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Faculty & Staff Guide

2021 Phased Return to Campus: Department Planning Tool 

This tool is to assist departments in thinking through their return to campus. Each department must complete this form by May 26, 2021. Download the cover letter and tool document below for details.


MSU Denver Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement

MSU Denver to require Covid-19 vaccinations for all who will be on campus this fall. Learn more about this requirement >


Roadrunner Safe Return

The Roadrunner Safe Return (RSR) Team is a Universitywide planning team comprised of representatives from administration, faculty, staff and the student body. The RSR Team is currently charged with planning for a return to full on-campus operations for fall 2021. The team meets on a weekly basis and is comprised of several working subgroups focusing on the following areas:

  • Operations
  • Vaccine Protocol and Education
  • Contingency
  • Wellness
  • Communications


Safe Return Guiding Principles

In preparing for the full return to on-campus operations for fall 2021, the Roadrunner Safe Return team is to be guided by the following principles:

  • Our top priority is the continued health and safety of our students, staff and faculty, which will continue to be informed by public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State of Colorado, the City of Denver and our on-campus health professionals at the Health Center at Auraria.
  • We will continue our mission to provide a high quality, accessible college experience that meets the needs of our students through a reimagined in-person experience for fall semester 2021.
  • MSU Denver serves a diverse student population requiring a full return plan reflective of our principles and commitment to equity and inclusion.


  • Plan for a robust student academic experience optimizing full in-person classroom capacity with no restrictions, returning 70-100% of the on-campus courses that were offered in fall 2019 to campus for the fall 2021 semester.
  • Plan for a flexible, agile and phased approach to a full return to on-campus operations that is that considers and integrates the constantly evolving information and guidance regarding Covid-19.
  • Plan for full-service on-campus operations.

Fall 2021 Key Points - What You Need to Know

  • MSU Denver is planning for a full return to on-campus operations for the fall 2021 semester with a course schedule mirroring 80% of the on-campus courses from fall 2019 and increased online course offerings.
  • The University is also preparing contingency plans allowing us to adjust to public health and safety guidelines for fall 2021 while working towards minimizing the impact of any changes on the delivery of instruction and our students.
  • Student activities will resume in person offering opportunities for community building and university life outside the classroom.
  • We will continue to observe the State of Colorado guidance on quarantine and travel, expecting significant updates in the upcoming months.
  • All members of the University community are highly encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as they are able. Given the current Emergency Use Authorization designation, we cannot require vaccinations at this time. This may change as the Emergency Use Authorization is updated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  • The Health Center at Auraria has been designated a vaccine Point of Distribution (POD) in partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado and Denver Health, offering vaccinations to the Auraria campus community in accordance with state guidelines.
  • The Health Center at Auraria continues to provide Covid-19 testing for all MSU Denver students, staff and faculty.

Faculty & Staff FAQs

With planning for the summer 2021 semester and a return to on-campus operations for fall 2021 now underway, Roadrunners are likely to have questions. This FAQ provides the latest information for MSU Denver faculty and staff as we navigate this journey together and plan for a safe and equitable return to on-campus operations.

Last updated: April 7, 2021


The Auraria Campus, in partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, is currently serving as a vaccine point of dispensing (POD). All Coloradans ages 16 and over are eligible to be vaccinated, so the Auraria POD has moved to an open scheduling format.


Although scheduled appointments are encouraged, individual walk-up/drive-up vaccines for people seeking a first dose are available with no scheduled appointment. Second doses must be scheduled at the time of the first dose.

Auraria Constituent Covid-19 Vaccine Scheduling. 

Find more information on the Health Center at Auraria website.

If we have a fully vaccinated community on campus, the risk of transmission in extremely low. This is why all parties need to be vaccinated at the first opportunity they have to receive the vaccine. In addition, all individuals on campus will be required to wear a mask during the fall semester and possibly beyond. It is well documented that wearing a mask significantly reduces transmission. Learn more about the efficacy of each vaccine.

Campus Operations

Yes. MSU Denver will host some summer courses on campus (adhering to all health and safety protocols), and the University is actively planning for a safe return to full on-campus operations. The Safe Return to Campus webpage is the best place to learn the latest. 

Returning to in-person learning requires months of planning. Throughout the pandemic, MSU Denver has committed to giving everyone the most timely information as transparently as possible, acknowledging that things can change quickly. The University will be developing plans and policies between now and fall and will seek feedback along the way.

