By Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado
This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters
Denver public health officials enacted stricter rules for area colleges and their students on Thursday after a series of outbreaks at three of the city’s universities.
The health department will require colleges to conduct daily health screenings, increase efforts to ensure mask compliance, limit campus visitors, and submit a compliance plan to health officials. Schools will also need to enforce punishment for noncompliance.
The stricter rules underscore the hazard of students returning to colleges and getting into the swing of campus life.
Denver’s decision comes as outbreaks at the University of Colorado Boulder are threatening in-person learning, and Colorado College has moved mostly remote. Meanwhile, universities around the country are also grappling with clusters of cases traced to rulebreaking on campuses and in student communities.
“I know the gatherings that usually happen at the beginning of a new school year and other campus activities are an important part of college life,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “I can tell you, I for one truly enjoyed it when I was a student and on campus. But we have got to recognize that this is different, this year is different. Students have to take these public health measures seriously.”
While most students are complying with health orders, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment Executive Director Robert McDonald said outbreaks can get out of hand quickly. He hopes the order will head off other outbreaks.