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October 13, 2020

THE FUTURE IS NOW

The next phase of Colorado Mesa University’s pandemic response plan

The future is inevitable but what it looks like is predicated on today’s choices. Colorado Mesa University’s return to campus plan for Spring 2021 begins now.

Success of the first phase of the pandemic response plan — called Safe Together, Strong Together (or ST2 for short) — leaves no doubt that students are stronger when together. The Future is Now plan will build on this established foundation of strength. A strength that will lead CMU through the face of future adversity.

Like the preceding planning initiative, the new plan is based on values. These values are derived from CMU’s mission and our belief that higher education is vital to societal stability—it creates and expands opportunity for all people.

Starting today, CMU embarks on the next phase of our pandemic response. In the previous effort uncertainty around the pandemic meant little was known about the ultimate chance for success. Fortunately, the Future is Now plan will be designed around an existing base of knowledge. This base was established through partnerships, field innovation, technology and an institutional confidence that resulted from a plan that didn’t just strive for the outcomes of pandemic response goals, but came from the plans’ adherence to values.

The things we didn’t know before we know now.

We didn’t know what contact tracing was—now we are experts, and accomplishing between dozens and hundreds of trace calls per week. We didn’t know how to test for a virus--now we have developed mass testing capabilities using numerous methods. We didn’t fully appreciate how important our responsibilities were to each other, but now we know they are essential even beyond the pandemic. We didn’t have national partners. Now, CMU is working with Harvard/MIT/the Broad Institute, Gary Community Investments/COVID Check Colorado, Mesa County Public Health, St. Mary’s Hospital, Community Hospital and many other medical and public health partners whose support bodes well for our future.

As we welcome the future by optimizing our existing campus plan, we will communicate details as we finalize plans for the spring.

Spring Courses and Registration

CMU made tremendous strides this fall returning to in-person, face-to-face learning. CMU will continue to apply innovations that enable us to maximize time and space to increase in-person options. Student will notice that more classes will be face-to-face and fewer will be hybrid. In fact, as students register they will be able to see which classes are in-person, hybrid, or fully online from its entry in the scheduling software. This feature enables students to transparently build schedules that meet their learning needs.

Spring Break

Spring Break is a long-held university tradition, and one that we will maintain at CMU. However, in order to minimize spread of COVID-19 throughout the larger community, CMU will follow the recommendation of the Academic Adaptations committee scheduling a Spring Break that mirrors the Fall 2020 semester calendar. Under the Future is Now plan there will be a single day for Midterm Break and a modified Spring Break of May 3-7. The week following spring break will consist of remote instruction, followed by a week for final exams. This will allow us to reduce unnecessary travel into and out of Mesa County while also preserving the ability of our university community to make traditional plans if desired.

The Future is Now phase focuses on operational optimization. This focus acknowledges the existence of a robust, pandemic management infrastructure at CMU. The next phase of the plan utilizes existing best practices, robust partnerships and new technological platforms used to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

We look forward to sharing more details about spring in the near future.

 

Tim Foster, President