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March 22: First confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with CSU confirmed

Email to university community

What you can do to stop the spread of germs

Effective Monday, March 23, CSU will move all operations to online and virtual services.

Colorado State University is closely monitoring and following COVID-19 guidance as outlined by public health experts. We are in daily communication with our Larimer County and Colorado Departments of Health and Environment. We are actively tracking and following federal guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including new guidance for COVID-19 pandemic preparedness planning and protocols for students, faculty and staff who are or have recently traveled.

The university has had protocols in place to monitor for the virus since January 14, 2020.

University status

The University has reviewed the orders from both Larimer County and Governor Polis asking residents to shelter in place and stay home.

The orders are consistent with President McConnell’s directive that all employees should work remotely or virtually unless they are assigned to perform certain essential, in-person functions. There are no changes to University operations and protocols, including research and academic instruction continuity, currently in place.

Students and families may continue to move out of residence halls and apartments, practicing social distancing. More information is available at

See these FAQs for more information

Effective Monday, March 23, all CSU operations will be online and virtual services.

What does this mean?

The university will be open—virtually. We will do our work by phone, email, Microsoft Teams or other online platforms unless the work must be performed in person. Supervisors should exercise common sense, flexibility and compassion to move employees to online and virtual work and also to identify any essential-in-person functions in their offices.

Essential in-person functions are those service functions that cannot be performed via email, phone, or other online platforms, including but not limited to: feeding and serving students who remain in the residence halls; caring for animals and plants under the university’s charge; performing physical maintenance and cleaning; using on-campus equipment that is vital to academic, research, or operations continuity; and conducting critical research tasks that cannot be done virtually.

More information on online and virtual operations and essential in-person functions.

Information about building closures

Our fundamental mission is to educate our students and we are committed to preserving their educational access, opportunity and success for the remainder of this semester, regardless of circumstances.

Spring Break for students and faculty will be extended through Tuesday, March 24, with classes resuming Wednesday, March 25, as follows:

  • Classes at all levels will be delivered online beginning Wednesday, March 25, through the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Individual academic units will follow up with their students regarding accommodations for accessibility issues, including online and computer access, internships, laboratory classes, and other special circumstances.
  • In keeping with this decision, we are also advising the suspension or online delivery of off-campus educational programming and events (including in CSU Extension and Continuing Education) for the remainder of the semester.

Guidance for faculty on how to move classes online is available at the Keep Teaching link on Canvas.

Information and access for students to online instruction is at Keep Learning on Canvas.

Full message from President McConnell regarding online instruction 

ACNS – Academic Computing and Networking Services – has developed these resources are available to support routine work or academic function in response to the University’s decision to move courses online, as well as potential future University decisions to support additional social distancing measures to work remotely.

These services connect you with colleagues and students so that work and learning can continue uninterrupted.

For assistance or questions, please contact your department IT staff or the Central IT Technical Support Help Desk at (970) 491-7276 or via email at Please note: University closures may slow the Help Desk response time.

Following recommendations from public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to move the May Commencement ceremonies to December to allow all our graduates to share their achievements with their families in person. We will celebrate all CSU 2020 graduates with commencement ceremonies on campus December 18-20, 2020. The schedule for specific ceremonies will be forthcoming in the coming weeks and posted here.

Human Resources has developed an extensive list of frequently asked questions about leave and other employment-related issues around the University’s COVID-19 planning and decisions.

These FAQs are posted at, where State Classified employees will also find guidance from the state of Colorado. HR will be updating the FAQs frequently as this situation unfolds. Check this link regularly for the latest information in response to your questions and changing conditions.

The Office of the Vice President of Research has developed a page offering guidance and resources for the Colorado State University research community to assist in planning for potential impacts and ensuring research continuity during the coronavirus outbreak. It defines critical research operations and steps that are being taken to ensure any impacts of the pandemic will be mitigated.

The page will be updated as frequently as necessary to keep current with the latest information from the University, health authorities, and funding agencies.

Latest update on critical research operations.

The University is reviewing and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment on holding large events and gatherings.

This updated list of events that have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled will be updated frequently as we receive new information.

Information about parking enforcement on Main, South or Foothills Campus.

Travel impacts

All university international and domestic travel, including travel within Colorado, that has not yet commenced is suspended effective March 23 . We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines later this spring. Exceptions may be granted based on critical need. More information on the exception process will be shared soon.

If you are a student or employee and you have recently traveled to Colorado and Fort Collins from another state or any other country, you must self-isolate for 14 days before coming to any university campus for any reason.

If you are experiencing symptoms, call your health care provider.


