The Rundown: Safe Return to Campus Update
Oct. 27, 2020
President Davidson, COO Larry Sampler and AHEC CEO Colleen Walker discuss the plan already in action for a safe return to campus.
Together, we are finding new ways to make sure every MSU Denver student has access to an excellent education and the support they need to succeed – whether that’s on campus or online.
Find the latest info here on safety, events and resources for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, as we serve a limited number of Roadrunners on campus.
With the fall 2020 semester underway and spring 2021 coming soon, Roadrunners are likely to have questions; especially in this atypical academic year. The following FAQ was developed to provide the latest information to MSU Denver students, faculty and staff as we navigate this journey together.
Please check back often as new or revised information is posted as it becomes available.
Last updated: Oct. 23, 2020
Will there be classes on campus in spring 2021?
As of now, MSU Denver’s plan for spring semester is to have two phases of in-person course offerings. The first will start in January and run through the normal spring semester schedule. In that phase, we will have approximately 430 in-person sections meeting on campus, which is about 14% of our total offerings. The second phase will begin in March with an aim of getting as many additional classes as possible back in person. Based on our work this fall and ongoing research, we believe we can accommodate these classes while maintaining the highest possible standards for health and safety.
Students can see how courses for phase one will be offered via the class schedule on the Student Hub. This spring 2021 registration guide is a great resource for those who have questions about class formats and general registration info. We will provide further details on the courses that will be available in the second phase by mid-November.
Are there classes on campus this fall?
MSU Denver adopted a mixed approach to classes for fall 2020, which allowed us to safely accommodate some in-person courses while also significantly bolstering our online offerings. Right now, 90% of our classes are meeting online. On-campus classes were prioritized based on which required an in-person component to meet Student Learning Objectives.
For Roadrunners on campus, the University developed these protocols and guidelines (Spanish version) to protect our community. The guidelines were created in accordance with recommendations from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and state and local health experts, including our team at the Health Center at Auraria and the University’s Facilities Department.
Are faculty, staff and students who are not involved in face-to-face classes allowed on campus?
Yes. Campus is open to any Roadrunner who needs to be there. MSU Denver asks that you follow established health and safety protocols and use good judgment.
Employees should work with their supervisors to coordinate schedules.
Leaders of offices, departments and branches should work with their employees to ensure compliance with city and state guidelines of 25% office capacity restrictions and a 10-person limit on meetings, as well as all MSU Denver health protocols.
Please note that MSU Denver employees are not being required to return to campus at this time, with the exception of essential workers.
Do I need to wear a mask/face shield covering on campus?
Yes. In order to make the campus as safe as possible, all students, faculty and staff are required to wear a face covering (mask or face shield) over their nose and mouth while on campus, when in the presence of others.
For individuals who have a specific medical condition that precludes them from wearing a traditional cloth face mask or for those who prefer an alternative option, a face shield is an acceptable face covering.
Are people expected to provide their own masks/face shields? Does MSU Denver provide Personal Protective Equipment? What happens if students are unable to afford PPE?
Individuals are responsible for bringing their own masks/face shields that cover the nose and mouth when coming to campus.
Masks continue to be available at the Health Center at Auraria for students, faculty or staff members who forget their face covering on a given day. Please call the Health Center in advance of picking up a mask at 303-615-9999.
Faculty members who would prefer a face shield for teaching face-to-face classes can pick one up at the Jordan Student Success Building front desk.
What square footage are we using to maintain social distancing in classrooms?
We are ensuring that there is a 7x7 foot bubble around each student with additional consideration for teaching areas, egress, equipment and configuration of the room.
What should someone do if a student or co-worker is not abiding by physical-distancing, face-covering guidelines, or otherwise endangering others?
Our expectation is that Roadrunners act with a spirit of generosity and selflessness, maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask or face shield that covers the nose and mouth to ensure the safety of their peers.
If you have a concern about a student who is not compliant with expectations, or who is otherwise in violation of University policy, please contact the Dean of Students Office (303-615-0220).
If you have a concern about a faculty or staff member who is not compliant with expectations, or who is otherwise in violation of University policy, please contact the Office of Human Resources (303-615-0999).
Is it possible that the Auraria Campus would have to shut down again due to COVID-19?
If the governor were to reinstitute stay-at-home orders for higher education, MSU Denver would comply. The Health Center at Auraria will work with the State Health Department to determine appropriate actions as needed. The University has a plan in place to move classes and operations online if necessary.
