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The latest on Covid-19 and campus operations

An update on vaccination and testing efforts.

By Larry Sampler, chief operating officer

September 9, 2021

Larry SamplerDear Roadrunners, 

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, I and other senior leaders have committed to staying positive and optimistic. While state, national and global infection and vaccination trends haven’t always been promising, we believe in the Metropolitan State University of Denver community.

We have remained confident and grounded in the fact that Roadrunners care for and respect one another and that all students and employees understand that this pandemic requires a high level of personal responsibility. I am proud of everyone who has stepped up to get vaccinated, who has worn a mask and who has sacrificed a bit of personal comfort for the safety and well-being of their fellow students or colleagues.  

That said, Covid-19 is still a reality on our campus. While the overwhelming majority of students and employees have adhered to the University’s vaccination requirement, we are not at 100%. Thanks to our rigorous tracking-and-testing requirement for Roadrunners who remain unvaccinated, however, we have been able to quickly identify cases, enforce minimum seven-day quarantine periods (with repeat testing on Day Five) and avoid widespread impacts. Additionally, we are working with faculty members to establish seating charts to better determine odds of exposure should a positive case appear in their classroom. Quarantine numbers are already dropping thanks to these seating charts and being able to use "close contact" quarantine methods. 

We also are working diligently to connect with all Roadrunners whose vaccination status remains unclear, and we are swiftly addressing testing noncompliance in student and employee populations. Since the beginning of the academic year, I am pleased that hundreds of students who were initially unvaccinated have chosen to get their shots, and we continue to advocate for vaccination.

Additionally, we continue to actively gather data and refine systems, policies and procedures in anticipation of the spring semester as we again hope to offer a full roster of in-person classes and learning opportunities. Some of this data will soon be available in an updated iteration of the Covid-19 dashboard.

Increased testing 

The Health Center at Auraria is also reporting an uptick in people seeking Covid-19 testing on campus. While this may initially sound like a cause for alarm, I see this as proof that people are taking even mild symptoms or potential exposure very seriously. As I said last week, if you are feeling sick in any way, shape or form, do not dismiss your symptoms as allergies, a cold, etc. Instead, take an abundance of precaution and do not come to campus unless it is to get tested for Covid-19. That will mean being flexible with one another as accommodations may have to be made. 

Masking requirements 

As a reminder, MSU Denver requires masking indoors and in all instructional spaces for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals per the following:  

  • Masks should cover the nose and mouth; bandannas and gaiters are not permitted.
  • Face shields will be permitted as an alternative face covering only with appropriate medical documentation from a licensed physician.
  • Masks are not required outdoors but may be advised in large group settings.
  • Students in the classroom must wear masks at all times.
  • Outside of the classroom, vaccinated individuals may remove masks indoors only when 6 feet away from other individuals. (Example: a professor teaching 6 feet from students; in an office cubicle with a minimum of 6 feet of distance to others; or when in a private office, with or without the door open.)
  • All individuals may briefly unmask when actively eating or drinking; however, when indoors, unvaccinated individuals should find a location away from others to eat.

Check out the Safe Return Faculty Staff Guide, including guidelines around student mask noncompliance. For any questions not addressed on the website, please contact  

Thank you again for your hard work in supporting our safe return to campus.  


Larry Sampler  
Vice president for Administration, Finance and Facilities and chief operating officer 

Topics: Administration, Health, Safety

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