March 13, 2020

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment just issued an alert advising all visitors in the past week and residents of Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, and Gunnison counties in Colorado to self-isolate and avoid as much contact with others as possible. Due to extensive spread of COVID-19 in a number of mountain resort communities, visitors and residents of these counties are being ask to work from home and avoid social contact.

If you live in Colorado and are leaving one of these communities, you should minimize contact with other people for 14 days and watch for the development of symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you have symptoms, stay where you are, isolate yourself from others, and call a health care provider or nurse line before seeking care. Do not fly. Do not use public transportation or ride-shares.

If you have been in any of these counties, please do not report to work and contact your supervisor as soon as possible to make arrangements.

The full announcement can be read here (in both English and Spanish):

Concerns about exposure

Not everyone who is exposed to the virus will catch it, and some people who are infected with have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath generally develop several days to two weeks after exposure. If you believe you were exposed and have not developed symptoms after 14 days, you likely did not catch the virus. If you believe you have been exposed, you should minimize contact with other people for 14 days and watch for the development of symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

If you believe you are ill, call your medical provider.

Medical providers may or may not test you for COVID-19; health officials may choose to reserve tests for those who have compromised immune systems, are elderly or are otherwise at risk.

Someone who is tested for COVID-19 should self-isolate until their medical provider receives test results.  

Because COVID-19 is in our community, health officials are no longer advising that individuals who are being tested or are self-isolating contact Larimer County Health Department or CSU Public Health. However, those offices are available as a resource if the person seeking medical care wants additional education from what they receive from their medical provider regarding precautions.   

Larimer County Health Department is notified by the state of positive COVID-19 tests associated with the university community. Public health officials will investigate who the positive person has been in close contact with. When an employee or student associated with the university tests positive, the county or a university public health official will contact those people who have been in close contact — which may or may not include other employees or students.

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick. More information

Please see this guide for addressing reports of exposure. Click for a printable PDF.

Wellness and Prevention

We recommend following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and these tips from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If you want to know why the CDC recommends “social distancing,” this chart illustrates how quickly our healthcare system could be overwhelmed with people needing treatment if we continued gathering in large groups.

Flattening the curve of infection graphic

People who are considered to have had close contact with an infected person means they have had face-to-face meetings, shared a meal, or were in a confined space for minutes to hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “close contact” for this coronavirus outbreak, based on research and what scientists know, as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person infected with the virus for a “prolonged period of time.”

Examples include living with, sharing a health-care waiting room, or visiting for several minutes with someone with COVID-19, as well as having had direct contact with the infected person’s secretions – for example, being coughed on. A prolonged period of time is generally defined as several minutes.

Coronaviruses are generally passed from person to person through droplets from the nose or mouth when an infected person coughs or exhales, which land on objects and surfaces around the person, requiring close physical contact with a sneeze or other body secretion.

Who is at risk of contracting this strain of coronavirus? Public health officials take guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to concerns about exposure. These professionals are part of a vast network of experts who share information about individuals who are experiencing symptoms and who may have been exposed to the virus. If there is a concern that someone has the virus, public health officials track down others who may have been in close contact with that person; those are the individuals who are believed to be at the highest risk of contracting the virus. That said, only a fraction of individuals with close contact with someone who is experiencing COVID-19 will also experience symptoms.

Public health efforts to track individuals with close contact are extensive and thorough.

What is “close contact?” This is a term with a specific public health definition, with parameters set by information health officials know about each specific illness or disease.

Public health departments determine who is at risk of illness based on factors specific to this coronavirus. These departments decide how many people are at risk of contracting the virus from someone they have had contact with, and they track down those individuals and notify them directly and provide advice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set guidelines that define “close contact” for this coronavirus outbreak, based on research and what scientists know, as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person infected with the virus for a “prolonged period of time,” as well as those who have had direct contact with the infected person’s secretions. A prolonged period of time is generally defined as several minutes. People who are considered at risk often had meetings, shared a meal or were in a confined space for minutes to hours with an infected person. Coronaviruses are generally passed through droplets, requiring close physical contact with a sneeze or other body secretion.

While this virus is spreading through “community spread,” which means that there are cases where a close connection cannot be found, researchers looking at the spread of the virus do not believe that is common.

Many people who are exposed to the virus are likely to not become ill, or may only experience mild symptoms. The best advice for staying well continues to be wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your cough, stay home if you are sick, and avoid contact with individuals who are not well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued updated guidance for what to do if you are feeling sick.

