Warner College COVID-19 Resources

Warner College of Natural Resources, along with all of Colorado State University, is moving to virtual operations due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Our primary concern is the health and safety of all of our community members and so we are committed to doing what is necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19.

We are working to support students throughout this evolving situation. This website will be updated as information and additional resources become available.

While this situation is far less than ideal in many ways, the College is committed to providing enriching educational experiences, regardless of their format, to all of our students. There are also opportunities to engage in community throughout this trying time in development. Please check this site for those virtual community engagement opportunities and help us keep our Warner spirit alive.

To our students we say: we hope the transition is going as well as possible for you, but if you have any needs you cannot find resources for, or questions for the College, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Faculty and Staff email for questions, concerns and issues to the College. 

Student email for questions, concerns and issues to the College. 

Warner Ram Mya Hunter shares remote learning strategies

We are Warner – even when we’re not together physically

Warner college contact info
ESS contact info
FWCB contact info
FRS contact info
GEO contact info

Health and Wellness

Be mindful of your physical health

Please be mindful of your physical health during this challenging time.
If you feel sick, follow the guidelines under the Health and Wellness section of CSU’s Corona Virus webpage.

Mental Health and Anxiety

Take care of yourself

This crisis is a stressful time for many of us. Please take care of yourself, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Please contact the CSU Health Network immediately if you need support.

General Updates

Physical Access to Campus

  • Morgan Library is physically closed, except for two hours/day for pickup and drop off. They are  available virtually to help with research needs. If you need a laptop, you may check one out. 
  • Campus buildings are closed. If you need access, please contact your supervisor or department chair who will assess special circumstances. 
  • Because campus is running on essential personnel only, labs run by the College of Liberal Arts are closed. 
  • The CSU Health Network is open for limited services.  

Fall Semester FAQ

This Fall Semester FAQ answers many questions regarding what the University is planning for Fall at this point.

Warner College Events

All Warner College events for the rest of the spring semester are being postponed, cancelled, or shifting to virtual engagements. Watch for updates regarding specific events.

Spring Commencement

We know that many of you have worked extremely hard to complete your degrees with us and we are terribly sorry that we won’t be able to celebrate with you together in May. However, we hope that many of you will be able to return to campus for a combined Spring/Fall Commencement Ceremony in December. Details regarding Commencement, diplomas, and regalia can be found on the WCNR Commencement page.

Warner College Zoom Backgrounds

Enhance your temporary virtual environments with some Warner College virtual Zoom background options.

University and College Messages

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

As the child of parents who both served in the United States Armed Forces, I am deeply grateful for this annual day of remembrance of all those who have given their lives for our country.  To those of you in our CSU community who serve, who have served; Thank you, on behalf of our entire community.  And to those of you who are remembering today family members, friends, and colleagues who served, my thoughts are with you.

This year’s Memorial Day has been profoundly affected by COVID-19, of course, with previously scheduled parades and ceremonies either canceled or significantly scaled back all across the country.  But we remember those we have lost—and we still celebrate and honor them, even though this year we cannot come together to do so.

As many of you know, I grew up near Washington, DC, not far from Arlington National Cemetery.  I am sure some of you have been there, or at least driven past it during a visit to DC, while others have seen photographs.  But the sheer size of Arlington is hard to explain—it’s larger in acreage than our entire Fort Collins campus.  And it is impossible to capture the solemnity of its rows after rows of simple white headstones in photos or through the window of a car.  One of my staff members, whose father is buried at Arlington, recalled recently the experience of following the ceremonial horses carrying the honor guard through the cemetery, and being struck by the clarity of the sound of the horses’ hooves on the ground, echoing off the marble slabs all around.

I am remembering Arlington National Cemetery today, and the countless places around the country where our men and women in uniform are laid to rest.  These places are peaceful, beautiful, and powerful symbols of the great hearts of those who have given their lives for our country.  We don’t need parades to remember those hearts, to honor them, and to be proud to have lived beside them.

Happy Memorial Day to all of you.



Happy Thursday, everyone,

As I shared at the beginning of this week, I’m shifting to a Monday and Thursday campus message schedule for the summer.  Over the next weeks and months, I will use these emails to update all of you on our plans to resume on-campus operations, relaunch in-person learning, and restore the sense of community that we all derive from being on campus.

But tonight I want to call attention to something that is not resuming, relaunching, or being restored at CSU: research.

That’s because the Research enterprise at CSU is so extensive, so urgent, and so diverse, that we define it as an essential function of our institution.  So even when classes went online and the majority of our employees went home to work, many of our research labs stayed open.

They stayed open to work on not one, not two, but four potential COVID-19 vaccines.

They stayed open to exhaustively test hundreds of existing drugs, compounds and chemicals to see if they might be tools in the fight against the virus that causes COVID-19.

They stayed open to test new surveillance approaches to reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks among vulnerable populations, while also helping workers and companies return to normal productivity and function.

They stayed open to partner across campus and with local businesses to produce hand sanitizer to help protect essential employees across our community.

And they stayed open to work with business partners in our community to develop a ventilator that could be quickly manufactured and deployed to help address shortages of these lifesaving devices.

I know that the CSU community is not prone to bragging; we let our work speak for itself.  That’s what we’re doing in this critical moment: while many other institutions are focused on announcing a research reopening, we’re focused on continuing to conduct the incredible research we’ve been doing all along.

