MSU Denver

The Roadrunner Safe Return Committee, comprised of members of the university-wide community, continues its work with planning for the full return to campus for fall 2021. The work of the committee is in support to the decision by President Davidson and MSU Denver to fully optimize our campus and classrooms, safely accommodating as many face-to-face classes as possible for the fall 2021 semester. That decision also includes greatly expanding and enhancing online offerings.

Initially formed in the spring of 2020 to address the shifting institutional needs, response and planning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee facilitated the limited return to campus for fall 2020, spring and summer 2021.


The primary charge of the committee is to:

  • 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.

The Road so Far

On February 17, under the leadership of President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., MSU Denver decided to make every effort to optimize our campus and classrooms to safely accommodate as many face-to-face classes as possible for fall 2021 semester, while also greatly expanding and enhancing online offerings. That said, it is urgent that we move into the execution-planning phase.

Guiding principles for the full fall 2021 return:

The continued health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, maximizing our physical space on campus, and using a flexible, phased approach to return

Meet the Team


  • Chair: Leone Dick
  • Co-Chair: Edward J. Brown Jr. – Chief of Staff
  • Support: Jake Leask – Student representative and note taker


Committee Members 

  • Edward J. Brown Jr. – Senior Leadership Team and Roadrunner Safe Return Steering Committee liaison
  • Oscar Lorandi-Duran – Student representative
  • Kailey Osborne – Student representative
  • Maryan Issack – Student representative
  • Sharon Lorince – Facilities and Operations w/ Auraria Committee Liaison and MSU Denver Facilities representative
  • Zack Uszacki – Health Center at Auraria representative and health and medical liaison within tri-institutional Auraria Campus committee
  • Alex Staneski – Dream Team 2021 Committee liaison
  • Jonathan McCann – Planning, Design and Construction liaison
  • Jerrid Oates – Athletics liaison via existing channels
  • Kevin Taylor – Information Technology Services liaison via existing channels
  • Cora Potter – University Events liaison via existing channels
  • Kylie Henson– University Events liaison via existing channels
  • Diane Yee – Ambassador Program liaison and Campus Recreation representative
  • Lindsey Coulter – Brand/reputation/communication liaison via existing Strategy, Marketing and Communication team channels
  • Katia Campbell, Ph.D. – Faculty Senate liaison
  • Christian Hardigree, J.D. – Futures Team liaison
  • Rebecca Reid – Staff Senate liaison
  • Jamie Hurst, J.D. – University Advancement liaison
  • Amanda McClure – Student Communications liaison
  • Ibon Izurieta, Ph.D. – Dean liaison principally in charge of keeping the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and School of Hospitality deans informed
  • Hope Szypulski, Ph.D. – Dean liaison principally in charge of keeping the College of Health and Applied Sciences and School of Education deans informed
  • Andrew Bonham, Ph.D. – Chairs liaison principally in charge of keeping the chairs informed
  • Carrie Colton – Faculty representative via Faculty Senate
  • Emily Willan – Director of Operations and Planning for Student Affairs
  • Braelin Pantel, Ph.D. – Student Care liaison via existing channels
  • Matt Griswold, Ed.D. – Canvas Implementation Committee liaison and Online Learning liaison
  • Connie Sanders – Banner/Coding Committee liaison
  • George Middlemist, Ph.D. – Budget Recommendation Committee and Finance/Budget liaison
  • Amanda Berry – Human Resources liaison
  • Melissa Cermak, Ph.D. – Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility liaison
  • Sam Jay, Ph.D. – Presidential Faculty Fellow and Senior Leadership Team liaison
  • Horacio Borja-Duran – Diversity, equity and inclusion liaison



Meeting Schedule

  • Committee members will meet for 50 minutes every Wednesday via Microsoft Teams through the start of Fall 2021 semester.


Work Groups

Vaccine Work Group

Lead: Edward J. Brown Jr.

Co-Leads: Steve Monaco and Tim Carroll


  • Develop a plan with regard to recommending campus wide vaccination/testing requirements for fall 2021.
  • Develop a plan for educating the campus on the contemporary issues and progress of the Covid-19 vaccination, the history of vaccinations in the US, and vaccines and communities of color.
  • Determine public health and safety protocols for fall 2021.
  • Review protocols when individuals test positive for Covid-19 within the classroom and office spaces on campus.


Communication Work Group

Lead: Lindsey Coulter

Co-Lead: Sam Jay, Ph.D.


  • Develop and implement a communications strategy for routine communications to the campus community with updates on the latest progress and related information for fall 2021.
  • Oversee all communications to the campus community including the writing, development and creation of said communications.


Wellness Work Group

Co-Leads: Richard Miccio, Elizabeth Wellington and Bill Henry, Ph.D.


  • Develop and offer a series of wellness events/programming for students, staff and faculty as we reconnect as a community of Roadrunners, acknowledging the impact of the pandemic on our physical and mental well-being, our return to in-person activity, and our remarkable accomplishments during the pandemic.


Operations Work Group

Lead: Leone Dick


  • Clarify and oversee the phased approach for return to full operations in preparation for fall 2021, allowing departments and units planning and execution.
  • Create and provide tools and support for faculty and staff to return to a fully operational state.
  • Curate operations information for sharing via the Communications Work Group.


Contingency Planning Work Group

Lead: Larry Sampler

Co-Lead: Alfred Tatum, Ph.D.


  • Develop contingency plans for the most likely scenarios that threaten a full return plan for fall 2021.
  • Ensure contingency planning is done in consultation with Auraria Campus partners.
  • Develop a timeline for implementing contingency plans.



Lines of Effort

  • Personnel
  • Return of Services
  • Administrative Office Space
  • Policies
  • Health and Cleaning
  • Finances
  • Events
  • ITS
  • DEI
  • Academics
  • Communications