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Latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

COO Larry Sampler gives an update on campus safety and announces upcoming Listening Sessions to gather campus feedback on Safe Return to Campus efforts.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

January 6, 2021

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

Happy New Year! As I write this on Jan. 1, 2021, I (perhaps like many of you) am happy to see the end of 2020, which proved to be a tumultuous and challenging year. As we begin a new year and a new semester at Metropolitan State University of Denver, I’d like to discuss the continued need for safety, community and communication.

Following yesterday's violence at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the Auraria Campus Police Department and the Auraria Campus institutions are closely monitoring any potential activities in Denver. At this time, police have not recommended a change in our operating status nor to close the campus. We will continue to monitor the situation. If we decide to close the campus or make other operational changes, we will notify the entire campus community via email.  

Turn challenges into opportunities

Even during these trying times, it is valuable to identify new opportunities to support employees, serve students, enrich our community and reemerge from the Covid-19 crisis better and stronger.

University leadership is taking several steps to ensure that we identify and seize every opportunity to build back better from the impacts of this past year. Beginning Jan. 13, students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to participate in a series of future-focused virtual Listening Sessions. Together with interim Provost Bill Henry, Ph.D., and Cathy Lucas, vice president for Strategy and External Affairs, I will host these inclusive sessions to give Roadrunners a chance to share ideas and feedback as MSU Denver continues to plan for a Safe Return to Campus and post-Covid-19 operations.

Please mark your calendars to attend at least one of the following Zoom sessions.

Safety and prevention remain top priorities

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Covid-19 vaccines is an exciting and positive development, and the Auraria Campus looks forward to serving as an official Point of Dispensing. However, I am reminded of the old the admonition that “the light at the end of that tunnel might just be an oncoming train.” Until the vast majority of Roadrunners and members of the tri-institutional community have received vaccinations, we cannot relax our vigilance or our preventive measures.

As we all eagerly work to emerge from the shadows of this virus and the turmoil of the past year, I implore all Roadrunners to remain focused and attentive. Even with our best preventive efforts, some epidemiologists predict a difficult winter with respect to the virus. Additionally, the schedules for vaccinating Coloradans suggest that we will need to continue properly wearing face coverings such as masks and shields, washing our hands, maintaining social distancing and limiting exposure to those outside of our immediate households at least into the summer.

Stay connected and compassionate

As we enter a new year and redouble our efforts to emerge from Covid-19 better and stronger, we must also acknowledge the suffering that so many Roadrunners endured in 2020: the loss of life, jobs and income; physical- and mental-health challenges; and the freedom to travel, socialize and see our loved ones.

These consequences of the disease were, for the most part, beyond our control. However, I encourage all Roadrunners to instead focus on the things we can control – namely, finding new ways to serve and support one another. Begin this year by listening better, being kinder to one another and focusing on being the change you’d like to see in your community. I know each of us can find a way to make this difficult time better for someone. And that, as much as anything, is what citizenship and servant-leadership is all about.

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

Welcome back for spring 2021. Go, Roadrunners!


Larry Sampler

Vice president for Administration, Finance and Facilities and chief operating officer

Topics: Community, Events, Health, Inclusion, Inclusive leadership, Safety, Save the date

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