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CSU-Pueblo (Courtesy Photo)

Colorado State University-Pueblo attempts safe return to campus with “flexibility” for students

“It really kind of depends on what a student’s comfort level is,” said Donna Souder Hodge, chief strategy officer for CSU-Pueblo. “What their personal interest may be, what their work-life is, what their home life may be. We want to give them options for their course work and for their experiences on campus that match any of those needs.”

With few exceptions, virtual and hybrid options for courses will be offered as an alternative to in-person classes. For courses where in-person learning is the only model offered or the preferred model, arrangements for alternatives may be made on a case-by-case basis through discussion with advisors, Souder Hodge said.

“We have students who will graduate in December,” Souder Hodge said. “We want to make sure that all of those students have every box checked and that they have a chance regardless if they are comfortable in person or they want to be completely virtual, they can still finish.”

Students will be required to wear masks on the CSU-Pueblo campus and in classrooms. High-enrollment courses move to larger classrooms where students can socially distance at six-feet. Plexiglass has been placed in common areas and office spaces throughout campus.

“We have made sure that we are ADA compliant,” Souder Hodge said. “We have made sure that our faculty will have access to face shields in addition to masks so that if students do need to be able to see lips or to hear one another, they are safe and when they do that.”

In residence halls, limits will be made to the number of students who are able to be in a room, and visitors will not be allowed to enter residence halls. Additional cleaning supplies and custodial support will also be provided to residents.

“We have rooms set aside, an entire floor that we can keep separate if we do have students we need to quarantine because of travel or students who need to quarantine because they have been confirmed positive or exposed, Souder Hodge said. “We want to ensure that they have access to all the support they have right here on campus.”

The university’s initial plan to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus included mandatory screening for all students, staff, and guests entering campus. However, the current plan only requires in-person screening for visitors and provides phone hotlines for students and staff to report any symptoms exposures by convocation week starting August 17.

“We can’t really run screening 24/7 and serve the number of folks that we will be serving on campus,” Souder Hodge said. “Screening also relies heavily on self-reporting, so we think we can do a good job protecting our Pack and relying on self-reporting but giving people more info… a line to call into and an email address where they can send us updates.”

Classes will begin on August 24 and transition to a virtual-only learning model after Thanksgiving Break the week of November 20.

“A high number of our employees, our faculty and our students of course travel over Thanksgiving Break,” Souder Hodge said. “They return home to their families, they visit family elsewhere… there is not enough time left in the semester to require anyone who did travel to quarantine so we want to make sure that we are mitigating risk whenever possible.”