  • Because multiple cases of COVID-19 are now confirmed in Colorado, public health officials are reserving the tests for those patients who need it the most – primarily those who are in a hospital so that doctors can determine how to treat them, and for health care providers.
  • Concerned you have COVID-19? REPORT YOUR SYMPTOMS ONLINE. Reporting your symptoms online helps public health teams better understand and track the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19,click here to be redirected to the Larimer County COVID-19 data portal, and then report your symptoms by clicking the blue box labeled “Report Your Symptoms.” Symptoms can vary and may include fever, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Most people who get COVID-19 will not become seriously ill and only experience a mild illness and won’t need to see a doctor.
  • If you are a CSU student and would like to speak to a healthcare professional about your symptoms or questions about COVID-19, please call CSU Health Network at (970) 491-7121 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will discuss your symptoms to determine whether you should seek medical care, answer your questions and offer advice about home care and isolation.
  • If you are an employee and you are concerned that your symptoms are becoming serious, call your health care provider.

If your medical provider asks you to seek care, take these precautions to stop the spread of germs:

  • Avoid using public transportation.
  • Avoid contact with others and public places.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your health care providers. Tests may be reserved for individuals who have compromised immune systems, are elderly or otherwise at risk.

This information from Larimer County Public Health provides great guidance for older adults and those with preexisting health conditions.

CSU resources for students, faculty and staff

Mental and emotional health resources are available:

Additional resources for:

Follow this advice from Larimer County Health Department.

Key facts about coronavirus and COVID-19

Coronarviruses are a group or family of viruses that are actually very common and have been around – and infecting humans – for a long time. Most people will get a mild “common cold” from this family of viruses at some time in their lives – a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. Sometimes, this is a virus that also causes pneumonia or bronchitis. These viruses spread from person to person just like other “common cold” viruses: through close contact, uncovered coughs and sneezes, and if the virus is on a surface and a person touches the surface and then touches their eyes or mouth.

The current outbreak that is being covered in the news is due to a newer virus strain in the coronavirus family. This newer strain – called COVID-19 — is causing a range of severity of illness in people, from mild infections to severe – sometimes fatal – infections that cause pneumonia. The first cases of this virus were found in one region in China in December. The first United States case was confirmed on Jan. 21.

  • The university is following all guidelines and recommendations based on protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • For information about COVID-19 in Colorado, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • Experts believe that the incubation period is up to 14 days.
  • It is important to know that it is cold and flu season; please do not assume that someone who is sick or wearing a mask has coronavirus. Individuals may choose to wear a mask for a variety of reasons, and may wear one even when they do not have a respiratory illness.
  • Share facts, not fear with this resource about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. It’s important to seek information from reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (

To avoid the spread of all respiratory viruses including the flu, everyone should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer if water and soap is not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Remain at home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the corner of your elbow.

The university has cleaning and disinfecting protocols in place. If you want to take additional measures for your personal space, visit and

See this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about pets, animals and COVID-19.

What do we mean when we talk about self-isolate, quarantine and other COVID-19 and public health terms? Check out this glossary.

University pandemic planning

As of March 16, a number of on-campus events have been canceled, and the University is reviewing the current guidance from the CDC.

This situation is rapidly evolving, and while we are working to provide as much up-to-date information as possible, we may or may not be able to do so with significant advance notice.

Restrictions and guidelines for events, large gatherings, and public spaces from Larimer County

At this time, there is limited testing being conducted by health care providers of individuals who have symptoms. Individuals who believe they have been exposed are not being tested by health officials, and even individuals with symptoms are not being tested by doctors and medical providers unless they are hospitalized and information is needed, or they are a health care provider.

The university has moved to virtual, remote operations, and most faculty, staff and students are no longer on campus, unless they are performing essential, in-person duties. Some residence halls remain open with a decreased number of students.

The university will support public health quarantine efforts, including protocols to quarantine any students who remain in University housing, if applicable.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC Situation Summary

About COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

Stigma and COVID-19

Travel Advice and Warnings

Centers for Disease Control

State Department

Health Departments

Larimer County Department of Health and Environment

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

General questions about COVID-19

CO-Help: 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911
Answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more.

Avoiding stigma related to COVID-19

We ask CSU community members to support each other and reach out to members of our Ram family who may be worried about family and friends who are where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring. Please remember the words of President McConnell in a recent university message – “We always care for one another, and Rams take care of Rams. I urge you all to make a special effort to reach out to these members of our community right now, ask what they need, and show that you care.”

CDC: Avoiding stigma related to COVID-19

Information about impact at CSU: Asian Pacific American Cultural Center

Still have general questions not answered by these resources about CSU’s response? Submit a question.