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Student Guide

Student Guide

You’ve faced challenges. And you’ve risen to meet them! Whether you are studying online or on campus, we are here to help you on the path toward graduation. This guide was designed to answer your questions and connect you with essential resources.


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.

Student FAQs

With the spring 2021 semester now underway, Roadrunners are likely to have questions regarding plans for summer 2021 and fall 2021. This FAQ provides the latest information for MSU Denver students as we navigate this journey together.  

Last updated: March 16, 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.

If an online-only student is never required to visit any MSU Denver facility, then a Covid-19 vaccination is not required. All students who come to campus must be vaccinated or follow our exemption process that will require weekly testing for Covid-19.

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.

If you have any questions or need help registering, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an advisor.

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 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.

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,

Yes. Campus is open to any Roadrunner who needs to be there. MSU Denver asks that you follow established health and safety protocols (Spanish version) and use good judgment.

Most MSU Denver offices remain closed for in-person services. But students can access the same great resources virtually. Here’s a list of the top resources for students. Websites for individual offices also detail the best ways to contact them by phone, email or web form. Please look for more communications about the return of in-person services soon.

Many campus businesses and restaurants are open, though some have different hours of operation. All patrons are required to follow MSU Denver’s health and safety protocols while visiting campus businesses.

Yes. Contact Hediyeh Arasteh, director of tutoring, to reserve a space. Email or call 303-615-1919.  

Yes. There are several general study spaces available for Roadrunners who need to be on campus. Seating is limited and operates on a first come, first served basis.  

MSU Denver 

Jordan Student Success Building | Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 

  • The student lounge in 120 is open. 
  • On the first floor, there is seating available in the main 100 common area. 
  • On the second-floor landing (JSSB 216), there is seating at tables available. 

Aerospace and Engineering Sciences | Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

  • Seating is available in student-designated lounges and study areas located on all floors. 
  • 65 seats 

Note: Students shouldn’t be in buildings after they shut down for the evening. 


Auraria Higher Education Center 

Tivoli | Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.  

Tivoli 225 Computer Lab | Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm; Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Science Building 1058 Computer Lab | Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm; Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Administration Building 260 Computer Lab | Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm; Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Library Café | Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

  • 25 seats 

Note: Any shared AHEC buildings that are open on campus have seating in various common areas during operating hours. See this site for more details: 

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. 

If you do not have a campus photo ID, you can get one at the bookstore’s ID station, which is open Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alternately, you can call 303-556-8352 to set up an appointment. Your first ID card has no cost, but replacement cards are $24.

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.

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

As MSU Denver continues to plan for a full return to on-campus operations for fall 2021, Roadrunners are required to follow these health and safety protocols:

  • Perform a daily health assessment before coming to campus.
  • Wear a face covering (mask or face shield) over your nose and mouth at all times on campus when in the presence of others. 
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. 
  • Minimize touching of surfaces. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer on the way in and out of buildings.  
  • Follow signage for designated entrances and exits, as well as those posted in buildings/common areas.  
  • Comply with posted signage in common areas.  

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.

Facilities staff are not able to designate if a room is clean since someone may enter a space immediately after it was cleaned. 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 Instructions on proper use are located with the kit. 

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.

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. 

If you forget your face covering on a given day, call the Health Center to pick one up at 303-615-9999. There are also free face coverings available at the Jordan Student Success Building welcome desk.

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. 

Vaccinations are currently underway at the Auraria Campus Point of Dispensing, located in the 5th Street Garage. Prior to April 2, only Auraria constituents who are eligible for vaccination Phases 1A, 1B.1, 1B.2, 1B.3 and 1B.4 can schedule vaccination upon email invitation from campus partner COVIDCheck Colorado/Primary Bio. These restrictions are likely change on April 2 with the beginning of Phase 2, which includes all Coloradans who were not included in earlier phases. Please note that anyone seeking to be vaccinated must have a confirmed appointment. Those without an appointment will not be accommodated.

