Dear Roadrunners, 

It’s hard to believe we are quickly approaching July. The summer has already included the approval of a new budget, great progress on our Simulation Labs project and some very productive conversations about campus safety.  

Building Access Pilot Program Update

The move to secure all exterior doors throughout the West and Central Classroom Buildings, with one designated, periodically monitored entrance in each building, has been very successful. The pilot program was instituted on Monday, June 26, and reports from faculty and staff members show minimal disruption to Roadrunner access or general building operations.  

Thank you to all employees who are supporting the pilot program by checking exterior doors for students prior to class start times, for communicating the change to your students and for taking extra laps in the hallways. We have already received feedback that will clarify signage and have submitted work orders related to improving Americans With Disabilities Act access buttons and access, so look for those changes soon.

Additionally, we plan to reduce the monitoring of the designated entrances over time, with the hope that by July 10 all Roadrunners are accessing the building via their ID badges. 

Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Auraria Higher Education Center will be collecting data to identify and understand the gap between current ID holders and individuals who need IDs. This will help the Tivoli ID Station prepare, as demand for badges may increase as we approach the fall semester. 

Update on Covid-19 vaccines and booster 

While Covid-19 is no longer an imminent threat to our campus community, I encourage all Roadrunners to support and adhere to public safety best practices: 

  • Perform a health assessment daily before coming to campus. 
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. 
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer on the way in and out of buildings. 

Additionally, it’s imperative to stay current with your Covid-19 booster shots. Thank you to the excellent team at the Health Center at Auraria for providing the following update on the availability of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. 

Will the Health Center at Auraria have Covid-19 vaccines and boosters available this fall?  

Yes. We are waiting to see what quantity is available for order through the State of Colorado as well as through commercial procurement options. The HCA can order bivalent vaccines and boosters from the State through August at no charge, but the exact allocation the Center will receive is yet to be determined. The HCA currently has about 150 doses available of the bivalent/Omicron vaccine. The commercial purchasing of the new monovalent/XBB vaccine (XXB being an Omicron subvariant) is expected to start in September, and the HCA will evaluate options and recommendations at that time.  

Who will pay for the vaccine? 

Currently, the HCA is not charging anyone for Omicron Covid-19 vaccines. This may change when/if the HCA orders the new XBB vaccines or begins to pay for the doses it orders. When that occurs, depending on cost, the HCA will have to determine whether charges will be directed to the patient, billed to insurance or otherwise. 

Will testing be available? 

Yes, testing is available. Currently, our Covid-19 testing options are: 

  • rapid in-office PCR (polymerase chain reaction) 
  • rapid in-office antigen 
  • LabCorp offerings 
  • Quest Diagnostics offerings  

The test administered depends on the patient’s insurance coverage and urgency. This is almost always the in-office Covid-19 PCR test, which also tests for Influenza A and B as well as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Results are available in as little as 45 minutes. The current billing for this test is $150, which is processed by insurance and reduced to contracted rates. As with all HCA services, self-pay patients will be offered a 50% discount and generally will pay $75 for this test. 

Will rapid tests be available?  

Yes, the rapid PCR is the default test for symptomatic patients (assuming supply remains reliable). This test also scans for Covid-19, Influenza A and B and RSV, and results are available in as little as 45 minutes. If demand increases, the HCA will likely send specimens to LabCorp/Quest or use rapid antigen tests if symptom criteria are met. 

How can I learn more? 

If you have additional questions, please contact the Health Center at Auraria website and review the Covid-19 updates page for information on signs and symptoms as well as testing and vaccination protocols. 

General reminders and updates 

  • All performance reviews must be completed by June 30. 
  • The HR and Finance teams are preparing to institute the compensation increases that were approved earlier this month by the Board of Trustees. Employees can expect an update via email later today. 
  • MSU Denver will remain open and fully operational on July 3 and will be closed July 4 to observe Independence Day. 
  • To attend the next Simulation Labs Project Design Advisory committee meeting on July 18 from 1-2 p.m., contact Martha Nelson, senior project manager for Facilities Planning, Design and Construction.

Thank you again for staying up to date on all the exciting things happening at MSU Denver.       

Larry Sampler, chief operating officer, vice president for Administration