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April 28, 2021
Jared Polis and Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, issued a statement of support Tuesday for Covid-19 vaccination requirements, signaling their expectation that colleges and universities will require vaccinations of students, faculty members and staff members to ensure a full and healthy college experience in the fall. Metropolitan State University of Denver, along with the University of Colorado System, Colorado State University System, University of Northern Colorado and Fort Lewis College, issued the following statement requiring all students and members of faculty and staff to be immunized for Covid-19 before the fall semester begins:
Our public institutions of higher education will require that all of our students, faculty and staff receive Covid-19 vaccinations before the beginning of 2021 fall semester classes. We consulted with state and local health departments to inform this determination, as well as with the Governor’s Office and Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Department of Higher Education had encouraged this direction. The science around Covid-19 and vaccines is clear and compelling. Vaccines are good for public health, not only lowering rates of infection on our campuses, but also in the communities they call home. Vaccines will also allow on-campus students and faculty to resume their in-person experience that is critical to academic success and personal growth. As with our current vaccine requirements, campuses will allow for exemptions. Our institutions will communicate more detail to our respective campus communities in the days ahead. Other public institutions in Colorado are considering the issue and will communicate as necessary.
This decision came after consultation with the Office of the Governor, the CDHE, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, MSU Denver campus leaders, MSU Denver Board of Trustees members and other higher-education CEOs throughout the state. Specific timing and implementation details for MSU Denver are still being crafted, and new information and guidelines will be shared with the community on the Roadrunner Safe Return website as soon as such details are confirmed. However, I wanted to share this initial decision and our rationale as soon as possible.
The health and safety of the Roadrunner community is my highest priority, and I have been so impressed by the compassion and resilience our community has shown as we have weathered this pandemic storm together. We have adapted and innovated in service to our students, and we have stepped up for our community and taken care of one another. I am encouraged by the prospect that vaccinated faculty, staff and students will be able to enjoy a safe return to on-campus activities, including in-person classes, events and the social life that we have missed over the past year.
With vaccine supply growing and eligibility expanding across the country, there are many options available to obtain a vaccination. Appointments are available for our on-campus vaccination site, and other sites throughout metro Denver (and beyond) are open for appointment-based and walk-up vaccinations as well. As with all other required vaccines, students and members of our faculty and staff will be able to seek a medical or nonmedical exemption as allowed under federal and state law.
We will continue to monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 and, if necessary, adjust our plans in response to evolving conditions and public-health recommendations. The safety of our campus community remains my No. 1 priority, and I will ensure that any updates on this situation will be shared immediately.
I look forward to seeing you all on campus in the weeks and months to come.
Janine Davidson, Ph.D.
President, MSU Denver