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COO Larry Sampler shares new guidance from CDC on quarantine for asymptomatic people, plus tips from the state for staying healthy this holiday season.

By Larry Sampler, Chief Operating Officer

December 16, 2020

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

I want to start by wishing all of you a safe and relaxing holiday break. You’ve earned it. As President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., noted in her semester wrap-up email, you’ve done a tremendous job of weathering a very challenging fall semester. As a small token of our gratitude, senior leaders have decided to close the University at noon Dec. 24 so folks can start their break a bit sooner.

I have two updates to share with you today.

CDC guidance on length of quarantine for asymptomatic people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month released its newest guidance for quarantining after a close-contact exposure to COVID-19. This new guideline does not replace the previous 14-day quarantine but rather allows for calculated-risk options to shorten that period.

“A 14-day quarantine can impose personal burdens that may affect physical and mental health, as well as cause economic hardship that may reduce compliance,” the CDC says. “Implementing quarantines can also pose additional burdens on public-health systems and communities.”

The CDC therefore says, “These recommendations for quarantine options shorter than 14 days balance this reduced burden against a small risk of post-quarantine infection that is informed by new and emerging science.”

Ideal: 14-day quarantine

A quarantine period can end after Day 14 from exposure, without testing and no symptoms. Fourteen days is the safest duration.

Calculated increased risk: 10-day quarantine

A quarantine period can end after Day 10 from exposure, without testing, if no symptoms have occurred throughout the 10 days.

Calculated increased risk: seven-day quarantine

A quarantine period can end after Day Seven from exposure, if testing is negative (testing should be performed on Day Five or later) and if no symptoms have occurred throughout the seven days.

Local public-health officials ultimately determine how this guidance will be interpreted, and in many cases, the 14-day guidance will still be recommended. Individuals should check with their medical providers to determine what is most appropriate for their unique situation.

In all quarantine options, people should continue the correct and consistent use of masks, social distancing, hand and cough hygiene, environmental cleaning, limited travel, disinfection, avoiding crowds, ensuring adequate indoor ventilation and self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.

Safety during the holidays

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shared its top three tips for staying safe during the holidays:

  1. Interact in person only with people from your household (defined as those who normally live and sleep under the same roof). 
  2. Refrain from traveling. Celebrate virtually with the people who don’t live with you. 
  3. Avoid crowded stores. Shop for gifts online and have them delivered or pick them up curbside. Find local Colorado businesses to support via the #ShopLocalColorado campaign. Wear a mask and keep your distance whenever you leave your home. 

The CDPHE also offered these ideas for enjoying the holiday season, while also keeping your loved ones safe.  

This will be the last edition of this column for 2020, but I appreciate your reading and staying informed. I know there is a lot of interest about how the University will or won’t be involved in the distribution of the vaccines as they become available and what changes that will bring to campus and when. We don’t have clear answers to those questions yet but will try to address them when we start the series up again in early January. Until then, if you have questions or concerns about our Safe Return to Campus, please reach out through this form or via email at


Larry Sampler

Vice President for Administration, Finance and Facilities and Chief Operating Officer

Topics: Health, Safety

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