Will there be any events on campus?
The University strongly suggests that all events occur in a virtual format; if the event is not suitable for a virtual setting, the event coordinator can apply to host an in-person event via the process laid out in detail on this webpage. Coordinators planning virtual events do not have to fill out an application.
Are we treating outdoor spaces different than indoor spaces?
All Roadrunners on campus are expected to comply with the University’s protocols and guidelines (Spanish version), which include wearing a face covering (mask or face shield) on campus when in the presence of others as well as maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance from one another.
Do buildings have limited entrances and are they accessible?
Yes, accessibility was considered when determining primary entrances. Here is a map with designated entrances and exits for each building. Please follow all signage on buildings – at entrances, exits and in common areas.
Will my employee ID work to access my building?
Campus buildings are open during business hours. For employees who need to access a building after hours, please coordinate with your department’s access matrix coordinator to be added to the department list.
If you have access questions, please email email@example.com.
Are campus businesses reopened?
Many campus businesses are open though some have different hours of operation. All patrons are required to follow MSU Denver’s health and safety protocols while visiting campus businesses. Seating in common spaces and dining areas has been reduced according to health and safety recommendations and campus users are asked to access buildings only through designated entrances.
Is there hand sanitizer in every room?
There are sanitizer stations at building entrances and at elevator lobbies. Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and minimize touching their faces. Please see the Health Protocols and Self-Assessment page for additional information.
What cleaning protocols are being used and who is responsible for the cleaning?
The Safe Return Auraria Facilities and Operations subcommittee has established cleaning protocols which follow CDC and CDPHE guidelines. Disinfectant and paper towels are available in classrooms and offices for Roadrunners who want to wipe down their respective areas. Nightly disinfectant of classrooms is also being performed. The campus laboratories are being cleaned and maintained by the individual lab managers to ensure no cross contamination with chemicals in those lab areas.
Have we added plexiglass or other barriers to spaces, for example, for front desk workers?
The Roadrunner Safe Return Committee reviewed and implemented the best approach for each space. Employees who have additional concerns or needs for a specific location should contact MSU Denver’s Facilities Department.
Is University-related travel suspended?
All University-funded or affiliated travel through the end of the calendar year is suspended. Faculty, staff or students who foresee a need to travel that warrants an exception to this policy should act well in advance of their anticipated travel to secure such an exception (proposed by the relevant dean and granted by the provost for academic travel; and proposed by the relevant director or AVP and approved by the COO for nonacademic travel).
Upon returning to Denver, please consult with the Health Center at Auraria (303-615-9999) for any precautionary measures that must be taken prior to returning to campus. This is for the protection of everyone in the campus community.
With regard to faculty-led study-abroad courses for winter break and the spring semester, please contact the Office of International Studies.
This policy does not address personal travel. However, precautionary measures should be strongly considered by members of our University family if traveling in any capacity.
Does the Health Center at Auraria perform COVID-19 testing and is it free? Who can get tested? If I become ill while on campus or off, who should I call?
Yes. Any Auraria Campus student, faculty or staff member can be tested at no cost, regardless of whether they are insured or not. Call the Health Center at Auraria at 303-615-9999 prior to visiting in person.
Is a health check required at every entry?
Roadrunners are expected to complete a daily health assessment before coming to campus.
What happens if someone has been in the office and subsequently tests positive?
The Health Center at Auraria works with the State Health Department, as they routinely do whenever a communicable disease presents on campus, to enact the appropriate response. The response procedure varies from one incident to the next, contingent on numerous factors.
Does the State Health Department inform individuals whose COVID-19 test results come back positive and do they use contact tracing to inform those who may have been exposed?
Yes. The State Health Department, in conjunction with County Health Departments, are the agencies responsible for contact tracing of all positive COVID-19 cases. Individuals that test positive receive a phone call from their local health department. At that time, a contact investigation is started, which is then followed by a contact-tracing investigation. The Health Center at Auraria collaborates with Health Departments as requested.
Does MSU Denver have a dashboard to report positive cases?
Yes. MSU Denver’s COVID-19 dashboard includes the number of faculty, staff and students who have tested positive at the Health Center at Auraria or reported a positive case to the center. The University asks all Roadrunners to report positive cases to the Health Center regardless of whether they are learning or working on campus or not.
Why is it important for Auraria constituents to inform the Health Center at Auraria if they test positive for COVID-19?
