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Latest on COVID-19 and campus operations

COO Larry Sampler shares update from Health Center on expanded COVID-19 testing and holiday hours, plus a shoutout to graduates in his weekly Early Bird series.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

December 9, 2020

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

Let me start with a shoutout to our graduating Roadrunners, who will be honored at this week’s virtual Commencement. Despite the many challenges of this semester, we expect more than 1,500 graduates to join our alumni community Friday. I am proud of the work we’ve done at Metropolitan State University of Denver to keep students on track to graduation during these truly unprecedented times.

With the fall semester coming to a close, I also wanted to thank the Roadrunners Safe Return Committee for its behind-the-scenes work to keep our community healthy and informed. The Health Center at Auraria has also been an incredible partner in helping the University navigate this situation since March. As a result of that teamwork, we continue to have a relatively low positivity rate on campus of just over 4% of those tested for COVID-19. That compares favorably with a state rate of 12% and falls below the recommended not-to-exceed limit of 5%.

Thank you to the entire Roadrunner family for following the University’s health and safety protocols this semester.

State update

Colorado continues to struggle to stem the tide of this virus. According to Dec. 5 modeling from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, one of every 40 Coloradans is infected with COVID-19, the highest prevalence to date. The department also said those numbers do not yet reflect the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings and travel.

On the other hand, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel, with the CDPHE announcing it had placed the state’s first order with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. That said, it is important to note that we expect that early access to the vaccine will be limited to prioritized cohorts – first responders and medical personnel – before being rolled out to the general population, likely in late spring or early summer. We also don’t want our excitement for a vaccine to undercut the urgency with which we should continue to follow public-health guidelines.

Health Center holiday hours and expanded testing

The Health Center at Auraria will close for the holiday break Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. Through Dec. 18, the center will continue to offer Auraria Campus constituents (students, faculty and staff) drive-thru COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday by appointment for individuals who have symptoms. Flu shots are also available by appointment through Dec. 18. Call 303-615-9999 to schedule either service. 

The Health Center will reopen Jan. 4. COVID-19 drive-thru testing will resume Jan. 11, using a new expanded process for scheduling. This new process will include testing for asymptomatic individuals (those without symptoms) and symptomatic individuals (those with symptoms). During the week of Jan. 4-8, the campus community will be informed of the new procedure for scheduling COVID-19 testing.

Summary of important dates:

  • Dec. 18 - Last COVID-19 drive-thru session for 2020.
  • Dec. 23 - Health Center at Auraria closes at 5 p.m. for the holiday break.
  • Jan. 4 - Health Center at Auraria reopens at 8 a.m. after the holiday break.
  • Jan. 4-8 - New scheduling process for COVID-19 testing announced to the campus community.
  • Jan. 11 - Auraria Campus COVID-19 drive-thru testing reopens for asymptomatic and symptomatic testing.

If you need medical care during the holidays, the Health Center advises to consult your insurance provider or go to When drive-thru testing is not available at the Health Center, the following link will provide testing locations in metro Denver:

As always, if you have questions or concerns about our Safe Return to Campus, please reach out through this form or via email at Thanks for reading.


Larry Sampler

Vice President for Administration, Finance and Facilities and Chief Operating Officer

Topics: Administration, Health, Safety

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