Open House in the time of COVID-19
Aug. 4, 2020
Marquee recruitment event gets reimagined as series of online offerings, highly controlled on-campus tours, interest-specific Spotlight Days.
Together, we will find new ways to make sure every MSU Denver student has access to an excellent education and the personal support they need to succeed – whether that’s on campus or online.
Check back daily for updates on our safe return to campus for fall 2020.
The MSU Denver Roadrunners Safe Return Committee continues to work on plans for a safe and gradual return to campus. As always, the top priority is the health of our students, faculty and staff. The plan also aims for flexibility, both for our community members who are most vulnerable and in the event that we once again need to pivot our operations as a result of the pandemic.
Please check back regularly as this FAQ will be updated with new or revised information as it becomes available.
Last updated: July 28, 2020
Will there be classes on campus this fall?
As we announced with our Auraria Campus partners in May, we’ll be adopting a mixed approach to classes, which allows us to safely accommodate some in-person courses while also significantly bolstering our online offerings. With social-distancing guidelines and campus capacity restrictions, most of our classes will meet online. On-campus classes were prioritized based on which require an in-person component to meet Student Learning Objectives.
For the limited number of Roadrunners who will be on campus for face-to-face classes, 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.
Do I need to wear a mask/face shield covering the nose and mouth on campus?
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.
Will everyone be expected to provide their own masks/face shields that cover the nose and mouth? Will MSU Denver be providing Personal Protective Equipment if someone forgets to bring their own? 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 will 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.
What square footage are we using to maintain social distancing in classrooms?
We want to ensure there is a 7x7 foot bubble around each student with additional consideration for teaching areas, egress, equipment and configuration of the room.
How will students be informed about social distancing practices?
Students in face-to-face classes will be notified by email with details on expectations. Please see the Health Protocols and Self-Assessment page for additional information. The University will continue to update its this website and FAQ with new information, so please check back often.
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 will 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. This is the key to keeping face-to-face classes on campus for the entire semester.
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) directly to report the concern.
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) directly to report the concern.
The University has developed a communicable disease policy to enforce its face-covering requirement, as well as protocols and guidelines (Spanish version) to help keep the community safe. If we work together, we are confident in our ability to mitigate the spread of the virus and complete our face-to-face classes on campus this semester.
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. Based on the spring 2020 semester, the University has a plan in place to move classes and operations online if necessary.
Will there be any events on campus?
Direction on events for fall 2020 will be available soon. Our goal is to have a structured events application process and guidelines. In the meantime, it is preferred that all event coordinators plan for alternative options, such as pivoting to a virtual setting.
How can faculty and staff get office access (one-time or continuing)? And what about those who need to return to campus for required research activities?
Most MSU Denver employees will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. The process for employees to request one-time or recurring access to campus is detailed on this webpage.
Is there the option for faculty to use empty classrooms (during summer and/or fall) to conduct and record their online classes?
Due to the potential health ramifications and room cleaning protocols, we will not open rooms for recording. Online Learning and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design can assist with alternatives should an individual require adjustments to their space to conduct or record lectures. Those with additional questions should contact their chair, then move to the dean if further assistance is needed.
Are we treating outdoor spaces different than indoor spaces? (Tivoli Quad, The RAC, JSSB Lawn)
The limited number of Roadrunners on campus for fall semester 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.
If there is going to be limited entrance access to buildings, will the most accessible entrance be one that remains open?
Yes, accessibility will be considered when determining primary entrances. Please follow all signage on buildings – at entrances, exits and in common areas.
Will campus businesses be reopening as well?
With a limited number of MSU Denver faculty, staff and students returning to campus for fall semester, some campus businesses have also reopened. 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.
In the Tivoli Food Court, in particular, only one occupant will be allowed per table, and tables will be disinfected hourly while food vendors are in operation. Hand-sanitizing stations will also be provided.
Please note that these details are fluid and that business availability could change. Refer to this link for most accurate vendor operation information: https://www.ahec.edu/campus-info/food
Will there be hand sanitizer in every room?
There will be 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 will be used and who is responsible for the cleaning? Are we looking at new ways to clean labs more efficiently?
The Safe Return Auraria Facilities and Operations subcommittee has established cleaning protocols which follow CDC and CDPHE guidelines. Disinfectant and paper towels will be available in classrooms and offices for Roadrunners who would like 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.
Will we be adding plexiglass or other barriers to spaces, for example, for front desk workers?
As front desks reopen for customers, the Roadrunner Safe Return Committee will review the best approach for each space. Employees who have additional concerns or needs for a specific location should include that information in their “work unit plan” when requesting campus access.
Will students be able to reserve spaces (of sufficient size to safely house 4-5 students) for group work? Will library study spaces be available?
Face-to-face group work is discouraged because Roadrunners will not be able to maintain social distancing. If possible, please coordinate meetings virtually for group work. At this time, students who are participating in online classes, but do not have a face-to-face class are encouraged to continue to stay at home in order to limit the number of people on campus.
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.
Are we allowed to test everyone for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus?
Based on guidance from public health experts at Denver Health, mass testing of Auraria Campus constituents is not essential, given the overall demographics of the Auraria community.
Will a health check be required at every entry?
Roadrunners are expected to complete a daily health assessment before coming to campus.
What will happen if someone has been in the office and subsequently tests positive?
The Health Center at Auraria will work with the State Health Department, as they routinely do whenever a communicable disease presents on campus, to enact the appropriate response. The response procedure will vary 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 will 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 will collaborate with Health Departments as requested.
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.
Will I get the same quality education in an online class as I do with an in-person class?
Courses migrated to remote learning in spring and summer were functional and effective – over 97% of you remained active and engaged in your newly-remote courses. For fall, MSU Denver is implementing course-design expectations to build upon the quality and simplicity of these courses. Existing online courses that meet these expectations deliver equivalent grade and withdraw rates as face-to-face courses, so we are confident you will experience real learning and preparation for your future – not just completion of requirements to get closer to a diploma.
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?
In our ongoing effort to keep the campus community safe and healthy, most MSU Denver offices continue to be closed for in-person services. But students can still access the same great resources and services virtually. Websites for individual offices will detail the best ways to contact them by phone, email or web form.
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.
What should I do if I have an online class immediately before or after a face-to-face class? Will there be a place for me to sit and take my online class while still on campus?
The Roadrunner Safe Return Committee is working to find a space for the small number of students who fall into this category. Those students will be informed of a location a week prior to start of the semester.
How will tuition and fees be handled for fall 2020?
MSU Denver will 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.
What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous online classes?
Synchronous classes are held online but meet at an established time. For example, if your schedule says that the class meets Monday/Wednesday at noon, you can count on being expected to be logged in and participating [virtually] during that timeframe. There may be live lectures, class discussions, demonstrations or other learning activities that occur at the regularly scheduled time. And you’ll have homework/work to complete outside of class times too – just as you would for an on-campus class.
Asynchronous classes, on the other hand, do not require you to be logged on to meet with the class/instructor at a particular time. Rather, these classes will likely have weekly assignments and expectations, but you’ll be able to complete the work on your own time (so long as you meet the deadlines set by the instructor). You may watch prerecorded lectures, participate in discussions via discussion boards or otherwise connect with classmates on a schedule of your choosing.
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 email@example.com 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?
Faculty face this type of issue regularly with other illnesses like the flu. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com or 303-615-0006) and the Office of Financial Aid (firstname.lastname@example.org 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?
Can faculty and staff that are considered high risk request to continue remote work?
Most MSU Denver employees will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
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 email@example.com.
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?
Our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Right now, most MSU Denver employees will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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”?
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