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Announcing COVID-19 dashboard

COO Larry Sampler discusses cases on campus, spring 2021 and support for employees in weekly Early Bird series.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

October 14, 2020

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

I hope this email finds each of you doing well in Week 9 of the fall 2020 semester at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Since my last Early Bird column on the University’s response to Denver’s public-health orders, many states have seen increases in positive COVID-19 cases. The latest updates from the scientific community suggest this virus will be with us for many months to come.   

As President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., noted in her recent email on the spring 2021 semester, that means we will likely need to learn to operate safely with the virus long before the threat is entirely gone. To make that happen, we will continue to build on the work we’ve already done, using the latest guidance from public-health experts and working closely with city and state officials to adjust health and safety protocols as needed. 

Spring 2021 plan

For the spring semester, the Roadrunners Safe Return committee has worked hard to find ways to offer more courses on campus while maintaining the highest possible standards for health and safety. As of right now, our plan is to have two phases of in-person course offerings. The first will start in January and run through the normal spring-semester schedule. In that phase, we will have approximately 430 in-person sections meeting on campus, which is about 14% of our total offerings. The second phase will begin in March with the aim of getting as many additional classes as possible back on campus.

We anticipate that most nonessential employees will continue to work remotely to start the spring semester, with employees who want to be back on campus able to request access through this process. We will, however, continue to evaluate our operations as we get closer to spring to ensure that we are best serving our students.

COVID-19 dashboard

This week, we launched a COVID-19 dashboard with real-time info on the number of positive cases reported to and diagnosed at the Health Center at Auraria since the start of the fall semester. This basic dashboard also includes the number of positive cases in the past week as well as the number of COVID-19 tests performed by the Health Center overall. This tool is intended to provide transparency to the Roadrunner community but also to demonstrate the relative success we have had in preventing the spread of the virus compared with many of our peer universities. I ask that you continue to encourage all Roadrunners to report positive cases to the Health Center so we can help faculty, staff and students get the support they need to recover.

Support for faculty and staff

As I hope is clear from the information above, we are working every day to take care of our Roadrunners. You are the backbone of this University, and we couldn’t do our work without you. With that in mind, we continue to provide the most pertinent information in the Early Bird. I wanted to make sure you’d seen this story on mental-health resources for employees. This year has been full of new challenges and stressors, and it’s important to know that there is always support available for members of our Roadrunner family.

Also this week, we provided additional guidance for faculty and staff on reporting known positive COVID-19 cases. This is a topic that has come up a lot, and we wanted to make sure you have very clear instructions for reporting. We also shared this story on free face shields that are now available for faculty members teaching on campus this semester or who anticipate doing so in the spring. We’re providing free lanyards as well to make it easier to display your University ID badge while on campus.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have questions about anything noted in this column, please reach out through this form or via email at I’ll be in touch next week.


Larry Sampler

Vice president for Administration and Finance and chief operating officer

Topics: Community, Health, Inclusion, Inclusive leadership, Safety

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