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Latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

An update on air quality, events and health protocols and how to get involved with the Roadrunners Safe Return Committee.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

April 22, 2021

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

As Metropolitan State University of Denver gets closer to the summer and fall semesters, questions continue to arise from members of the campus community regarding the safety of classroom and office spaces, especially as the state has retired the Covid-19 dial and eased certain mask-wearing requirements. These state-level changes have also resulted in modest updates to MSU Denver’s Required Health Protocols, which were developed to protect the health and safety of all Roadrunners.

MSU Denver Required Health Protocols

  • Perform a health assessment daily before coming to campus. 
    • Do not come to campus if you have any symptoms and/or are not feeling well. Consult a medical professional if symptoms persist.  
  • Masks are not required outdoors but are still encouraged in outdoor settings. Take extra precaution around groups of people outdoors when you are unsure of others’ vaccination status.
  • Masks are required when indoors.
    • Bandannas and neck gaiters are not acceptable face coverings.
    • While teaching, faculty members may wear face shields if they can maintain a minimum of 12 feet from students during class. Once lecturing has concluded, the faculty member needs to wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently.  
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet when indoors. 
  • Comply with all posted campus signage.  

Facilities updates

Thank you to the Department of Facilities team for developing a detailed and comprehensive document outlining FAQs and general information on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, sanitization and cleaning in MSU Denver-owned and Auraria Higher Education Center-shared spaces. Please visit the Safe Return to Campus website to view this document in full.

HVAC efficiency

MSU Denver and the Auraria Higher Education Center continue to work closely to ensure that building systems are operating at full occupancy levels even though traffic on campus has been greatly reduced. While we cannot decrease the risk of Covid-19 contraction to zero, our goal is to reduce the risk as much as possible by combining our Required Health Protocols with high levels of air filtration and ample ventilation.  

To the extent feasible within the constraints of existing HVAC systems, adjustments have been implemented following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices to increase building safety while minimizing unintended consequences to equipment. For example, our air-exchange rate is an important metric that refers to the number of times air is replaced in each room every hour. Currently, we are achieving eight to 12 air exchanges per hour. A rate of 10 exchanges per hour will result in a 99% removal of airborne contaminants in 28 minutes.

Following CDC guidance, we also have increased the filtration ratings of our air filters from MERV-8 to MERV-13. The higher rating will improve indoor air quality by trapping harmful particulates in the outside and recirculated air. MERV-13-rated filters are commonly used in industrial or medical facilities with specific air-quality concerns. Denser filtration has resulted in more frequent filter changes because the MERV-13 filters capture more particulates and fill more quickly.

If you are in an area of campus where the air feels stagnant, please contact, and we will investigate as quickly as possible.


Plexiglass is not planned for any spaces or locations on the campus, with the exception of customer-facing transaction-counter-type locations where members of our campus community may be subject to increased contact with members of the general public.

No plexiglass is being considered for offices. In alignment with our planned return to normal operations, plexiglass installed for use in classrooms and labs during the summer semester is planned to be removed prior to the start of the fall semester. Units with customer-facing locations that fall under the exception described above may send requests to

Air purifiers

The University is not providing air purifiers for any space on campus. Portable filters are not a substitute for properly worn face coverings, which are the best way to reduce the risk of virus transmission indoors.

Join the RSR Committee

Finally, I encourage anyone who is interested in joining or supporting the Roadrunners Safe Return committee to submit your information and area of interest.

Please continue to watch the Early Bird and your email for more communications about the summer and fall semesters. As always, if you have questions or concerns about our Safe Return to Campus, please reach out through this form or via email at


Larry Sampler

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

Topics: Health, Safety

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