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The latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

COO Larry Sampler discusses the strong start to the fall semester, handling masking issues and more.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

September 23, 2021

Larry Sampler

Dear Roadrunners, 

We have made it through a month of classes, and unlike last fall, we can enjoy seeing friends and colleagues in person. I am proud of everyone who has stepped up to get vaccinated, who has worn a mask and who has sacrificed a bit of personal comfort for the safety and well-being of their fellow students or colleagues.  

Colorado is handling the pandemic better than many places around the country. Denver has lower Covid rates than the statewide numbers, and the Auraria community is doing even better than that.

  • Crucially, there have been no linked cases of transmission in classroom settings, and we’ve seen no evidence of disease transmission in the approximately 500 unvaccinated students who have been quarantined as “close contacts” during the first four weeks of the fall semester.
  • Since classes started a month ago, 600 students who were initially unvaccinated have chosen to get a vaccine.

We continue to actively gather data and refine systems, policies and procedures and are using the lessons learned to look at next spring. We will continue to strive to be as inclusive and transparent as we possibly can while making tough decisions, balancing our academic mission and the imperative to keep people safe.


Mask noncompliance protocol

As a reminder, recommended protocol around student mask noncompliance is available in the Safe Return Faculty Staff Guide. 

  • Do politely remind students of the requirements: “As a reminder, we all are required to wear face coverings when inside campus buildings.”
  • Do share information to help students comply: “If you forgot your mask today, you can pick one up for no cost at the JSSB Welcome Desk.”
  • Do thank students for their compliance: “Thank you for helping to keep our community safe. We appreciate your willingness to follow the expectations.”
    NOTE: If a student was initially noncompliant but complies when asked, no further action is needed.
  • Do not engage in any sort of altercation with a student (or others) who expresses disagreement with the requirements. Walk away if the student becomes agitated.
  • Do follow up with the Dean of Students Office to file an incident report.


Faculty Affairs Wellness Conversation:

Sept. 30, 4-5 p.m. in JSSB 400

Don’t forget, that the Office of Faculty Affairs is facilitating a discussion on the challenges that supervisors face from the return to campus. To facilitate conversation, attendees are encouraged to attend in person. Please RSVP by Tuesday.

While the fall semester is in full swing, there are months to go. Let’s foster our ability to stay together and take care of one another by following required health protocols, including wearing a mask and staying home when you are sick.

For any questions not addressed on the website, please contact Thank you again for your hard work in supporting our safe return to campus. 



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

Topics: Administration, Health, Health Center at Auraria, Safety

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