Dear Roadrunners, 

I hope you’re enjoying the last couple of days of spring break. While I don’t have a lot to report, I do want to reiterate how MSU Denver is working to keep Roadrunners safe and informed when it comes to public health decision-making and more generally as well. I hope you’ll read to the end of this article for a paragraph on how you can help ensure the cyber security of our University IT systems.  

New variant 

MSU Denver continues to monitor the BA.2, or “stealth,” variant, which is a subvariant of Omicron that has been gaining traction in China and has entered the United States. BA.2’s unique genetic structure means it more easily evades detection in rapid tests, but it has been detected in Colorado through wastewater testing.   

Additionally, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state’s seven-day average positivity rate is 2.69% as of Tuesday. While Coloradans continue to get vaccinated, the state is still experiencing new cases, outbreaks and deaths.  

Boosted is best 

As many parts of the country and world are experiencing rising cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advocate for boosters: 

“Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all continue to decrease in the United States. According to CDC’s Covid Data Tracker, as of March 16, 2022, 76.7% of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 65.3% has completed their primary series. However, only about half of the booster-eligible population has received a booster dose and is considered up to date on their Covid-19 vaccines.” 

A CDC study also shows that, among adults hospitalized with Covid-19 during the Delta and Omicron waves, those who received two or three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine had 90-95% less risk of dying or needing a ventilator compared with adults who were not vaccinated.  

“These studies emphasize the importance of staying up to date with vaccinations — they are our best protection against severe Covid-19 illness. Vaccination is also the safest way to reduce the chance that new variants will emerge,” the CDC concluded. 

Stay tuned 

Considering these trends and data, MSU Denver will continue to seek guidance from local, state and federal public-health officials. As I’ve said before, should the Covid-19 situation worsen locally, MSU Denver may need to reinstate certain health and safety protocols. Conversely, should the situation continue to stabilize and improve, the University will review current protocols and policies and consider next steps. All changes will be clearly and promptly communicated to the University community. 

For now, thank you all for acting respectfully and responsibly by continuing to carry a mask with you and to mask when asked.   

Other reminders and resources: 

And finally, as if Covid weren’t enough of a problem for us all to still be dealing with, in a statement released by the White House on Monday, President Joe Biden shared warnings of potential cyberattacks related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cybersecurity professionals share this concern and are warning that organizations should be in a state of “shields up” to reduce the risk of potential cyberattacks.   

MSU Denver’s IT Services teams have implemented a cybersecurity framework that provides multiple layers of protection, but one of the key resources we have is the “human firewall.” By adhering to University security policies and following the best practices outlined in the University’s EverFi security awareness training, each of us can do our part to protect University data and resources.   

If you have not yet completed the mandatory annual security awareness training, please do so as soon as possible. The link to EverFi’s training is here: EverFi Training.   

As always, be cautious when responding to emails marked as “external” and forward any suspicious emails to [email protected]. You can also contact the ITS Service Desk anytime, day or night, if you have a security concern.       

Larry Sampler 
Vice president for Administration, Finance and Facilities and chief operating officer
Roadrunners Safe Return Committee