July 31, 2020

Happy Friday, Everyone! And to many of our students, returning to off-campus houses and apartments this weekend—happy first Friday back in Fort Collins! We missed you and we’re so glad you’re back.

Over the next few weeks, right up until classes start in mid-August, we know we’ll have more and more students returning to off-campus housing and trying to get settled into the space and the city that you call home for most of the year. As you make the inevitable Target run (or two), catch up with friends, or venture into Old Town for ice cream or tacos, I remind you all that while I know you always strive to be good neighbors, this year we need you to do even more.

COVID-19 health precautions are strictly in place here in Fort Collins, both on CSU campuses and off. We’ll be getting signage up pretty much everywhere you look over the next few weeks, and you’ll see a lot of reminders around town as well.  Pay attention to these. And please always, always adhere to these five clear, consistent best practices to prevent the spread of the virus and keep our entire community safe:

  1. Wear a mask whenever you are out in public—that means, literally anywhere but your house, your apartment, or your car.
  2. Keep a minimum of six feet between yourself and others. If you stretch out your arm and your friend stretches out their arm your fingertips shouldn’t touch.  Start practicing virtual welcome-back-how-was-your-summer hugs!
  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and when you can’t get to a sink, use hand sanitizer frequently.
  4. Avoid large gatherings and any group experiences where you know you won’t be able to practice physical distancing (that fingertip test above). That means no big parties, barbeques, trips to the pool or the Reservoir, or pick-up games.  Agree with your friends that you will connect with one another, just in small groups rather than big ones. And when you do get together, wear your masks.
  5. Stay home when you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or know you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

I know that most all of you are familiar with these guidelines for how to behave and you’ve already been following them.  Thank you. I assure you that the rest of the Fort Collins community—including CSU faculty, staff, and local residents—is also deeply invested in keeping everyone healthy this summer and fall.  Together, we can.

There may be some occasions when some of you are tempted to ignore the five behaviors I listed above, or other behaviors and protocols that you see posted or advised. I hope you help each other remember and adhere to these simple rules.  Please note that if you do not practice these behaviors you may be reported to Student Conduct, because these public health precautions are state-mandated, locally mandated, and CSU-mandated. That makes them policy, and something we will enforce.

Even in this unusual time, though, when you see friends for the first time in months behind masks and forego some of the things you like to do, I know that you will also still find reasons to be excited and happy to be back in Fort Collins, just as we’re excited to have you. The weather is beautiful, the trees on the Oval are green, and the university community remains vibrant, intellectually engaged, and determined to make our world better. We are counting on you to help us with that goal, and so I’ll say it once again: Together, We Can!

Welcome back, Rams!