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Latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

COO Larry Sampler discusses state and campus vaccination plans and updated health and safety protocols.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

February 11, 2021

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners,

Last week, the Roadrunners Safe Return Steering Committee conducted a kickoff briefing for representatives from the Faculty and Staff Senates, Councils of Deans and Chairs and Student Government Assembly. Recognizing these groups as part of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s inclusive-leadership and shared-governance structures, I and fellow committee members challenged these representatives to consider several critical questions with regard to our vaccine rollout:

  1. If and when it comes time for the Covid-19 vaccine point of distribution (POD) at the Auraria Higher Education Center to establish guidelines for “essential front-line workers” (which is ill-defined at the moment), how should we proceed?  Who should be included? What should be the priorities among that group?
  2. Given that there will likely be leftover vaccines at the end of each day, how should we decide to whom they should be given? 
  3. What other questions or issues have we not thought of that you think are important (e.g., “Should we require the vaccine on campus” once it/they are approved beyond the Emergency Use Authorization?)?

I can’t thank the leaders of those bodies enough for helping make this conversation possible, and I appreciate all who shared their ideas and insights. It’s critical that we keep open communication at the core of this effort.

Mask update

Roadrunners must continue to wear a mask at all times on campus when in the presence of others. Please note that MSU Denver’s mask protocols have changed:

  • Bandannas and buffs are not acceptable face coverings.
  • Face shields may be added with a mask but cannot be used alone unless medically approved by the Health Center at Auraria.
  • While teaching, faculty members may wear face shields if they can maintain a minimum distance of 12 feet from students during class. Once lecturing has concluded, the faculty member needs to wear a mask.

Denver moves to Level Yellow

On Feb. 6, Denver County moved its Covid-19 dial to level yellow, reducing certain restrictions on indoor dining, office capacity, group sports and more. Watch for a communication early next week on how this change will affect MSU Denver operations. In the meantime, please note that Level Yellow still dictates that citizens are advised to stay at home and that no more than 10 people from no more than two households can gather.

The University Events team has also modified the events protocol to reflect Denver’s Level Yellow status. Please see this week’s Early Bird article for more information about distancing, capacity and submitting your event application.

POD update

While the Auraria Campus is eager to begin serving as a Point of Distribution for the Covid-19 vaccine, vaccine remains in short supply. We have placed our first order, but there is a possibility that that order may not be filled or filled to our full request. If the Auraria Campus POD does secure vaccines, employees ages 70 years and older will begin receiving their first doses Feb. 22. I want to also reiterate that if you are able to get your vaccine earlier through another source, please do so.

Later this morning, MSU Denver employees will receive the first in a series of weekly tri-institutional email updates from the Health Center at Auraria and campus executives on the vaccine-rollout process. The communication will offer more information on availability, next steps, phases and more.

Additionally, the Health Center at Auraria is maintaining thorough and comprehensive FAQs on vaccine distribution and safety. Questions such as “Can my family members also be vaccinated?” and “Is the Auraria vaccine distribution site open to the greater Denver community?” are addressed there.

Plan for fall 2021 semester

MSU Denver has a goal of offering 1,500 face-to-face classes for the fall semester and will have a definite number available in April after courses are submitted. To make this level of on-campus course delivery safe and possible, I and President Davidson again encourage all Roadrunners to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them and to continue adhering to all University Health and Safety Protocols.

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: Administration, Health, Safety

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