Please continue to look for messages from President Davidson and the Auraria Executive Council for updates on vaccine distribution. Information will also be updated regularly on the Health Center at Auraria website. 

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.

Students who test positive for Covid-19 – whether taking classes in person or online – can get support at MSU Denver. After a positive diagnosis or if you suspect you might be infected, your first step should be to call the Health Center at Auraria at 303-615-9999. The Health Center team will provide expert guidance on medical care and next steps to keep you and those around you safe.

A Covid-19 diagnosis is often accompanied by many personal and financial considerations. The case managers at the Student Care Center are here to help respond to your unique circumstances. The Health Center team will put you in touch with Care Center professionals, but you can always contact them directly. Your case manager will answer pressing questions and help you create a personal plan to deal with challenges you might be facing.

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

Please contact the Student Care Center as soon as you realize you may be in this situation. You can email or phone 303-615-0006 or file a CARE Referral form with your information. From there, you’ll connect with a case manager who can talk through options and help you craft a plan to get through this difficult time.

The Health Center at Auraria works with the State Health Department to enact the appropriate response. The State Health Department, in conjunction with County Health Departments, are the agencies responsible for contact tracing. Individuals that test positive 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.


Yes. As of early summer 2020, MSU Denver proactively invested in new technology and training to ensure faculty have what they need to provide high-quality online courses.

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.

Colleges regularly have faculty members who develop unforeseen health problems. 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.

Students with verified medical conditions impacting their ability to engage with their courses should contact the University’s Access Center at 303.615.0200 or to discuss applicable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Appropriate documentation will be required, per the Center’s policies. The professional staff in the Access Center will work with individual students to determine reasonable accommodations. Note: Accommodations are not retroactive; that is, accommodations are effective after an agreement is reached, but do not address prior concerns, needs or situations.

Students who have a preference for online, in-person, or other styles of courses should first speak with their Academic Advisor to determine course/registration options that work best for them and their circumstances. Additionally, department chairs and faculty can also serve as resources to help students understand course offerings and teaching modalities. Note that it may not be possible to address all individual student preferences in a given semester.


MSU Denver has confidential mental health resources available to all currently enrolled students at no additional cost. Please contact the Counseling Center (303-615-9988) or the Health Center at Auraria (303-615-9999) for more information. After-hours mental health crisis support is also available by calling 303-615-9911. Additionally, the Student Care Center provides holistic, non-clinical case management support to MSU Denver students. If you are struggling with personal, financial, or other life circumstances that affect your ability to be successful in school, please contact the Student Care Center by calling 303-615-0006 or filing a CARE report.



Tuition and Fees

On Sept. 4, the University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to increase spring 2021 tuition by 3% for resident and nonresident undergraduate students. This translates to an increase of $8 per credit hour for resident students and $25 for nonresidents. The board also voted to maintain most of the reduced fall 2020 fees structure for spring 2021.

For summer 2021 and fall 2021, the University’s Budget Recommendation Committee is reviewing several 2021-22 tuition scenarios. Any future recommendations and BOT decisions will be promptly communicated to the University community.

Please visit the Bursar website for more information and FAQs on the CollegePass program. 

Events and Travel

Events protocols are dependent on the State of Colorado’s Covid-19 dial for the City and County of Denver. Please see this page for more details.

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. 

Yes. All University-funded or -affiliated travel is suspended through the end of the spring 2021 semester. This policy will be revisited as health and safety guidance evolves.

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 request an exception (proposed by the relevant dean and granted by the provost for academic travel; and proposed by the relevant director or associate vice president and approved by the COO for nonacademic travel). Please contact the Office of International Studies for additional information on study-abroad courses.

This policy does not address personal travel. However, MSU Denver asks its constituents to please act responsibly and either postpone travel plans or take extreme precautionary measures while traveling in any capacity.

Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel During Covid-19 webpage for more information and guidance.


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