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Safe Return to Campus operations update

COO Larry Sampler shares latest on spring-semester planning in biweekly Early Bird series.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

September 16, 2020

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

We’re halfway through September, and the fall semester continues to go very well. I regularly visit with Roadrunners in offices and departments across campus and have heard lots of positive feedback.

While we continue to monitor our progress this fall, we’ve been working hard on spring 2021 planning as well. President Davidson is going to share more details on how that plan is shaping up at the President’s Welcome Back address at 10 a.m. tomorrow. I encourage each of you to tune in for that.

From an operational point of view, I would offer a few highlights on the planning process. Based on what we’ve learned this semester, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to safely bring back to campus more of our students, faculty and staff in the spring. To that end, the Roadrunners Safe Return Committee is analyzing campus to see how we can maximize learning spaces to accommodate more people, while strictly adhering to health protocols. Our goal is to be able to offer more in-person Tier 2 (those we have flagged as preferable in a face-to-face format) and lower-division general-studies courses, while continuing to enhance and improve our online offerings in all areas as well. In short, we expect the spring will likely look a lot like this semester but, if possible, with more sections on campus.     

The RSR team is also helping facilitate a series of surveys for students, faculty and staff that will gather data about stakeholders’ experiences this semester and gauge their comfort level for returning in the spring. That information will inform decisions made by University leaders. Of course, we will continue to track the latest updates on the virus as well because as President Davidson says, “The virus gets a vote.” Our aim is to make an official spring announcement in mid-October, as we need to have our course-offerings schedule updated by that time. We will continue to keep you as informed as possible every step of the way. 

One other item of note is the Student Town Hall that happened Tuesday. Thank you to Student Government Assembly President Braeden Weart and Dean of Students Braelin Pantel, Ph.D., for leading the charge in making sure students have a voice and that their concerns are addressed. The virtual event featured experts from the Health Center at Auraria and Academic Affairs, among others. A video of the event will be available today on the Student Hub for Roadrunners who might have missed it.  

I’ll share my next update in two weeks. Until then, continue to watch the Safe Return to Campus website for the latest.


Larry Sampler
Vice president for Administration and Finance and chief operating officer

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