The latest on Covid-19 and campus operations
Why MSU Denver suspended testing for unvaccinated students, how to get KN95 masks, Covid-19 Dashboard update.
January 27, 2022
Over the past two weeks, Metropolitan State University of Denver has made several significant changes to our health and safety requirements.
MSU Denver health and safety protocol currently requires:
- All students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated and boosted.
- Masking indoors.
- All members of the campus community to self-monitor for symptoms, get tested if symptomatic or exposed and stay home when sick.
If you have not already, get your booster as soon as possible at the Health Center at Auraria or one of more than 1,000 other providers across the state.
Student vaccination status will be automatically verified through the Colorado Immunization Information System. No action is needed unless contacted directly via MSU Denver email with further instructions. Information on the student compliance process is available at healthcenter1.com/immunization-requirement/. Click “Covid-19 Compliance Process.”
More information on employee vaccination verification and compliance processes will be available shortly via email and the Safe Return website.
Why MSU Denver suspended screening testing of unvaccinated students
In response to questions from the University community about this decision, I wanted to speak to it more directly. I also shared more background on this protocol shift in the recent President’s Cabinet meeting, and I encourage you to watch the recording for more information and public-health rationale.
On a high level: The decision was made in consultation with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment:
- Because the Omicron variant is as likely to be transmitted among the vaccinated as the unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, screening testing of only the unvaccinated is rendered ineffective in mitigating the spread of the disease.
- To maximize testing availability for symptomatic and exposed individuals with the greatest health risk.
Diving deeper: When Covid-19 first hit, everyone was at risk and an abundance of caution was necessary and appropriate. As we understood and gained some control over the virus, we were able to move from decisions such as the total closure of campus to reopening with protective measures.
Vaccines, while imperfect, have been a game-changer. They are remarkably effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization and limiting the spread. They shifted the public-health focus to two groups of people: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
Before the Omicron variant, screening testing of unvaccinated people provided real-time information about Covid-19 infection among this population, which was more likely to transmit the virus. Since the spread of Omicron, however, the threat of transmission is no longer limited to the unvaccinated.
From a public-health perspective, screening testing of the unvaccinated no longer makes sense. In consultation with the City of Denver, State of Colorado and Health Center at Auraria, MSU Denver has redirected its limited testing resources to people who are symptomatic or who have been exposed. This decision does not make our community less safe. Even if we had unlimited testing resources, the University still would have moved to this new testing protocol.
I hope we have earned your trust thus far by being honest and transparent about how we make these decisions. These are not easy decisions. We do not make them lightly, and we seek input from a broad range of campus constituents and professionals within the community.
Thank you to the University’s data-and-analytics professionals for their continued work on developing a new iteration of the Covid-19 Dashboard. As our protocols have shifted and we do not yet have employee booster information, the new dashboard model remains in development. We are working to reexamine the data to ensure that it best informs public-health information and decision-making. Thank you all for your patience as we work on making this information transparent and available.
Several of you have asked why MSU Denver is not distributing KN95 masks to everyone for free, as is the case at the University of Colorado Boulder. Universities such as CU Boulder have a significant number of students in residence, which changes their decision-making dynamic.
Early on in the masking conversation, MSU Denver decided not to become the primary source of personal protective equipment for our community. We have, however, secured a relatively small number of KN95 masks from the State of Colorado, which we will distribute to individuals who forgot or have lost their mask while on campus.
If the leadership of a particular department would like to have some of these masks in their office, please have one representative from your department or office email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, anyone can stop by the Jordan Student Success Building welcome desk to pick up a single mask for the day.
Sign up for public-safety alerts
RAVE alerts are how the Auraria Higher Education Center Public Safety team lets members of the campus community know about important and timely events or incidents on campus. These emergency communication alerts work only if you’re registered for the service. To register, or to review and/or update your information, visit www.getrave.com/login/MSUDenver. Log in using your MSU Denver email address and password.
Now that many of us are back on campus, it’s incumbent on each of us to secure our personal and University property. The Auraria Campus Police Department recommends the following:
- Always lock your workspace, office and desk.
- Do not leave anything of value unsecured and unattended.
- Check your work area for evidence of tampering or theft.
- Make sure that no one is left inside a secure area when the authorized individuals leave.
- Make sure that all doors (access points) are locked and secure when the authorized individuals leave.
- Report suspicious behavior to the Auraria Campus Police Department.
- Immediately report any crime.
- Save the contact information for ACPD on your personal phone: The number is 303-556-5000.
- If you would like to text ACPD at the Text-A-Tip line, that number is 720-593-TIPS (8477)
As always, thank you all for acting responsibly and with compassion for others to keep our campus community safe.
Larry Sampler, vice president for Administration
Topics: Administration, Health, SafetyEdit this page