Start your Spring 2021 semester off right

January 11, 2021


The spring semester will kick off soon and now is the time for all of us to think about how we keep ourselves and our community as safe as possible. Attending Fort Lewis College during a global pandemic is not without risks but we proved in the fall that if we adhere to our values of K’é (kinship and caring) and follow our pillars of mitigation (masks, distancing, and hygiene), we can come together to learn, grow, and support each other.

While there is light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll need to be even more careful that we take care of ourselves and each other in the coming months. The virus remains a serious risk. Widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is not expected until early summer. What you do right now—avoiding gatherings, wearing a mask, monitoring your own symptoms—will give us the best opportunity for sustained in-person learning.

Please carefully review the following information to prepare for the start of our semester. This email is the first of many communications you’ll be seeing in the coming weeks; keep an eye out for more emails from campus leadership about health and academic information, as well as social media and website updates.

Start limiting your contacts and test for COVID-19 now

To ensure a successful start to our in-person semester, start limiting your personal contacts now to reduce your exposure to COVID-19 and decrease the potential of you spreading the disease to the FLC and Durango communities.

We recommend you double-down on your COVID-19 tests. If you have access to a local testing site, or can easily travel to the FLC testing site, test for COVID-19 now. That way you can take appropriate measures to stay negative for COVID-19 before taking the mandatory test at FLC in a couple weeks.

Mandatory testing

Every student and employee will be required to complete a COVID-19 test before participating in in-person instruction. Additionally, students and employees are required to participate in mandatory random testing throughout the semester.

More information about required testing will be emailed in the coming days.

Safety Protocols

There were no cases of classroom virus transmission in the fall; we want to continue the protocols that led to this safety:

  • Symptom check each morning on the FLC App.
  • Masks are required in all indoor spaces, and while traveling through centralized outdoor areas of campus. Face shields may be worn as an additional layer of protection but are not a replacement for masks. Buffs, neck gaiters, and bandanas are not permitted as masks.
  • Keep six feet of physical distance from others, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Clean surfaces at the start of each class and use QR codes for contact tracing.
  • Take advantage of free COVID-19 testing and comply with mandatory testing. 
  • If employees or students do not comply with mandatory testing or mask-wearing, they will not be allowed to access campus. 


  • Classes will start with one online meeting on Thursday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 29 to allow for employees and students to receive test results before we meet for in-person instruction.
  • In-person instruction begins Feb. 1.

Campus services

Student support offices are all available now virtually; we'll share more opening details closer to the start of the semester.

  • Your one-stop student services office, Skyhawk Station, is working virtually and will start limited in-person services on January 18. If you have questions about registering for Spring classes, go to the Registration homepage for tutorial videos showing you how to register, information about drop-in sessions, and links to one-on-one appointments.

 Upcoming Town Hall

As you start to plan for the spring semester, I want you to also reflect on the events of the last week. I began 2021 with a sense of optimism that was momentarily shaken by the violent attacks on the Capitol (see my full statement here). Fort Lewis College prides itself on mutual understanding, respect, and the pursuit of knowledge. The events at the Capitol and the violent attempt to disrupt a Constitutionally mandated process should reaffirm how critically understanding the world around you is as important as ever. As we saw last week, misinformation reaps distrust and can even sow acts of violence. Fort Lewis College’s commitment to learning and personal growth is essential to health of our democratic system.

I can’t wait to see you on campus and engage with you in the most critical issues of the day.

Best, Tom

Tom Stritikus
Fort Lewis College