By Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado
This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters
Under new state guidance, Colorado colleges and universities can immediately offer in-person instruction for every class as long as they limit attendance to 50% capacity per room, up to 50 people.
Colleges and universities also might be allowed to accommodate up to 100 total people in a room depending on its size — such as an event hall over 11,300 square feet.
The new guidance Gov. Jared Polis issued on Friday allows higher education institutions flexibility in which classes can be taught in person. It’s an incremental change from April guidance that said only programs that needed to be taught in person were allowed to meet in person. All other classes were required to be taught remotely.
The state said it will issue new guidelines for the fall semester in the next several weeks.
Despite the new, more lenient guidance, some institutions are taking a cautious approach.
“Our approach does not change with the modifications to the governor’s guidance,” said Timothy Carroll, Metropolitan State University of Denver spokesman. “We are complying with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] cleaning and disinfecting guidance and will continue to do so.”
As the April guidance required, schools will still need to notify the higher education department that it is resuming in-person instruction, as well as which classes it will teach. The notifications will be used for tracking purposes if there is an outbreak at the institution.
Schools will need to maintain a six-foot distance between students in classrooms and adhere to strict cleaning procedures. Schools must space seats 12 feet apart to leave room for students to navigate the classroom safely.