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CMU and COVIDCheck Colorado Team up for Safe Return to Campus

Gary Community Investments' social benefit enterprise will assists with testing, tracking and tracing

Colorado Mesa University announced on Wednesday a partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, a social benefit enterprise created by Gary Community Investments (GCI) to help Coloradans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and safely get back to school, work and daily life. The partnership is an extension of CMU’s Safe Together, Strong Together planning initiative and expands the university’s commitment to working with medical and operational experts maximizing campus safety and a successful student return in August.

The partnership will provide CMU students, faculty and staff access to fast, accurate and affordable COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing tools. Individuals will be able to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test online and get tested at a designated test site on-campus or along the Front Range. Students who live out of state or are unable to go to a designated test site will also have the option of testing themselves using at-home testing kits mailed by COVIDCheck Colorado. Those who test negative for COVID-19 will receive an email while those who test positive will receive a phone call from a telehealth provider who will explain the results and offer support and guidance on next steps. As required by law, positive test results will be reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment.

In addition, COVIDCheck Colorado also makes it possible for all students and staff to regularly track and report symptoms through a HIPAA-compliant downloadable app that will help university officials stop potential outbreaks before they start.

“The purpose of the partnership is to continue CMU’s statewide leadership efforts to safely return to in-person teaching and learning,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “COVIDCheck Colorado’s integrated approach to COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing helps achieve that goal.”

CMU and GCI saw opportunity for collaboration because COVIDCheck Colorado’s mission aligns with CMU’s mission and objective to return to in-person learning.

Mike Johnson is the CEO of Gary Community Investments and believes CMU’s service to a large population of first-generation college students and students eligible for federal Pell Grants makes the moral imperative for higher education that is central to CMU’s return to campus effort a compelling and important area of focus that uniquely aligns COVIDCheck Colorado with CMU.

"Everything we do at Gary Community Investments is motivated by a desire to help the Coloradans who need it most," said Johnston. CMU is committed to finding safe, effective ways to help all of their students make the most of their education by developing a thoughtful and collaborative approach to returning to campus. We are delighted to partner with CMU in providing regular, reliable information about staff and student health that will inform President Foster's plans to enhance campus safety and deliver a world class education at the same time."

Colorado Mesa University launched preliminary students testing in June, 2020 through joint efforts with Community Hospital. The preliminary screening test identified an asymptomatic case that was quickly isolated, and contact traced and resulted in no known campus exposures.

“Initial testing protocols have worked as designed,” said Safe Together, Strong Together Co-Chair Amy Bronson, EdD who helped organize the first testing clinic to train students on how to conduct the virus testing.

“The new partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado will build on our initial success and should give parents and students and CMU staff a sense of confidence that we are doing all we can to optimize our response to COVID-19,” said Bronson.

Students, faculty and staff received communication on July 21 with instructions about testing locations and procedures. Under the partnership, students living on Colorado's Front Range will choose between a number of physical testing sites to visits. On-campus testing will be available for students, faculty and staff starting on Monday, July 27 and continuing through August 13. Students residing outside of these regions will be eligible for at home test kits.

CMU officials will be hosting an information meeting for parents and students on Thursday, July 23.

Additional testing information can found here.

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Written by David Ludlam