Dear Roadrunners, 

For almost two years, Denver and the Auraria Campus have been reacting and responding to Covid-19. While we aren’t yet out of the woods, I am cautiously optimistic that our careful, community-minded decision-making is paying off.  

Promising data 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted Wednesday that the country is now experiencing an average of 147,000 new Covid-19 cases daily, marking a 40% drop from the previous week. Nationwide, hospitalizations are also down approximately 28%, with average daily death rates down roughly 9%. Additionally, more than 3.9 million Coloradans (over 68%) are fully immunized against Covid-19. Here in Denver County, our vaccination rate is more than 88%. 

These improvements prompted the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment to allow its mask mandate in schools and child-care facilities to expire at midnight Feb. 24, and multiple metro Denver counties have already ended their mandates. At MSU Denver, we’ve deliberately taken our time to reevaluate masking requirements, a topic I explored in more depth last week. 

While these data certainly are encouraging, let’s not forget that Covid-19, particularly the Omicron variant, remains very present in our community. People are still being impacted by this virus: 

  • Within Denver County, community transmission is rated “High.”  
  • Denver County’s case-positivity rate stands at 210 per 100,000, with 1,529 active cases as of Wednesday. 
  • The Health Center at Auraria has seen a resurgence of seasonal respiratory illnesses such as the cold, flu and strep throat. 

We must consider our hospital capacity and resources, the health and safety of our more vulnerable community members and our ability to deliver a safe, equitable and accessible learning-and-working experience. 


Share feedback on masking 

That said, the University continues to gather input from all stakeholders regarding our indoor masking mandate, which remains in place.  

I’ve invited leaders at all levels to speak with their teams, I invite you to provide feedback on masking protocols and potential next steps by emailing [email protected]. Your responses will be very valuable as we continue to work with our tri-institutional partners to develop consistent and aligned guidance. Any changes to our masking policy or any other Covid-19-related policies will be promptly and clearly communicated to our campus community. 


Additional news: 

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