or self-quarantine. The Wellness Center will check in with the students daily, and food will be delivered to them during their isolation or quarantine. Learn more >>

  • Many employees will continue to work remotely in the fall to contribute to virus suppression efforts. Learn more >>

  • Accommodations will be made for students and employees who identify as high-risk, or who have personal concerns about returning to work on campus. Learn more >>

  • 40 percent of courses in the fall will be offering an on-campus learning component. Learn more >>

  • Classrooms have been set up according to public health guidance, and Plexiglass has been installed at customer service and public spaces. Learn more >>

  • UCCS will continue to monitor public health orders from the federal and state government, local conditions and contact tracing indicating any community spread in order to determine the safety of on-campus activities. Learn more >>

As he closed out the town hall, Chancellor Reddy remarked, “This is the time for us to really emphasize compassion. As we enter the fall semester, let’s not forget that we will work hard to be compassionate to each other – because we are all going through our own struggles, and the fall semester will test us even more.”

“Things may be different this fall,” Reddy concluded, “but our core values and beliefs stay the same. We are the Mountain Lion family. We support each other and we keep each other safe. So please join me in practicing the three W’s of Protecting the Pride. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. And watch your distance.”

Members of the UCCS community who would like to submit additional questions for response may do so online. They may also fill out a survey response to the event.