COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates & Resources

Naropa University monitors information from the State Department, CDC, WHO, the state of Colorado and Boulder County Public Health Department as it pertains to COVID-19-related decisions on campus.


Boulder County is currently in high transmission, which is the highest level of transmission of COVID-19 under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) transmission tracker due to the Delta variant.


Boulder County now requires masking in all indoor, public spaces regardless of vaccination status.  Please see:


Need a Covid-19 test? Find Resources Here:


Please click here to view more information.


Please send any inquiries to:


Naropa University students, faculty, and staff are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the beginning of the Fall 2021 Semester in order to study, teach, work or attend any Naropa-sponsored activities.


Masks will be required for all students, faculty and guests indoors on campus except when eating or drinking.


Dear Naropa Community,


We hope that this message finds you well a month into our fall semester. I am writing to you with important updates about how we plan to operate next semester.  Starting in January with the spring 2022 semester, Naropa University will hold all residential courses in-person on our Boulder campuses and partner retreat sites.  While we were hoping to return to pre-Covid operations with Covid-19 eradicated, it is clear that our lives will continue to be impacted by this virus for an unknown amount of time. To the hundreds of students who are enrolled in our residential university, we have made a commitment to provide an in-person learning community, and we are taking many steps to further enhance that experience for the next semester.

As is always the case in the face of the pandemic, this plan is based on the current data; and no one can predict any modifications which might be required because of unexpected changes in the impact of the virus.

At the start of the pandemic and through the fall of 2021, we have used technology to support hybrid learning.  We are so grateful to our faculty and staff for their resilience and willingness to teach and support our students through this remote learning technology. However, knowing that in-person learning is at the core of our residential university and that Covid-19 remains with us, we will return to residential course delivery effective on the first day of classes, January 10, 2022. This will align Naropa with the vast majority of our fellow education institutions, including all of the Colorado colleges and universities. In order to continue to offer as safe an environment as possible, we are focused on three pillars of risk mitigation, to reduce the likelihood of transmission of Covid-19: Vaccination, Ventilation, and Masking.


Naropa University requires (subject to the limited exceptions stated below) that all students and employees receive the Covid-19 vaccination and strongly encourages all parties to adhere to any recommended booster schedules.  This requirement put into place on August 1, 2021, has been effective in ensuring that our community has high vaccination rates.  As of September 12, 2021, the national average of adults who have received the full dosage of the Covid-19 vaccination is approximately 54%.  The Colorado average is 69.5%.  The vaccination rate for the residential Naropa student body is 82% and growing, well above the national and Colorado averages.

Vaccination against Covid-19 remains the most effective tool for reducing the risk of transmission, serious illness, hospitalization, and death.  Naropa will continue to require that all students and employees be vaccinated against Covid-19.  We have information on file for all current students, staff, and faculty; and we will collect new information for incoming students and employees through the admissions and hiring processes.

Some community members have sought and received an exception to the vaccination requirement.  These exceptions are based on documentation of a medical, religious or moral objection to the vaccination.  Incoming students and employees will maintain the legal right to seek an exception to the vaccine requirement.  Receiving an exception means that students and employees may attend in-person Naropa-sponsored activities without receiving the Covid-19 vaccination starting January 1, 2022, but such exempt persons will be required to meet several additional safety precautions as detailed below.

For the fall semester of 2021, we are not allowing unvaccinated students, faculty, or staff to be physically present on our campuses.  This decision was more rigid than that of other Colorado colleges and universities, which have also mandated the Covid-19 vaccination but have allowed unvaccinated persons with legal exceptions to the mandate to attend programs in-person while taking additional safety precautions.  It was a prudent decision we needed to make last spring while we collected vaccination data for our community. Now that we are mostly vaccinated, CDC, state, and local guidelines allow for a move back to in-person learning for our residential community.

