Safe Return to Campus
Provost/Dean of students message to faculty/staff who will be on campus for fall 2020
Braelin Pantel, Ph.D., AVP for Student Engagement & Wellness/Dean of Students
Bill Henry, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
This email was sent to faculty and staff who will be teaching or supporting face-to-face classes for the fall 2020 semester. Please note that MSU Denver is trying to limit the number of people on campus and most faculty/staff members will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
Aug. 13, 2020
Dear MSU Denver faculty,
Let us be among the first to welcome you back to campus to teach a face-to-face class or to support University operations during this fall semester. Metropolitan State University of Denver is committed to the health and safety of our community and the academic success of our students.
As we begin a new semester, we want to share some specific expectations and resources and address your questions and concerns. Attached is an email that was sent to students currently registered for face-to-face classes starting next week. The communication details specific expectations regarding COVID-19 health and safety measures as well as helpful resources. Please review the attached communication.
THE ROLE OF FACULTY RE: HEALTH/SAFETY MEASURES
Just as the University sets baseline expectations for student behavior in ordinary circumstances, we have established expectations for members of our community to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These expectations have been approved by MSU Denver’s administration. While faculty and most staff do not have a primary role to regulate campus wide policy, we do ask that you actively communicate with students about expectations and share any concerns about students who are not adhering to the policy. Additionally, we encourage the following:
- DO refer to the attached communication and/or the Safe Return FAQ’s if students are unclear about expectations for COVID-19-related measures.
- DO communicate with students about any additional classroom expectations to maximize their learning experience, so long as such expectations do not conflict with University-level guidance or policies.
- DO maintain awareness of notable changes in absenteeism.
- DO recognize that individual students may rightfully hold varied opinions and beliefs about the current public health situation as well as the accompanying expectations set forth by the governor and the University. However, regardless of an individual’s personal opinions, the University retains the right to require certain behaviors for individuals to participate in on-campus activities, including class attendance. Please also see these protocols for how to address observed noncompliance.
- DO address any concerning behavior as you would in any other scenario and rely on your own skills and competencies in interpersonal communication or classroom management. Communicate clearly, using verbal de-escalation skills, if needed.
- DO NOT engage in a verbal or physical altercation with any student who defies expectations or University-level COVID-19 polices.
- DO follow up with the Dean of Students Office if you encounter a student who’s behaving in a manner that you believe violates University policy.
- DO call the Auraria Campus emergency dispatch (303-556-5000 or 911 from any campus phone) to respond to any emergency or threat of imminent harm.
FALL 2020 COVID-19 STUDENT RESOURCES
As noted in the attached, the University is highlighting several student services at this time. Please be attentive to the reality that many of the students enrolled in Tier 1 courses this fall may have heightened anxiety about the pandemic and/or current state of affairs, may become ill (in which case they should not come to campus), and/or may be managing myriad COVID-19-related life challenges that could impact their academic success. As such, we encourage the following:
- DO check in on students regarding their overall wellbeing, referring liberally to the resources noted in the attached as needed.
- DO offer reasonable flexibility to students, so long as learning objectives are met.
- DO err on the side of over-communication with students about course expectations, timelines, etc.
COVID-19 Student Resources At-A-Glance
- The Health Center at Auraria is open on-campus and offers no-cost COVID-19 testing. In addition, the Health Center at Auraria offers a wide array of general medical care, sports medicine, GYN and psychiatric mental health services, many of which are offered virtually through telehealth appointments. Most Colorado offered health insurance plans are accepted. Please call (303-615-9999) to schedule an appointment prior to coming directly to the Health Center.
- The Counseling Center offers students no-cost and confidential therapy in a virtual setting in addition to an array of clinical services. Students should call 303-615-9902 to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
- The Student Care Center offers a variety of services to support students with difficult life circumstances that are impacting their academic success or University experience. If you encounter a student in a particularly difficult situation, whether academic, financial or personal, the case management team in the Student Care Center can assist with identifying options and relevant supports. Students can call 303-615-0006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect, or you can refer via a CARE Referral.
Again, welcome back to campus! If there are ways that we can help support you or improve students’ success during this unique time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Bill and Braelin
Bill Henry, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Braelin Pantel, Ph.D.
AVP for Student Engagement & Wellness/Dean of Students