This communication permits internal contact tracing to be initiated and provides a better understanding of the impact the virus is having on the campus community.
What are the campus access restrictions for anyone coming back from international travel?
Upon returning to Denver, please consult with the Health Center at Auraria (303-615-9999) for any precautionary measures that must be taken prior to returning to campus. This is for the protection of everyone in the campus community. At this juncture, there is a state health order that requires those returning from overseas to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to coming back to campus.
Are there any campus access restrictions for someone coming back after domestic U.S. travel?
Currently, there are no restrictions when coming back from domestic travel. That said, precautionary measures should be strongly considered by members of our University family if traveling in any capacity.
I don’t have a face-to-face class but would like to come to campus anyway. Should I?
Campus is open to any Roadrunner who needs to be there. MSU Denver asks that you follow established health and safety protocols and use your good judgment.
Most offices, however, are closed to in-person support services; you can find the same great resources online. Here’s a list of the top resources for students and how you can access those services.
Is a campus ID required to access buildings?
All Roadrunners should have their official institutional ID visibly displayed at all times while on campus.
For those who don’t have a way to display their ID while on campus, stop by the front desk of the Jordan Student Success Building to pick up a free MSU Denver-branded lanyard.
If you do not have a campus photo ID, you can get one at the bookstore’s ID station, which is open Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alternately, you can call 303-556-8352 to set up an appointment. Your first ID card has no cost, but replacement cards are $24.
Will I get the same quality education in an online class as I do with an in-person class?
Yes. Starting in early summer 2020, MSU Denver proactively invested in new technology and training to ensure faculty have what they need to provide high-quality online courses.
Are the offices on the first floor of the Jordan Student Success building open? And how can I get the support I need for things like financial aid or advising?
Most MSU Denver offices continue to be closed for in-person services. But students can still access the same great resources and services virtually. Here’s a list of the top resources for students and how you can access those services. Websites for individual offices detail the best ways to contact them by phone, email or web form.
What should I do if I have an online class immediately before or after a face-to-face class? Is there a place for me to sit and take my online class while still on campus?
Yes. Students in this situation have been informed by email of space available to them.
Are any other spaces available for students to study on campus?
There are several general study spaces are available for Roadrunners who need to be on campus. Seating is limited and operates on a first come, first served basis.
Jordan Student Success Building | Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Aerospace and Engineering Sciences | Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Note: MSU Denver buildings lock down after they close. Students shouldn’t be in a building after a building shuts down.
Auraria Higher Education Center
Tivoli | Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tivoli 225 Computer Lab | Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Science Building 1048/1058 Computer Lab | Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Library Café | Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Note: Any shared AHEC buildings that are open on campus have seating in various common areas (e.g. lounges) during operating hours. See this site for more details: https://www.ahec.edu/campus-info/building-hours
What are the expectations for reporting COVID-19 cases for students, faculty and staff who are participating in on-campus classes?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 – whether taking classes in person or online – can get medical and personal support at MSU Denver. After a positive diagnosis or if you suspect you might be infected, your first step should be to call the Health Center at Auraria at 303-615-9999. The Health Center team will provide expert guidance on medical care and next steps to keep you and those around you safe.
A COVID-19 diagnosis is often accompanied by a slew of other personal and financial considerations, and you may have questions or needs beyond medical guidance. The case managers at the Student Care Center are here to help respond to your unique circumstances. The Health Center team will put you in touch with Care Center professionals, but you can always contact them directly to set up an appointment. Your case manager will answer pressing questions and help you create a personal plan to deal with challenges you might be facing.
Who should a student contact if they need academic support?
MSU Denver is committed to your academic success. The best place to start is by engaging the faculty member teaching your class. That faculty member can help you come up with a plan to address your academic needs, for example, by recommending the Tutoring Center or the Writing Center.
How will tuition and fees be handled for fall 2020/spring 2021?
MSU Denver did not increase the cost of tuition for resident and nonresident undergraduate students for the fall 2020 semester. Relatedly, the board waived several campus-based fees for the fall semester. Please visit the Fall 2020 Fees at Work webpage for more details.
On Sept. 4, the University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to increase spring 2021 tuition by 3% for resident and nonresident undergraduate students. This translates to an increase of $8 per credit hour for resident students and $25 for nonresidents. The board also voted to maintain most of the reduced fall 2020 fees structure for spring 2021.
What about the RTD CollegePass fee?