In-person learning is also an equity issue: Covid has disproportionately affected low-income individuals and communities of color, from job loss to health disparities to bigger disruptions to their education. Without more in-person opportunities, this equity gap will only get worse.

No, not all classes will be face-to-face this fall. MSU Denver is targeting 70-100% of its credit hour production from 2019 to return on campus for fall 2021. This allows for different departments to adjust their ratio of class modalities. The University will still be offering a wide array of online courses for students to choose from.

MSU Denver is looking to move back to campus gradually to not overwhelm Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment capacities or University personnel and support teams such as ITS and facilities. Supervisors should be empowered to staff their offices as they see fit to follow social distancing protocols and capacity guidelines while these are still in effect.

Long term, an alternative work arrangement policy is in the works with plans to be approved prior to fall 2021. The draft policy is currently being vetted with different constituent groups within the University.

Human Resources has advised that employees ask supervisors to have discussions with their teams on how to accomplish the University mission and adequately serve our students, faculty and staff while accounting for work/life balance and remote work.

Masks are not required outdoors but are still encouraged in outdoor settings. Masks are required indoors. It is anticipated that the City of Denver may eliminate the current social distancing public health order for classrooms by the time before the fall semester. This is contingent on the rate of infection at the time and the success of getting all parties vaccinated.

For specific situations like this, faculty should consult with their chairs, and staff with their supervisors.

Students-employees have emergency paid sick leave. The Healthy Families Workplaces Act (HFWA) is a law that requires MSU Denver to provide employees with Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) for specified reasons related to a declared public health emergency, effective Jan. 1, 2021. MSU Denver will provide employees up to 80 hours of paid leave (prorated for a part-time employee) during the entirety of a public health emergency even if such public health emergency is amended, extended, restated or prolonged, and until four weeks after the public health emergency leave ends. This leave is provided to all employees of MSU Denver, in addition to their normal accruals of annual and sick leave, if applicable. Employees should reach out to Amanda Berry in Human Resources at with questions.

Hand-sanitizing stations can be found by entrances to buildings as well as in elevator lobbies. You are welcome to refill small hand sanitizing containers to be used in individual offices with the larger sanitizing stations in the MSU Denver buildings, or from the hand sanitizing pump at the JSSB Crew in Blue desk. 

MSU Denver and AHEC have been working closely together to ensure all building systems are operating at full occupancy levels. To the extent feasible within the constraints of existing HVAC systems, adjustments have been implemented following CDC best practices to increase building safety while minimizing unintended consequences to equipment.

Indoor air changes are being maintained at the highest level possible until the outside air temperature reaches 50-55 degrees, and then outside air dampers will begin to slowly close to maintain comfortable indoor air temperatures. Currently buildings are operating at 6-12 air exchanges per hour.

Facilities staff have overridden the outside air dampers to double the minimum outside air introduced into a building during peak cooling and heating needs, introducing a minimum of 20% outside air at all times, even in extreme temperatures.

If you are in an area and the air feels completely stagnant, please contact and facilities staff will investigate as quickly as possible.

RTD has its own safety protocols in effect for Covid-19:

All passengers are required to wear face masks. Capacity is limited to approximately 15 passengers per bus, 20 on larger buses, and 30 riders per rail car. If passengers can’t maintain social distancing, they're supposed to wait for the next vehicle.

Anyone who uses RTD to get to campus can get their latest updates on their website,

Per the latest recommendations from the state, employees not involved in face-to-face classes, who can work from home, should do so.

That said, campus is still open to any Roadrunner who needs to be there. MSU Denver asks that you follow established health and safety protocols and use good judgment.

Leaders of offices, departments and branches should work with their on-campus employees to ensure compliance with current city and state guidelinesAs the City and County of Denver are currently at Covid-19 dial level yellow, office capacity is capped at 50% (with remote work strongly encouraged) and all employees must continue to observe MSU Denver’s health protocols.

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, stop by the front desk of the Jordan Student Success Building to pick up a free MSU Denver-branded lanyard. 

Campus buildings are open during business hours. For employees who need to access to a building after hours, please coordinate with your department’s access matrix coordinator to be added to the department list.

Yes, accessibility was considered when determining primary entrances. Here is a map with designated entrances and exits for each building. Please follow all signage in buildings.

Some campus businesses remain open but may have different hours of operation. All patrons are required to follow MSU Denver’s health and safety protocols while visiting campus businesses.

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. Campus laboratories are being cleaned and maintained by individual lab managers to ensure no cross contamination with chemicals.

