On Oct. 29, Chancellor Venkat Reddy made the announcement that UCCS would be moving to remote learning for classes offered on campus after the Thanksgiving holiday.
In the same announcement, Reddy stated that residence halls and dining halls would remain accessible to students until the end of the fall semester, Dec. 19. An offer was made for students to relocate to their homes from Nov. 23 to Dec. 19 and receive a pro-rated credit on their Spring 2021 housing charges.
However, Reddy and the Incident Command Team are thinking ahead, urging UCCS students and faculty to remain safe and healthy by following set guidelines.
Currently, 15 percent of the student body is living in UCCS-owned/affiliated housing, according to UCCS Residence Life.
Ralph Giese, director of housing operations, recognizes the concerns of many students living on-campus.
“Currently, the University’s plan for spring is much like fall: in-person classes, Hyflex, as well as remote learning,” Giese said. “If the situation changes, we will work with all on-campus students.”
Following undergraduate tradition, many first-year students are required to live on-campus. Given the unique circumstances that coincide with COVID-19, Residence Life and Housing have acknowledged the possibility for students to have a complete remote learning schedule.
“The housing contract is for the full academic year,” Giese said. “However, should a student’s class schedule be completely remote learning in spring, they can fill out a Remote Petition.”
The Remote Petition allows students to terminate their housing contracts for the Spring 2021 semester if all their scheduled classes are remote.
“We will verify that the student is remote and cancel their contract,” Giese said. “This option is for all students that reside on campus.”
Since El Paso County was moved to Level Orange on the state dial framework by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Nov. 13, Residence Life and Housing are continuing to communicate with University leadership to keep students safe.
“As of right now, unless guidance changes, we will be open for our residential students after Thanksgiving and for the spring term,” Geise said. “There are no plans to close the residence halls like we did last spring.”
Giese continued, “Should Colorado implement more drastic measures, students will be given ample notice to make arrangements to move home.”
“If we receive guidance that we are unable to remain open, an announcement will come from our Chancellor and his Cabinet,” Giese said. “Residence Life and Housing will work with all students to make sure they have time to plan their return home.”
Giese recommends that all students stay up to date on emails from the chancellor and administration for housing updates.
COVID-19 guidelines for UCCS have continued to reflect guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by state and county public health organizations. When giving advice for students remaining on campus, Giese echoed the significance of these regulations.
“Our advice is to be safe and practice all COVID advice: keep face coverings on, maintain social distance, practice good hand hygiene, and keep gatherings to a minimum.” Giese also recognized the strain that COVID-19 can have on students’ well-being and academic performance.
“Make sure you are taking care of yourself both physically and mentally,” Giese said. “Everyone needs a break from all the craziness that is going on. Rest, relax and come back to campus to tackle your spring courses.”
Information is continuing to be updated regarding the safety and health of UCCS students and Colorado Springs residents.