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July 6, 2020

Dear Campus Community:

The national conversation around COVID-19 testing is also occurring at Colorado Mesa University. The CMU Safe Together, Strong Together response team has remained vigilant during a very stressful time and is focused on creating a comprehensive campus testing program.

We know members of our campus community are going to contract COVID-19. This seems a near certainty. But through personal responsibility and campus-wide commitment to safety protocols, we can limit spread.

A cornerstone of this spread prevention effort includes determining who has contracted the virus, and then initiating subsequent contact tracing to identify who has been exposed. It is critical CMU establish a testing baseline and then track the virus throughout the semester . This strategy necessitates that every member of the CMU community (students, faculty and staff) be tested prior to returning to campus this fall.

To develop a comfort level with participation, reviewing what experts know about COVID-19 testing may be helpful. Information from the Center of Disease Control is available here. The CDC guide answers a variety of questions including the differences between a viral test and an antibody test.

The Safe Together, Strong Together team has concluded the safest path forward includes performing baseline viral testing for all members of the campus community. We anticipate that testing will commence July 27 and continue through August 13. The outcome will be an important metric to inform decision making, and to slow spread and transmission of COVID-19 on campus.

Once a baseline is established, ongoing viral surveillance testing will occur at random throughout the semester. Ongoing monitoring will help determine if and when more restrictive measures may be appropriate.

Campus Population Pre-Semester Testing Required Subject to Surveillance Testing Throughout Fall Term*
Faculty/Staff Yes Yes
On-Campus Resident Students Yes Yes
Off-Campus Students, Mesa County Residents Yes Yes
Off-Campus Students, Non-Mesa County Residents** Yes Yes

*Ongoing campus surveillance testing will be accomplished by selecting a rolling random sample of faculty, staff and students to achieve an ongoing snapshot of the campus prevalence rate.

**Students, faculty or staff that will not be on campus for the fall (i.e., exclusively online) may apply for a waiver.

CMU has established an agreement with testing provider LabCorp to acquire the supplies necessary to accomplish the testing program. More details will follow that include location of sampling sites, dates and times of testing, and the waiver process.

Testing is an important tool for a safe return to campus. Our team will continue to provide more information about CMU’s testing approach in a forthcoming Safe Together, Strong Together report. Precise details for the scheduling, site location and logistics of campus testing will also be forthcoming. Thank you for your continued vigilance in helping us all return to campus safely.

Sincerely,

John Marshall, Vice President and Co-Chair Safe Together, Strong Together
Amy Bronsons, EdD, Physicians Assistant Program Director and Co-Chari Safe Together, Strong Together