CU Boulder

The University of Colorado-Boulder students will begin this semester online and will return to in-person learning on Jan. 24, the school announced Friday night.

"Because of the impacts of the fires, in combination with concerns about the COVID-19 omicron variant, the broader Boulder area is not in a position to welcome back thousands of students over the next week," chancellor Philip DiStefano wrote in a message to the university community.

Classes will resume Jan. 10 fully online, allowing the school to "provide resources in support of communitywide recovery efforts," DiStefano wrote. Residence halls will be closed until Jan. 21, and rates and fees will be reduced. Students who live on off-campus housing are also encouraged to delay their return.

The release came a day after grass fires swept through parts of Boulder County and destroyed hundreds of homes in Louisville and Superior. Large areas of both communities were still closed to residents Saturday morning. DiStefano wrote that "several hundred" students, staff and faculty live in evacuated areas who have not been able to return and "may not know if their homes are still standing."

Students were also set to return as the omicron variant, the highly transmissible strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, seizes hold of Colorado. Cases have skyrocketed statewide in the span of a few weeks, driving daily positivity and case loads to their highest levels in months. 

DiStefano urged CU-Boulder employees to work remotely as much as possible.

"This year has been a challenge for us all in so many ways," he wrote. "As we turn our attention to the coming year, I wish the best for all the Buffs here in Boulder and beyond in 2022. Please take care of yourselves and each other."

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