MSU Denver and its partner schools on the Auraria Campus agreed to suspend the RTD CollegePass beginning May 18, 2020. This means that none of the three institutions assessed an RTD fee for the fall semester, and students are not able to use their campus-issued RTD pass during the period that the program is suspended.
This decision was made because RTD does not allow for an opt-in CollegePass program. Therefore, MSU Denver does not have an option to assess the fee and provide the pass to only those students who have on-campus courses. The decision to waive the fee was meant to be a cost-saving measure for most students.
Please note that RTD does have an income-based pass option. See RTD LiVE for more details. And, if you’d like help applying for this or otherwise find yourself in a bind without any other financial options to support your school-based transportation needs, please contact the Student Care Center.
A decision on the RTD fee has not yet been made for the spring 2021 semester.
What should students do if a family member or someone they care for gets sick during the semester and they need to prioritize caring for them over schoolwork?
The University is here to support you. Please contact the Student Care Center as soon as you realize you may be in this situation. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 303-615-0006 or file a CARE Referral form with your information. From there, you’ll connect with a case manager at the University who can help you craft a plan to get through this difficult time, balancing all the factors that are relevant for your unique circumstance.
If an instructor of an on-campus class were to test positive for COVID-19, how does MSU Denver ensure the course continues to be instructed to its completion and students earn the credits they registered for? What are the procedures for replacing instructors?
Existing procedures would apply. Colleges regularly have faculty members who develop unforeseen health problems that require them to stop teaching. Department chairs collaborate with dean’s offices to contact Human Resources and hire a temporary faculty member to teach for a short time or finish out the semester. These procedures would apply for faculty having to quarantine for two weeks in cases of positive COVID-19 tests or for those who may have to stop teaching due to hospitalization.
If a student in an on-campus class tests positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine or if he/she is hospitalized, how are student attendance policies impacted?
As is the case with other illnesses or significant personal circumstances that arise mid-semester and that can impact students' ability to complete in standard format, several options may be available. Upon being diagnosed with COVID-19 or becoming symptomatic, students should contact their individual faculty members via phone and/or email to discuss plans. Students should also contact the Student Care Center (email@example.com or phone 303-615-0006) by filing a CARE Referral form to share the specifics of their situation. From there, a case manager will reach out to help the student navigate applicable academic options, as well as related personal and/or financial considerations and resource needs.
I’ve lost my job due to COVID-19 or am not able to get in as many hours and can’t afford to pay my bills, so I’m unsure if I can stay in school/pay tuition. What should I do?
These are tough times and you are not alone in struggling with financial matters. The University has several financial resources that may be available to you at this time, and can also help you connect with relevant community supports such as unemployment benefits (if applicable) or public benefits that may be able to help you pay the bills. Please contact the Student Care Center (firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-615-0006) and the Office of Financial Aid (email@example.com or 303-556-8593) as soon as possible after finding yourself in this predicament.
If a student in an on-campus class tests positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine or if he/she is hospitalized, how are financial aid policies impacted?
What are the protocols for faculty and staff to report known positive cases of COVID-19?
This Early Bird article details the protocols for faculty or staff members who are informed of an MSU Denver constituent testing positive for COVID-19.
Can faculty and staff that are considered high risk request to continue remote work?
Aside from essential workers and those involved in face-to-face classes, MSU Denver employees are not being required to return to campus at this time.
If and when employees are required to be back on campus, MSU Denver will follow the CDC's definition of who is considered high risk. See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/evidence-table.html
According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:
An immunocompromised employee, whose health condition falls within one of the CDC High Risk Categories or is pregnant, may seek a Temporary COVID-19 Workplace Adjustment using the Request for Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act process by contacting Amanda Berry, employee benefits manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For employees who are high-risk due to a reason not in the CDC definition, certification of the condition and high-risk status from a health care provider will be required. Employees who are high-risk because of age will not be required to provide additional documentation.
If an employee isn’t feeling well, should they take sick leave or work remote?
If an employee isn’t feeling well, but can and is willing to perform work, continued remote work should be considered. Employees are encouraged to work directly with their supervisors. If the employee is unable to perform work, they may take sick leave or if the absence is COVID-19 related, employees should contact Amanda Berry, employee benefits manager at email@example.com to discuss available leave options under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Should an employee or member of an employee’s household who has been exposed (contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case) or has pending COVID-19 test results self-quarantine”?
United Healthcare (UHC)