BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at the University of Colorado-Boulder are reconnecting and some are disregarding COVID-19 safety guidelines, which could lead to spread of the virus. To see college age students partying on a weekend is normal, but these are not normal times.

(credit: Miles Levin)

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Pictures were taken by CU senior Miles Levin who was was upset by what he found.

“There are no masks and 30 or more students,” he said, describing some of his photos, one of which shows a large group gathered with social distancing appearing to be largely ignored.

“I feel frustrated, sad and disappointed,” Levin said.

(credit: Miles Levin)

The university has taken many steps to allow students to study on campus while preventing the spread of the virus. All are required to wear masks inside and outside. But the pictures seem to fly in the face of COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Chana Goussetis, spokeswoman for the Boulder County Health Department told CBS4, “I have no doubt that there will be an increase in the number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and possible deaths because of these gatherings.”

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Some members of the younger generation CBS4 spoke with on The Hill, the campus entertainment district in Boulder, are calling for balance.

“If students are just locked in their dorms with one roommate there is got to be a lot of depression,” one recent graduate said.

“Honestly, they should be wearing masks and doing it responsibly, but it’s better than being in a dorm room by themselves,” another said.

(credit: Miles Levin)

Goussetis called the actions “incredibly dangerous.” She said they will try an educational campaign to try to deter such actions. University of Colorado-Boulder Dean of Students JB Banks said they have been meeting with people on The Hill to try to discourage large gatherings and lack of social distancing. He said the code of conduct has been updated and students face penalties that start low, but could lead to suspensions.

On Thursday, Akirah J. Bradley, EdD, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at CU Boulder, sent a letter to students that reads in part, “For many of us, the excitement of starting a new academic year has also brought a level of uncertainty and stress as we continue to navigate around a global pandemic. To our students who are following health and safety protocols, thank you! I know it’s been challenging as we reunite with friends and classmates. I appreciate your ongoing decision to do the right thing by wearing a face covering, avoiding large gatherings and keeping each other safe.

“To those of you who are choosing to disregard health and safety guidelines, this is a formal notice. This reckless behavior is putting the campus experience and everyone’s health at risk. Therefore, I want to make sure you are aware of the potential impacts to your educational experience. If you violate a public health order and the violation is connected to attending a party, you will be excluded from campus for at least two weeks and you may be suspended. Multiple violations will result in suspension, which means you’ll be automatically withdrawn from classes and barred from access to campus resources.”

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The entire letter, including violations and sanctions, has been published online.

Rick Sallinger