Please visit the Department of Facilities webpage and click the "Covid-19 Cleaning and HVAC Protocols" button to see more detailed information cleaning, sanitization and HVAC for both MSU Denver-owned and AHEC-shared buildings.



Facilities staff are not able to designate if a room is clean since someone may enter a space immediately after we perform cleaning. Therefore, for your own comfort and use we have provided cleaning kits in each building for those folks on campus. Kits are placed in each classroom and if not available in the space, you can request one be provided by emailing Instructions on proper use are located with the kit.  

MSU Denver and AHEC have been working closely together to ensure building systems are operating at full occupancy levels. Please reference AHEC’s memo on this topic for additional information. 

While we cannot decrease risk of transmission to zero, our goal is to reduce the risk as much as possible by combining vaccinationssocial distancing, face coverings, filtration and ventilation. Indoor air changes are being maintained at the highest level possible until the outside air temperature reaches 50-55 degrees.  At that time the outside air dampers will begin to slowly close to ensure we maintain comfortable indoor air temperatures. Currently, we are operating with increased air exchanges per hour to meet the CDC recommendations. 


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. 

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.

If the governor were to reinstitute stay-at-home orders for higher education, MSU Denver would comply. The University has a plan in place to move classes and operations online if necessary.

Health and Safety

Yes. As noted in our health and safety protocols, all students, faculty and staff are required to wear a face covering (mask or face shield only, buffs and bandanas are not acceptable face coverings) over their nose and mouth while on campus, when in the presence of others. Roadrunners should also maintain 6 feet of social distance.

Individuals are responsible for bringing their own masks/face shields when coming to campus. If you forget your face covering on a given day, call the Health Center to pick one up at 303-615-9999.

For those who have a specific medical condition that precludes them from wearing a traditional cloth face mask, a face shield is an acceptable face covering. 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.

Roadrunners are expected to complete a daily health assessment before coming to campus.  

Plexiglass is not planned for any spaces or locations on the campus, with the exception of customer facing "transaction counter" type locations where members of our campus community may be subject to increased contact with members of the general public.

No Plexiglas is currently being considered for offices. In alignment with our planned return to normal operations, Plexiglass installed for use in classrooms and labs during the Summer Semester is planned to be removed prior to the start of the Fall Semester. Units with customer facing locations that fall under the exception described above may send requests to


Any Auraria Campus student, faculty or staff member with symptoms can be tested at no cost, regardless of whether they are insured or not.  

Auraria students, faculty and staff who want to be tested at the Auraria Campus Covid-19 testing site will register through COVID Check Colorado’s online platform. Individuals will then complete an electronic patient information form and be directed to the scheduling system. Testing is available Monday-Friday, 7a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Please visit the Health Center at Auraria website for more information. 

Our expectation is that Roadrunners act with a spirit of generosity and selflessness, maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask or face shield to ensure the safety of their peers.

If you have a concern about a student who is not compliant with expectations, 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, please contact the Office of Human Resources (303-615-0999).

The University has a communicable disease policy to enforce its face-covering requirement.

They should call the Health Center at Auraria at 303-615-9999. The faculty member should inform the receptionist that they are a faculty member calling to report a positive case of COVID-19 and be ready to provide the following information:  

  • Faculty member’s name 
  • Faculty member’s cell phone number (for return phone call) 
  • Name of positive student 
  • Positive student’s campus ID number 
  • Student’s cell phone number (or, if no cell, other contact number) 
  • Name of course 
  • Course number 
  • Time/days the class meets 
  • Building and room number of class 

This information will be provided to the medical director or designee, who will then begin an investigation. 

In the case of a known positive, it is prudent and advisable for the faculty member to cancel face-to-face class instruction until the Health Center’s investigation determines appropriate guidance. Each situation is different and includes numerous factors, so the Health Center’s guidance will vary accordingly. Once the initial investigation is complete, the faculty member will be called to advise them of the “next steps,” contingent on the level of risk that the investigation determines. 

It may take several days to complete an investigation and for the reporting faculty member to receive a return phone call. The Health Center at Auraria medical team is triaging numerous Covid-19 related investigations and inquiries. However, please know that reports of positive test results in face-to-face classes are prioritized. 

If the risk to the class and the faculty member is low, then it may be possible to resume the face-to-face class. During the call with the faculty member, the physician and the faculty member will discuss if it would be helpful for the doctor to attend (virtually or in-person) the next class session to advise the class and to answer any questions. Additionally, a letter from the Dean of Students, outlining University resources to students, will be sent to the faculty member to give to their students. 

