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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

2021-22 COVID-19 Protocols

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, please call the Western COVID Hotline at 970-975-0739.

Starting Monday, August 16, Western will temporarily require masks indoors in all public spaces (unless actively eating or drinking), regardless of vaccination status.

Public spaces include:

  • Academic and administrative buildings
  • Classrooms
  • Hallways
  • Indoor recreational spaces (the Mountaineer Field House, indoor athletic events, etc.)
  • Buses and vans

Activities performed in indoor spaces that are not publicly accessible, such as residence halls and private offices, are not subject to this requirement. Masks will not be required outdoors, but are recommended if in a crowded space. Additionally, public health officials strongly recommend those who are unvaccinated wear a face mask in both public and non-public indoor spaces whenever possible. Like the past academic year, with appropriate social distancing faculty may remove their mask during instruction.

We will continue to evaluate the mask requirement based on a number variables, including: vaccination rates, case numbers and transmission rates.

Here is what we need from everyone at this time:

  • Abide by the requirement and mask up indoors.
  • Get vaccinated if you have not yet done so.
  • Submit your vaccination status or exemption. Students submit your documentation to StarRez, and faculty and staff, please send it to HR@western.edu.
  • Continue prevention measures such as hand washing, social distancing and sanitizing surfaces periodically.

Western is hosting several vaccination clinics this fall:

  • August 26, Paul Wright Gymnasium parking lot, 12-6 p.m.
    • Walk-ins are welcome, however you can register online and receive more information and schedule a specific time.
  • October 7, TBA

ALSO NOTE: Vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 are not required to isolate unless they are symptomatic. Additionally, those who are vaccinated and contract the virus have been much less symptomatic and able to fight the illness more effectively.

Required COVID-19 Testing

Unvaccinated faculty, staff and students are required to test once per week for COVID-19. Those who have not submitted vaccination documentation, or requested an exemption, will be considered unvaccinated and required to test weekly. A $50 charged will be assessed to your account each week that you do not get tested.

For information on other vaccination resources in our community, please check the Gunnison County website.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Western will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Exemptions will be allowed for health, religious or other reasons.

For students, proof of vaccination or providing exemption requests will be handled through the StarRez system. Please have your vaccine record accessible when you begin the process.

To access the forms please log into StarRez and click the link on the right side of the page, “Submit Coronavirus Vaccination Record/Exemption.” From there, read the coronavirus information page, fill out your information and upload a picture of your vaccine documents. If you are requesting an exemption, you will be prompted to follow a separate set of directions.

For students under 18, you will be prompted to give your parent or family member one-time access to your account. If you choose not to give this one-time access, your parent or family member will be emailed a PDF that can be returned.

If you have any questions regarding this procedure or the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, please submit them via email to shotrecords@western.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a student experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, please call the Western COVID Hotline at 970.975.0739. Staff and faculty should contact Kim Gailey at kgailey@western.edu.

Gunnison County will update its information on its COVID-19 web page.

Gunnison County is currently using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data which also provides case counts over a weekly period. You can access that data here.

  • Regardless of vaccination status, if you are sick:
    • Off campus residents stay home and self-isolate.
    • Off-campus or on-campus resident, call Western COVID Hotline (970.975.0739)
    • Contact Gunnison Valley Health and get tested (see below for information)
  • If you are in contact with someone who is positive and you are vaccinated:
    • It is not necessary to quarantine.
    • Monitor yourself for symptoms.
    • If you become ill, follow the steps listed above.
    • Wear a mask, it is required.
  • If you are in contact with a positive and you are unvaccinated:
    • Stay home, self-isolate
      • If you are on campus and sharing a communal bathroom, you will be contacted to enter quarantine.
      • If you are on campus and living in a suite/apartment-style room, roommates will be contacted and you may or may not enter quarantine
    • Contact the Western COVID Hotline (970.975.0739)
    • Get a PCR test.

  • Contact (call or text) the Western COVID Hotline (970.975.0739)
  • COVID Response Team will:
    • Deliver meals.
    • Assist student with moving/transferring rooms as needed.
    • Provide resources to student regarding medical and mental health needs.
    • Contact professors, faculty, and Disability Services as needed.
    • Assist student in setting up a COVID-19 test.
    • In the case of quarantine, the COVID Response Team will track and assist with days quarantined, when students will be cleared, and serve as a point of contact during quarantine.
    • Assist Public Health with contact tracing.
  • The office of Student Affairs will assist students in contacting faculty & staff when needed.

COVID-19 testing

Who is required to test?

If you are unvaccinated you are required to test once per week with the non-invasive and personally administered BinaxNOW test. The test takes 15 minutes to get a result.

Where is testing performed?

Testing will occur Monday-Friday from 12-2 p.m. at the University Center Movie Theater.

What community testing options are available?

  • Gunnison County Health and Human Services: call for an appointment at 970.641.3244.
  • Gunnison Valley Hospital. Purchase a self-swab PCR test for asymptomatic people who wish to get tested. Cost: $150.
  • Peak Family Medicine and Urgent Care. You can get a rapid PCR test. Insurance will be billed. Cost can range from $95-$315. Call 970.614.5055.
  • Crested Butte, Clarks Market Pharmacy. Send out PCR testing for $99. Call 970.349.6492 for an appointment.

