Mines welcomes students back to campus for in-person Spring 2021 learning
Colorado School of Mines students returned to campus today for the start of the Spring 2021 semester, with face masks, social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
More than 70 percent of Spring 2021 classes have an in-person component, with the remainder being offered fully remote or online. Students also had the option to pursue their studies 100 percent remotely, as they did during the fall semester.
And while the physical environment on campus remains changed to limit the potential for COVID-19 transmission, the hallmarks of a Mines education continue. Hands-on design classes are being offered. Engineering Days, or E-Days, will continue in some form the weekend of April 16-18, with the Mines Activities Council leading the planning. Mines officials are even hoping to host Spring Commencement on campus, in some form, in May.
“If there was going to be a theme for this semester, it would probably be ‘innovation,’” Mines President Paul C. Johnson said in a message to students Tuesday, referencing the ways in which Mines continues to answer the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Those innovations include in-class “Jedi” course assistants to help faculty and students navigate classroom technology, a pilot of virtual cloud-based computer labs and preparations for the Labriola Innovation Complex, a planned, multi-facility complex that will be the central hub for innovation on campus.
Mines was able to complete the Fall 2020 semester without any major unplanned interruptions to in-person living, learning and research. All instruction and final exams switched to remote only after Thanksgiving Break to allow students to limit their travel around the holidays.
For the Spring 2021 semester, the same comprehensive spectrum of health and safety measures are in place on campus to help limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible among the Oredigger community. That includes a mask requirement inside campus buildings and outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained; decreased residential and office density; rapid response and contact tracing via the Mines COVID-19 Response Initiator Team; and enhanced cleaning protocols and HVAC operations.
Among the new and/or expanded measures in place:
- Expansion of Campus COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program: Students living on campus (residence halls, 1750 Jackson and sorority and fraternity houses) will be tested weekly, while the testing program also expands to include random testing of students who live off campus but attend classes in person.
- New COVID-19 Health Screen Tool launched: Starting Tuesday, Jan. 12, Mines students, faculty and staff who are living, studying or working on campus will be asked to use a new, readily accessible tool for checking their health before they arrive on campus.
- Free COVID-19 testing available to all Mines students, employees and affiliates: All members of the Mines community— students, faculty and staff, as well as family members and non-Mines housemates — can get tested for COVID-19 for free through Mines’ partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado. Testing is available at any of COVIDCheck Colorado’s test sites —including the one on the Mines campus. The State of Colorado has agreed to cover all costs for COVID-19 tests at COVIDCheck sites through March 31.
As of Jan. 12, Jefferson County was subject to Level Orange restrictions on the state’s COVID-19 dial. Mines is following all county restrictions as they apply to campus events, dining facilities and the Student Recreation Center.
For more information about Mines’ pandemic preparation and operations, go to mines.edu/coronavirus. The most recent campus case counts are available on the Mines COVID-19 Dashboard, with updates daily Monday-Friday.