Denver officials launch restrictions for college campuses to curb COVID-19 spike

Denver officials announced new public health orders targeting the city’s college campuses Thursday to prevent additional spread of the coronavirus in the metro area.

Additional health screens will be required for students, staff and visitors, and only dorm residents will be able to enter dorms, officials said. Athletes playing team sports will now be required to wear face masks in outdoor settings and while traveling to and from games. Restrictions also will be placed on fraternities’ and sororities’ activities.

College students are driving a recent spike in positive cases in Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock said, and if the increases continue additional restrictions will be announced.

“We’ve got to recognize this is different, this year is different and students have to take these public health measures seriously,” he said.

This is a virus where “just a little bit of noncompliance can go a long way” and lead to spikes in the broader community, Public Health Director Bob McDonald said during a news conference Thursday.

Students and universities will face enforcement action if need be, McDonald said.

Gov. Jared Polis warned of a possible third wave of the virus in Colorado this week — in large part driven by cases around college campuses.

A surge in at the University of Colorado Boulder prompted CU to announce earlier this week that it would shift classes online for at least two weeks, and Boulder health officials announced new restrictions there Thursday morning, including a ban on gatherings of college-aged residents.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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