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Our vigilant and flexible response to COVID-19

COO Larry Sampler discusses Denver’s latest health orders, changes to Safe Return website and more in weekly Early Bird series.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

October 21, 2020

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

If you’re a regular news watcher, then you’ve heard about COVID-19 cases rising across the country. While the numbers can feel alarming, I think it is important to remember that we’ve known for some time that cases would increase this fall. That trend, however, is a good reminder that we must continue to be vigilant in monitoring the virus and flexible in our response to it. The situation is fluid in so many ways, and we’re constantly working with our partners at the Auraria Higher Education Center and at the city and state levels to adapt as necessary.

Our team at Metropolitan State University of Denver has done a good job this fall of containing the spread of the virus on campus. We’ve avoided any major outbreaks, and we continue to track every case reported to us, taking the necessary actions to keep our community members healthy and safe. Aside from essential employees and those involved with face-to-face classes, we are still not asking our employees to come back to campus right now. That said, for those who need to be on campus either for a few hours or on a regular basis, we do have processes and protocols in place to make that possible.  We are empowering each supervisor to work with their teams to determine who, if anyone, needs to return to campus for business or personal reasons. The recurring-return-to-campus process is intended to guide supervisors, while ensuring that offices remain below a 50% capacity level and employees adhere to health protocols.      

City’s latest health orders

Last Friday, Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment responded to the growing number of cases in the city by issuing some additional health measures that require people to wear face coverings in more settings and reduce the number of people at gatherings. My team reviewed the new guidelines, particularly as they relate to classroom and athletics events, and determined that we are already in full compliance. The measures did provide additional clarification relevant to our Athletics program, stating that student-athletes do not need to wear masks while practicing.    

Changes coming to Safe Return website

The Roadrunners Safe Return committee is partnering with the Strategy, Marketing and Communications team to upgrade the Safe Return website. The project will emphasize the user experience and the organization of content so it is easier to find and share the most relevant information. Stay tuned to the Early Bird for updates on this project, which will take place over the next few weeks.

Email signature

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to use our Safe Return to Campus signature line in your email. The custom signature line offers an easy, impactful way to spread the word about our health and safety protocols. You can find step-by-step instructions for adding a signature line on the Brand Central webpage.

Thank you for reading. I’ll continue to share these brief updates every week. If you have a question or topic you’d like to see addressed in this column or by the RSR committee, please reach out through this form or via email at


Larry Sampler

Vice president for Administration and Finance and chief operating officer

Topics: Administration, Health, Safety

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