If I’m vaccinated but don’t feel well, can I test?

Yes. Testing is available for vaccinated people who are symptomatic.

Will the university track who is testing?

Yes. Western will keep testing information on unvaccinated individuals to ensure screening occurs weekly.

Where can I sign up for testing?

Sign up for testing at StarRez.

Western COVID Hotline. 970.975.0739
Health and Human Services (HHS). 970.641.3244

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

COVID-19 symtoms may include but are not limited to:

  • Fever over 100.4
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Unexplained Chills
  • Unexplained Cough
  • Unexplained Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained Fatigue
  • Unexplained Muscle or body aches
  • Unexplained Headache
  • Unexplained Sore throat
  • Unexplained Congestion or runny nose
  • Unexplained Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained Diarrhea


Are masked required outside?

Masks are required in indoor public spaces. Masks are not required outdoors, however anyone can choose to wear a mask outdoors for their own comfort.

Should visitors wear a mask?

We ask that all visitors wear a mask in indoor public spaces. This includes indoor sporting events.

Are masks required in residence halls?

Residence halls are considered family living units. Therefore, masks are not required.

Do I have to wear a mask at Mad Jack’s or other dining situations?

If you are actively eating or drinking, you do not need to wear a mask. Please wear a mask if you are not eating or drinking.

Are faculty required to wear masks in the classroom?

Faculty may remove their masks to lecture as long as they maintain more than six feet of distance from students.

Why is Western requiring masks when state and local health officials do not?

Our goal is to maintain in-person learning for the social-emotional health of our campus, and quality of instruction for our students. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Other health protocols

Do I need to socially distance?

Social distancing of six feet is not currently required. Please continue to wash or sanitize hands.

Where can I track COVID-19 cases?

Gunnison County keeps track of cases and divides them into age groups. It has been determined that during the school year, 90% of cases in the 18-25 age group are Western students.

Do I have to screen and report my health status?

You should monitor your health and if you don’t feel well, please stay home. If you think you may have COVID-19, get a test. Please continue to wash or sanitize your hands.

COVID-19 exposure

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact the Western COVID hotline at 970.975.0739.

If I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, do I have to isolate?

If you are vaccinated and do not have symptoms, no. Please monitor your health. If you become symptomatic, please isolate and test. If you are not vaccinated, please isolate for 10 days and monitor your health.


Must I be vaccinated?

Western requires students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated; however, exemption requests can be submitted. Please submit your vaccination documentation or exemption request through StarRez.

Who can ask me about my vaccination status?

Faculty, staff and students should not ask others about their vaccine status. It is private medical information.


Where is quarantine and how long does it take?

If there is space on campus, quarantine will take place in Moffat Hall. Off-campus quarantine may occur at two different lodging properties.

The duration of quarantine is case specific, typically ten days and will be determined with the guidance of health professionals. The determination of duration is based on numerous factors such as time since symptoms were present, date of test and date of infection.

COVID-19 relief funding for students

The CARES Act provides funds to institutions of higher education to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of university operations due to coronavirus. Details about this how this program works at Western Colorado University are available below.

Please remember that this information is subject to change given the fluid nature of this international crisis. Please check back frequently for updates.

Federal Reports –7/1/21

Required CARES Act Reporting July 1, 2021

1.  Western Colorado University received and additional allocation from the Department of Education from Section 2003(a)(1) of the ARP to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

2.    The total amount of the funds that Colorado Mesa University will receive pursuant to the Certification and Agreement is $4,148,043 of which $2,090,931 is to be utilized for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. It is expected that Western Colorado University will be able to assist 2,000+ students with these funds.

3.    As of the reporting date, Western Colorado University has issued $26,506 to 16 students.

What is the CARES Act Emergency Aid Grant?

The CARES Act provides funds to institutions of higher education to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of university operations due to coronavirus.  Western Colorado University was granted $676,760 in emergency grant funding that will be allocated directly to students in need.

Where can I apply for this grant?

The CARES Act Emergency Aid Application is available online from May 1, 2020 – May 15, 2020.

What is the processing time for these applications? When will students receive their refund if granted an award?

Western has established a committee to review the applications and recommend grant awards based on CARES Act funds available and the nature and volume of applications received. We will notify applicants of their award status as quickly as possible, and we will launch the disbursement process shortly after the May 15th application deadline.

Who is eligible for this award?

Students must have a FAFSA on file with the university to be considered for an emergency grant, as the Office of Student Financial Services uses a student’s aid application to determine eligibility for grant funding.

Per federal guidance, students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program for spring 2020 are not eligible for these grants.

Students who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA will not be considered for this award, per federal guidance.

How will students receive this money?

CARES grants will be sent directly to students who meet the eligibility criteria for the award. Emergency grants will bypass any existing balance a student may have with the university, and be sent directly to students via mailed check to the address listed on their CARES Act application.

For questions on this process, contact cares-act@western.edu

Western Colorado University is committed to keeping our faculty, staff, and students safe and to do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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