Please note that the name of the positive individual should not be disclosed. 

The University asks all Roadrunners to report positive cases to the Health Center at Auraria regardless of whether they are learning or working on campus or not. This communication permits internal contact tracing to be initiated and provides a better understanding of the impact of the virus on the University community.

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:

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

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, 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 to discuss available leave options under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Currently, MSU Denver is following all health protocols as outlined by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. If in the future University protocols deviate from DDPHE protocls, we will communicate this broadly. Check the Roadrunner Safe Return website for the most current information.

MSU Denver’s policies are located in the University Policy Library and are routinely reviewed by the University community and kept up to date. For any questions regarding a University policy, please contact MSU Denver’s policy administrator, Megan Jones:

The University has developed health protocols to address a positive case in an office or classroom setting. Click here to see these protocol documents. If you have any questions, please contact

Supervisors should routinely check the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment website for Denver County's dial level. This dial level corresponds to capacity restrictions for offices and venues. Supervisors are empowered to develop a staffing schedule that falls within the current capacity restrictions.

Disposable masks are available at the Jordan Student Success Building Welcome Desk for all students, faculty and staff. The masks are part of a free personal protective equipment kit that includes a refillable hand sanitizer bottle and some sanitizing wipes.

Mail services are fully available on campus at this time. When you have a presence in your department, please notify AHEC Mail Services and they can begin delivering mail to your office area again, or you can coordinate a time to pick up your department mail at the Administration Building.

We have received the following update from our partners at the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment: We are expecting that all restrictions may be lifted by mid-June, in which case persons would not need to worry about developing certain scenarios for in-office or in-school eating situations from the standpoint of compliance with orders and guidance after that point.

In the meantime, we recommend the following: People who are eating indoors are to be socially distanced and only remove masks when eating. We would encourage individuals to eat in designated eating areas where distancing of tables is in place or in their workspace if they are distanced at least 6 feet from one another.

We encourage departments to access the supplies they need to keep their offices and personnel clean and safe. The MSU Denver Facilities Department will be able to provide refillable rolls of paper towels, disinfectant spray in a spray bottle and possibly disposable wipes. To get access to these cleaning supplies, please reach out to

If additional supplies are needed, track these expenses using the activity code "COVID". However, you must work with your department's fiscal manager or department head if you cannot cover additional Covid-19-related expenses in your annual operating budget. Funding should be allocated within individual branches according to normal procedures when additional expenses are necessary. If a department has questions about what qualifies for federal stimulus funds, or what to do if branches cannot cover the additional expenses related to Covid-19, please have your budget representative reach out to Charli Pringle at the Office of the Controller:

The University is not providing air filters for any space on campus. Portable HEPA filters are not a substitute for distancing and face coverings, which are the best ways to reduce the risk of the virus transmission indoors. However, if you wish to bring in your own portable filter, please follow these recommendations:

• Remember to replace filters as suggested by the manufacturer and to properly dispose of the old filter.

• Buy a HEPA filter certified by State of California and by AHAM. Make sure they do not produce ozone, or they might do more harm than good.

• Buy a HEPA filter with an appropriate flowrate for the space it will be in - most have a space square foot rating.

• It is the responsibility of the owner to maintain this equipment.

• If the unit trips a breaker or is left on excessively then it will need to be removed from campus.

MSU Denver will support one dedicated workstation (monitors, docking station, etc.) for faculty and staff.

Events and Travel

Please see the Events Protocol page for all available information related to on-campus events:

Please submit an application on the RSR website for the correct semester and your application will be reviewed. If it is not within current guidelines a coordinator will be in contact with you. Your application will be placed in a queue and continuously reviewed as the guidelines are updates. 

Once an event has been approved by the MSU Denver RSR Events team, the event planner must present an approval of their event (provided by the RSR Events team via email) to book a space with ACES. The event planner must adhere to MSU Denver’s institutional guidelines as well as the guidelines presented by AHEC. Please note that not all AHEC event spaces are available for rental due to the fact that some are being used for socially distanced classes. 

University-sponsored international travel remains suspended through the end of summer 2021 semester. This includes suspension of all University-sponsored study abroad courses. Students who participate in third-party programs must consult with the staff of the Office of International Studies for guidance and completion of required paperwork prior to travel.

