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May 28, 2020

Here's a high-level summary of this week's activities from some of the Safe Together, Strong Together (ST2) planning initiative Task Force:


Mesa County Phase 2 Variance  

While COVID-19 has proven to be unpredictable and has had a substantial impact on some communities, Mesa County has had relatively few cases of COVID-19 while demonstrating a resilient community and robust public health system. Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is well equipped with testing and contact tracing capabilities. Moreover, our local hospital partners have sufficient capacity to care for any rise in COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization. Because of those factors, Mesa County received approval of a phase 2 variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) easing restrictions from the statewide public health order. Approval of this variance may expedite CMU’s ability to continue to carefully open some facilities and/or services on a slightly accelerated timetable. We continue to work closely with MCPH and our health and medical advisory team and are continuing to advance reopening plans to them for review. And with each passing week, we learn more and our process gets smoother.  This is positive news for the community and campus. 


Stepping forward together: a return to campus for employees

Colorado Mesa University employees who have been working remotely will begin returning to campus June 1, starting with members of senior management team and directors, department heads and supervisors. During early June, supervisors and building leaders will evaluate and, if necessary, update or modify workspaces. Employees will complete an online course to familiarize themselves with their new Safe Together Strong Together responsibilities. CMU will phase employees back onto campus starting mid-June. We anticipate all staff returning to campus following the July 4 holiday. Final details were released to campus on May 28. Employees should check their e-mail for further guidance.


Admissions Welcome Center

Starting June 1, the Admissions Welcome Center will reopen and be operational Monday through Friday from 8am–5pm. Tours will be conducted by appointment only Monday through Saturdays with only one family at a time to minimize any large crowds. Staff and guests will be required to wear cloth face masks, practice social distancing and utilize best hygiene practices. Hours and visit options starting July 1 will be determined in June. No information sessions or large programming events will be held for the time being. Plans for major visitation events like Mesa Experience are still in development. Staff will continue to make themselves available virtually via Zoom and other technologies for interested students and parents.


Residence Life - Move in

In preparation for the start of classes, a testing trial was conducted with 64 students this week to pilot a system to test all students residing on campus. Based on this pilot, modifications to plans are being made in real-time to modify logistics for a broader testing protocol in the fall. The health and medical advisory team is continuing to work through the myriad of logistics to safely move students into residence halls in August. Testing protocols for campus residents, the rest of campus (non-residents, non-athletes) are also being developed in tandem and details will be forthcoming on both.


Summer Camps

Based on new guidance and plans presented to the ST2 medical and healthcare advisory committees last week, camps will proceed in a limited manner compared to previous years. Both WCCC and Eureka Science Museum will host camps following guidance from Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) and the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Camps will be limited to 10 campers and one staff member based on state guidance. Campers and staff will be required to wear masks and may remove them when appropriate.


Academic Adaptations – Lectures and Masks

The ST2 team is evaluating options based on current research regarding faculty who lecture for a long period of time and the feasibility and safety to do so with a face mask, shield or proper distancing. Maintaining a 12-foot distance is guidance published by the CDPHE and confirmed by MCPH that may enable faculty to lecture without a mask or shield.


Looking Ahead

Plans are in development for food service, public spaces, gymnasiums and Student Life among other items. The task force envisions reviewing those plans next week and will update the campus as decisions are made.