Vaccination or Exception Information:

  • Incoming students and newly hired employees must submit proof of vaccination or apply for a legally eligible vaccination exception.
  •  Beginning in the spring semester of 2022, persons who apply for and receive an exception to the vaccination mandate based on stated legal grounds will attend Naropa classes and work in-person and may attend Naropa sponsored co-curricular programming in-person, subject to the safety conditions outlined below.
  • We will honor all exceptions to the vaccine mandate that were submitted and approved for the fall 2021 semester, and there is no need to resubmit the information.
  • Receiving an exception to the vaccination mandate means only that you will not be obligated to vaccinate as a condition of employment or study.  However, we want to be clear that the exception does not grant special permission to teach or learn remotely – this was the accommodation made for exception recipients who were otherwise not able to physically access campus specifically for Fall 2021 due to Naropa’s limited access policy for the fall semester.
  • As of January 2022, non-vaccinated parties may access Naropa's physical spaces; and, as such, anyone unvaccinated who is teaching or learning in a residential program must attend in-person - subject to the specific requirements set out in this memo.
  • There will no longer be options for dual in-person and remote learning via OWLs; and, unless state and local mandates change, residential courses will not be delivered online. For any in-person student who tests positive and is required to quarantine or isolate as described below, individual arrangements will need to be made with faculty to maintain class progress. This is the same as would be the case if a student was obliged to miss classes as a result of any other illness or other temporary situation. Examples of such arrangements may include using Zoom on a short-term basis if the faculty member agrees, completing course assignments over a longer period of time, taking an incomplete in the event of more extended absence, or arranging for a note-taker or other such accommodations. It is the responsibility of the student to work with the faculty to determine the arrangements. Faculty and advisors will be supported by the Academic Affairs division, Deans and department chairs to create these accommodations.

While more information will be provided prior to the start of the Spring 2022 semester, below are the safety precautions that are required of all unvaccinated students, staff, and faculty*:


  1. Mandatory testing, at least weekly, and reporting of results to university officials (testing protocols and options will be detailed as we get closer to January);
  2. Masking at all times while indoors regardless of whether or not this is required by public health order;
  3. Unvaccinated students may not reside in the residence halls;
  4. Mandatory quarantine for documented or disclosed classroom exposures; and
  5. Naropa reserves the right to restrict access to campus locations for unvaccinated community members in the event of an outbreak.

*Additional information will be provided prior to the start of the spring 2022 semester.

Risk Mitigation Strategies

Evidence shows that vaccination, ventilation, and masking are strong risk mitigation tactics that reduce the transmission of Covid-19.  Naropa is currently working with a ventilation expert who will assist us in assessing available options for upgrades to our buildings that will improve airflow.  Boulder County, at this time, is under a public health order which requires masks to be worn at all times while in indoor, public spaces such as Naropa University.  Community members should anticipate that the masking requirement, regardless of vaccination status, will remain in effect through the spring 2022 semester.


Additional strategies for the University, regardless of vaccination status, include:

  1. Reduced staff presence on campus, with area Vice Presidents’ determining whether staff will work from home, while also meeting our basic service commitments to the community;
  2. Required Covid-19 testing prior to all retreats and intensives;
  3. Continued adherence to state recommendations on quarantine/isolation protocols. Unvaccinated students with a known Covid-19 exposure will be required to quarantine for a period of 10-14 days from exposure.  In accordance with guidelines, vaccinated students will not be required to quarantine after a known exposure but should take a Covid-19 test 3-5 days post-exposure and isolate for 10 days should they receive a positive result;
  4. Following quarantine/isolation the person who tested positive may resume on-campus activities. A COVID-19 task force member will establish specific further protocols with the returning community members in accordance with the CDC guidelines effective at the time.
  5. Community members should continue to report confirmed cases of Covid-19 to for limited contact tracing purposes;
  6. Staff meetings, committee meetings, and faculty office hours may all continue to be held remotely;
  7. We will continue to suspend rentals and public events on campus;
  8. Social distancing should be followed whenever possible; and
  9. We will continue the use of classroom sanitation stations.

As with any policy or protocol decision arising from the current pandemic, we are balancing a number of priorities - including reasonable health and safety protocols, honoring our commitment to residential students to provide the residential experience they expect, maintaining reasonable retention rates, protecting Naropa’s financial sustainability, and following the science as best we can.

All of us have our own personal concerns and abilities to tolerate the risks that we face from Covid-19.  While many in our community may cheer the return to residential learning, others may meet this news with caution.  Faculty should bring any concerns to the relevant school Dean, who will bring them to the Chief Academic Officer or Human Resources as appropriate. Employees should discuss any concerns they have with the Human Resources Department. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors or academic leadership.


Questions may be sent to:

With appreciation,

Charles G. Lief




  • Practice social distancing when possible
  • Wear a face mask when present on campus indoors.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick, especially if they are exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Avoid contact with others except when seeking medical care. Get tested for COVID-19.
  • Contact your medical provider if you have any questions or health concerns.