Nov 20, 2020 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Tia Vierling | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown life at Colorado College into unexplored realms that students are still growing accustomed to – especially when it comes to the college’s newly-introduced CC Alert Levels. While the CC Alert Levels are technically different than El Paso County’s levels, the recommendations provided by both should be followed in tandem instead of separately. But what does each CC Alert Level mean for active life on campus? What facilities and resources are available at each level?

Level 1 has become typical of day-to-day CC living. In effect when positive cases are at less than five people per week, at this level students are expected to socially distance and engage in risk mitigation measures but are still permitted to use campus facilities, including the Ritt Kellogg climbing gym, Adam F. Press Fitness Center, and other resources (though these resources remain at below half capacity). Outdoor facilities such as the track and the tennis courts are available. At Level 1, on-campus students are discouraged from traveling off-campus; while there is no distinct clarification for off-campus activities in isolated locations, it seems that in accordance with risk mitigation, socially distanced or solitary outdoor activities such as hiking and biking may be permissible.

Level 2 comes into play when the college is experiencing five to 10 new cases weekly. At this point, social interactions are to be limited to those that are “academically necessary,” indicating that access to the gym and other indoor recreation facilities may be limited. Time outdoors is allowed and provides an opportunity for active life outdoors, so long as adequate social distancing and mask-wearing protocols are followed.

At Level 3, every class is moved to a 100% remote format and students are asked to “stay in their living area.” For some students, this would be their dorm floor, while for others it might be an apartment or small house living space. While outdoor time is still allowed at this point, indicating that outdoor exercise is acceptable, this activity should be focused and may be limited. With cold weather quickly approaching as a factor in outdoor activity, students should be careful of ice, snow, and wearing the proper layers for outside time at any point when the outdoors are the only option for active life.

Level 4 is the most stringent of the CC Alert Levels, becoming applicable to campus living only if more than 20 new cases are reported in a week. At Level 4, students are asked to stay in their rooms in a “temporary quarantine;” at this time, “guidance for outdoor time will be provided.” While this is not entirely clear, based on quarantines early in the year in which students were asked not to exercise during outdoor time, outdoor access restrictions may be the case. Students should prepare for the possibility of doing small-space exercises in their dorm room or apartment.

As the weather gets colder and what some news outlets are calling the “third wave” of the pandemic arises, it is the responsibility of students living on campus to be aware of the CC Alert Levels and act with care. While it is important to maintain an active lifestyle, the levels themselves may impact the resources available to students for physical activity. More clarification for the resources available at each level may be forthcoming, but for the time being, students should know the general expectations of each level and how they may impact activity. The pandemic is causing rapid change; students need to be flexible enough to match it.

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