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May 22, 2020

Across campus critical work has been happening on our return to campus planning initiative — Safe Together, Strong Together. Here's a high-level summary of this past week's activities:

  • Campus Walkthrough by Medical Contributors and Advisors
    We were joined by Dr. Yumi Lee from Community Hospital and CMU's infectious disease advisor, and Erin Minnerath, St. Mary's Hospital infection prevention manager, in a campus walkthrough. We have evaluated a variety of spaces and are actively exploring options for a safe return to residence halls, classrooms and the like.

    Our current focus is on residence halls, for perhaps obvious reasons. Our medical advisors, in collaboration with Residence Life, are developing safety protocols for when students return to residence halls this fall. We are exploring on-campus living arrangements categorized into “family units” — be that a suite, hall or apartment — wherein we can then test and isolate students (if needed) as members of their “family unit.” As additional guidelines are released by local, state and national public health experts, CMU will continue to refine and add further details for review by the medical experts and advisors. More details will be forthcoming.


  • Testing Supplies and Protocols
    Thanks to our partners at Community Hospital, CMU was able to procure some initial, albeit limited, testing supplies and we are quickly moving forward with development of testing protocols. An initial shipment of thermal thermometers were delivered this week, and we are also in the midst of finalizing the procurement of a large shipment of swabs and other testing supplies. We are incredibly appreciative of their help.


  • Academic Adaptations for Summer II and Health Sciences Labs
    A review of our academic adaptations for the second summer module, starting June 22, has been reviewed and approved by our health and medical review team. While this four-week session has just over 100 students registered for face-to-face classes, it will serve as an important trial run for our planned fall adaptations. Plans include capping course registrations (luckily CMU already has relatively few large classes), placing classes in classrooms with far higher capacity than the students enrolled to allow 6-foot social distancing, scheduling classes in the same building physically away from each other and not scheduling two sequential classes in the same space to allow for sanitization between uses. Chairs will be removed to ensure we adhere to protocol. Masks will be required and hallways will be modified to create one-way traffic flows. We are also temporarily removing access to lounge furniture. Again, plans for fall are far from complete but these changes for our second summer session will provide some lessons learned and aid us in those plans.

    The Department of Health Sciences developed protocols to modify how the simulation center and other labs will be used to both ensure proper training of students while fully utilizing best practices for social distancing, and daily symptom tracking and temperatures taken prior to entry and use. We're excited to get the next generation of healthcare providers back on campus.


  • Fall semester calendar update 
    In collaboration with local public health leaders on our health and medical review team, we are planning to return in early August as per the original campus calendar, however the end of the semester will be modified. The last week of classes and finals will be conducted remotely. This change, made with campus safety in mind, ensures that after students and faculty travel for Thanksgiving they won't return with asymptomatic cases of the virus, which could be spread to the whole CMU community. In addition, we will have a contingency plan of a Flex Week that can be utilized if a return to solely online instruction is required at some point in the semester. The Flex Week would serve as a time for students to move out of residence halls and faculty to transition to online instruction. If the Flex Week is utilized, it will push the end of the semester one week later in December. As of this afternoon, our executive committee of health and medical experts has given final approval of this plan. Faculty will also be publishing a disruption plan and remote learning expectations in their syllabi.


  • Summer Camps and Outdoor Program
    Looking ahead, we are actively working with the health and medical review team on plans for WCCC and athletic summer camps. Initial plans have been reviewed, are in the final stages of development and are on track to start on June 1. We are also exploring options for the Outdoor Program to reopen on a limited basis for equipment rentals.

  • COVID Update
    Our health and medical advisors reported that three weeks into Mesa County's reopening, fortunately the county has seen no new cases despite increased testing. The county has not reported a new case since May 7, which is evidence that currently we are not having ongoing, sustained community transmission.


  • Return to Work on Campus
    Finally, our Safe Together, Strong Together Task Force is making progress on plans for employees to begin the return to work. This plan is being developed and new information will be available next week. 


We'll continue to bring you regular updates. In the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out with questions or ideas.