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May 6, 2021
As we wrap up the spring semester and prepare for fall, we wanted to take a moment to thank you. Not only have you made these past semesters possible through your ongoing support of your colleagues and students, but we recognize the physical and mental work you have put in while handling stress, processing grief and trauma, and managing your lives beyond your professional commitments.
We also wanted to provide some updates to inform your planning in the weeks ahead. As senior leaders, our intention in providing this information now is to give everyone time to make the arrangements specific to their individual situations.
Our top priority remains the continued health and safety of our campus community, which will continue to be informed by public-health guidelines. With these considerations in mind, we believe it is important for us to begin the transition toward a fully operational campus for the fall semester.
This begins with leaders from across campus working with their teams to create unit-specific plans for returning to campus by July 6. Different units have different needs, so flexibility and updates to address changing circumstances will be expected. Tools and guidelines have been established to support decision-making and leaders have been asked to collaborate with their units individually to prepare return plans pertinent to their unique situations. These plans will be submitted to the Office of the President by May 26.
We are also encouraging MSU Denver employees to begin a soft return to campus beginning June 1, but for those desiring to return sooner, campus is open now. Many offices have had staff on site for months, minding the ever-changing health and safety protocols. These guidelines have been changing even more rapidly this spring as vaccination levels have increased, and we are doing our best to coordinate with public-health officials to keep everyone informed about the latest requirements. So do check with your supervisor and the Roadrunner Safe Return website for the latest information prior to coming back on campus.
July 6 is our target date for a return to full campus operations. That date reflects the time, effort and work that will need to be done between July and early August to prepare for our students’ return to campus when classes begin Aug. 23. It also gives those who have not been vaccinated time to schedule and receive their vaccines.
It is understandable that this announcement will prompt many questions. Some we will be able to answer now; others we will address later as circumstances continue to change.
There will be a Presidential Town Hall on May 17 from 11:30-12:30 p.m. This will give faculty and staff members an opportunity to ask MSU Denver’s senior leadership team questions about plans as we move toward a full return to campus for fall.
In closing, we would like to reiterate the immense respect we have for all of you and our sincere gratitude for what you have made possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. Questions about what is to come are understandable, but together we will get there. We are excited to see you all back on campus!
Janine Davidson, Ph.D., President
Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., Provost and EVP of Academic Affairs
David Fine, J.D., General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Catherine B. Lucas, B.A., APR, VP of Strategy and External Affairs
Christine Márquez-Hudson, MNM, VP of Advancement and Executive Director of the MSU Denver Foundation
Michael Benitez Jr., Ph.D., VP for Diversity and Inclusion
Larry Sampler, M.A., VP for Administration and Finance, COO
Will Simpkins, Ed.D., VP for Student Affairs
Todd Thurman, Director of Athletics