Individual faculty or staff who have compelling professional reasons to undertake international travel must submit a Request for Pre-approval to Travel memo through their Chairs, Directors and Deans as per guidelines below.

University-sponsored domestic and international travel will resume after the end of summer 2021 semester following the guidelines below.


University-sponsored domestic travel - The University limits all University-sponsored out-of-state domestic travel for faculty, staff and students to pre-approved travel for essential University business.

Those who believe they have an essential reason to travel shall request approval through their unit executive officer (e.g., dean, AVP) and then to the Provost or President, depending on the traveler’s reporting line, for final approval.

Permission for University-sponsored travel within the United States may be granted for essential University business. Travel plans should follow guidelines from the CDC, Colorado Department of Public Health and the City of Denver. In some special circumstances, such as Athletics, the President, in conformance with NCAA directives, may grant a blanket approval.

Request approval for University-sponsored domestic travel by completing the Domestic Out-of-State Travel Authorization Request .

Returning from University-sponsored domestic travel

Post-Travel Recommendations:


  • Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, contact your medical provider.
  • You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated.
  • Quarantine for 7 days.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after your return.
  • Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, contact your medical provider.


Individuals who have been working remotely should continue to do so during this quarantine period. For employees who have been working on-site, the department may choose to allow the employee to work remotely during the quarantine period if operationally feasible. If the employee is required to work on-site and remote work cannot be assigned or completed, the employee must utilize benefit time.


University-sponsored international travel - The University limits international travel for faculty, staff and students to pre-approved travel for essential university business.

The U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization have all issued global health and travel advisories. The University strongly urges MSU Denver community members to avoid travel to any country with a CDC Level 4 or Department of State Level 4 risk designation. The CDC Level 4 countries are listed on the CDC website and may change frequently. A full list of CDC travel advisories can be found here.

Faculty, staff and students should exercise caution and if at all possible, avoid making future international travel arrangements to CDC Level 4 countries. Based on current CDC Covid-19 recommendations, international travelers should avoid all travel to destinations the CDC and/or the Department of State classifies as ‘Level 4: Covid-19 Very High’” and “Do Not Travel” and reconsider international travel to destinations that are classified as ‘Level 3: Covid-19 High’.

Additionally, travelers should prepare for the possibility of local quarantines in some locations; flight cancellations; and that return to the U.S. from some international destinations may be delayed or even impossible. Travelers to any international destination should recognize the potential for challenges in returning to the U.S. – including CDC required negative test results or documentation that must be provided prior to departure for the U.S.

If permission for international University-sponsored travel is granted for essential University business travel plans should follow guidelines from the U.S. Department of State, CDC, Colorado Department of Health ( and the City of Denver (

Request approval for university-sponsored international travel by completing the International Travel Authorization Request Final.

Foreign Country Requirements Before Leaving the U.S.:

  1. Get tested within 72 hours prior of your scheduled departure from the U.S. This can be done on campus or at any testing location of your choice. To schedule testing on-campus go to
  2. Get tested within 72 hours prior of your scheduled departure from a foreign country. You can contact the local U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting to attain a list of testing locations.
  3. You may immediately return to work.
  4. Get tested 3-5 days after your return.
  5. Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, contact your medical provider.
  6. Quarantine for 7 days per CDC guidelines.
  7. Get tested 3-5 days after your return
  8. Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, contact your medical provider.

CDC Requirements Prior to Return to the U.S.:



Returning from international travel, depending on the current guidance, employees may be required to quarantine after international travel. Individuals who have been working remotely should continue to do so during this quarantine period. For employees who have been working on-site, the department may choose to allow the employee to work remotely during the quarantine period if operationally feasible. If the employee is required to work on-site and remote work cannot be assigned or completed the employee must utilize benefit time.

Employees authorized to travel internationally must purchase international travel insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation. Please consult with the staff of the Office of International Studies for guidance.


Personal domestic and international travel Employees are urged to follow guidelines from the CDC, Colorado Department of Public Health, and the City of Denver for travel in the United States. The University strongly urges MSU Denver community members to avoid personal travel to any country with a CDC Level 3 risk designation.

If an employee has been exposed with Covid-19 while traveling or if an employee is experiencing any signs or symptoms of Covid-19 upon their return, get tested and contact your medical provider. If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, consult with your medical provider and please inform the Health Center at Auraria since they are responsible for ongoing campus monitoring.

Please note that this travel policy is subject to change based upon any continued developments in federal, state or local guidance.

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