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September 12, 2020

CMU's Safe Together, Strong Together plan is working as designed and receiving favorable statewide and national attention recently.

After a successful baseline testing phase, CMU's transition to random testing protocols identified a positive case within one of the football Mavily units. This identification allowed CMU's contact tracing team to quarantine members of the team and begin testing them immediately.

"Positive cases of COVID-19 can never be considered good news, but the encouraging news is that the framework and infrastructure built over the last four months is working as designed," said Vice President John Marshall, co-chair of the ST2 task force. "Even better is that with each case, each contact and each new development our team is learning and integrating continuous improvement every day," he added.

According to the Chronical of Higher Education, of 3000 colleges surveyed approximately 20% are operating in person. This places CMU in an enviable position. Maintaining this position takes considerable cooperation and investment, but the commitment to learning remains strong.

One example of real-time integration of improvements is the launching of CMU's new data dashboard. The new dashboard, while constantly improving and evolving, represents the university’s ongoing commitment to transparency and relevant data. The new tool is being developed in conjunction with Mesa County Public Health. The data exchange between CMU and the health agency continues to improve.

You may have seen that CPR hosted President Tim Foster and Dr. Amy Bronson on this week’s edition of Colorado Matters. While that interview was being scheduled, CMU was also contacted by two other national publications seeking information about how and why the university is experiencing preliminary success. Attention from the likes of Harvard, MIT and national science leaders continues to open doors for CMU to expand the ongoing efforts to protect the Mavily.

Some of the recent statewide and national attention is a result of the two pilot projects underway that are being managed by students and faculty. The first includes the wastewater testing program alongside the saliva testing protocol which kicked off this week. If successful, these and other CMU innovations may be exported to support other institutions in the community.

In the era of a pandemic, good news is relative. Given the circumstances CMU is still optimistic about the chances of remining open this fall.