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October 30, 2020

Dear Mavericks: 

COVID-19 cases continue rising locally and nationwide. This unwelcome trend requires that Mavericks remain committed to both personal wellness and that of colleagues, friends, classmates and the community. While on-campus cases remain low we know not heeding the call to wear masks, maintain social distance and stay home when not feeling well can lead to increased transmission rates. Campus should be proud of the work done thus far to minimize spread. Now let's all remain committed to one another and to our local community this weekend and during the next several weeks.

This week Colorado Mesa University students launched Operation Outbreak — an app-based pandemic simulation. The collaboration with the nation’s leading infectious disease researchers at Broad Institute and Harvard/MIT is among the first developments to come from the Future is Now phase of CMU’s ongoing Safe Together, Strong Together pandemic response plan. 

As of 11:30am on Friday, October 30, around 200 students had downloaded the Operation Outbreak app and were ready to participate in the simulation. The simulation uses a game-like interface and bluetooth technology that models viral spread and contagion based on the behaviors, movements and decisions made by each participating student. 

CMU announced the availability of the download in an email to students while the COVID-19 pandemic leadership class took a lead role facilitating the simulation effort. The rollout also attracted Time magazine’s 2014 person of the year and Harvard researcher Pardis Sabeti who lectured in the leadership class and praised CMU students for the campus’ culture, effort and can-do attitude. 

CMU continues to monitor the case counts on campus. New data posted to the CMU COVID-19 dashboard today reflects sustained virus counts on campus.

In the coming weeks, the Future is Now phase will continue and will result in several tangible and specific ways that CMU can enhance the overall Safe Together, Strong Together campus plan. One example is diagnostics saliva test for future use. This test will make diagnostic results available in 24 hours. The impacts of this test are increased efficiency in the response to positive cases and more timely implementation of isolation and quarantine protocols that can decrease the transmission rate. 

Due to Mesa County recently moving back to the Safer at Home phase, we need to remain vigilant in keeping ourselves and our community safe.

Best,

Safe Together, Strong Together Co-Chairs
John Marshall, Vice President for Student Services
Amy Bronson, EdD, Physician Assistant Program Director