Nonetheless, I am excited to tell you all that we will indeed be expanding research operations in the next few weeks, bringing more researchers back into their labs and out to their fieldwork. That means next steps on dozens of exciting projects from every College and discipline, and it means innovative STEM research, impactful social science research, humanities interrogations of our world, and creative explorations in a variety of genres and media.

So to all of our researchers—faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads—and to everyone across CSU who supports their work: thank you.  Under ordinary circumstances, it might not feel like much to simply assert that we’ve continued to work.  But these are not ordinary circumstances, and CSU is not an ordinary place. We continue our extraordinary research under extraordinary conditions, and for that we should all be extraordinarily proud.



Happy Monday, everyone,

Our Spring 2020 semester is over; congratulations to all of you—students, faculty, and staff—for making it through!  And thank you all for staying engaged with your colleagues, your students, your teachers, and your friends these last few months.  This has been a difficult time for all of us, and we know that the uncertainty is not over.

That’s why I will continue to communicate with all of you throughout the summer via these emails.  I also encourage those of you who use social media to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.  I’ll be staying active on those platforms this summer too.

What I want to tell you all today is that effective this week, I’m shifting to a Monday and Thursday campus message schedule.


I want to urge all of you to take care of yourselves this summer, whether you are teaching virtually, caring for family at home, working remotely, reporting to campus in person, or some combination of these things.  One way I hope to do that is by urging you to free up your calendar on Fridays throughout the summer.  For every meeting you move off of Friday on your calendar, that’s a meeting someone else gets to move off of their Friday calendar too, so it’s a decision that pays forward.

I know that “no-meeting Fridays” are simply not feasible for all of you, whether because you teach five days a week or interact directly with our incoming students and their families in Orientation.  And I know that for others, not scheduling meetings on Fridays doesn’t feel helpful; many of you work enormously long hours in labs, in the field, or in our campus facilities without spending much time in meetings at all.

But I hope you can all find some way to step back, take a deep breath, and put yourself first this summer.  That may mean saying no to new projects, turning off your phone in the evening, or scheduling earned annual leave—and then using it to truly relax.  It may mean committing to no-meeting Fridays, or no-meeting Mondays, for that matter.

And as you take whatever steps work for you, I ask you all to continue to demonstrate the incredible compassion and empathy that makes CSU such a special place.  Encourage colleagues to take time off—and then don’t email them while they’re out!  Try to be flexible in scheduling meetings and calls.  When you get ready to email someone and see their out-of-office message pop up, read it before you hit send.  Whether that out-of-office message says that they are on vacation, caring for a sick loved one, or just taking the afternoon off to celebrate their child’s birthday, take a moment to think: Do I need to send this message now, or can it wait?

That’s essentially what I’m trying to do in shifting my email schedule to all of you.  There may be urgent information I need to share on a Friday this summer; if there is, I won’t hesitate to share.  But otherwise, I pledge to email you only on Mondays and Thursdays for the next few months.  As I did this semester, I’ll share updates about our COVID-19 recovery plan, our budget, our Fall semester, and exciting news and achievements from around the university.

I am often in awe of this community’s energy and passion for our land-grant mission.  I don’t want us to lose those things, because the world needs them from us now more than ever!  So please, take care of yourselves and one another, so we continue to do the extraordinary work we do to change this world for the better.



Happy Wednesday, everyone,

As you know, I recently outlined a comprehensive planning process for the university’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am energized to lead this process, working in collaboration with CSU’s public health experts, researchers, administrative leadership, and our faculty, staff, and students.

After I announced our planning process, I asked what questions were uppermost in your minds.  Many of you responded – thank you! Some of you will receive a response directly from an appropriate unit at the university. Those questions that we heard most frequently and urgently are answered in this video.

I’ll caution you that this would not fly on TikTok. It’s long and substantive. I hope many of you will choose to watch the whole video, but I know you are all busy, especially during Finals Week.  Further down in this message, I’ve included the time stamps for the various questions we address, so you can just go to one in particular.

Please also note that when we recorded this video footage, the state of Colorado was predicting $2 billion in budget cuts for fiscal year 2021, which we knew would profoundly impact higher education.  That is the number I cite in the video. Yesterday morning, however, the General Assembly released a new forecast that puts the estimated cuts for the coming year at more than $3 billion. While this a daunting number, it is in line with what the CSU System has already been planning for and modeling around.  Our discussions are moving forward as I’ve outlined in previous communications.

I am grateful to be joined in answering these questions by the co-chairs of CSU’s Pandemic Preparedness Team, Marc Barker and Lori Lynn. Together, we address the following questions:

  • When will we know whether the Fall semester will be virtual or in-person? 2:18
  • How will CSU keep everyone healthy when we are back together on campus? 3:31
  • What can you tell us about budget projections, and about any possible budget reductions that may directly impact employee salaries and employment statuses? 6:47
  • What can you tell us about returning to work and reopening the campus for meetings and events? 8:28
  • Who is serving on the various groups that are managing our recovery process and how can our diverse campus community provide input during this process? 12:47

Some of the information we provide, and more, can be found in materials online:

Thank you all for your continued engagement in and commitment to our recovery process.



Happy Monday evening, Everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend before the weather turned and that your week has started off well. As we wrap up the Spring 2020 semester—in a very different place than when we started it—I invite all of you to share in the pride I feel in our community. I am incredibly proud of our students, whether they are about to graduate or are about to finish their first year. And I am proud of the dedicated faculty and staff who have maintained our commitment to our students during this strange and challenging time.

As I shared with students early last week, federal CARES Act Emergency Aid has been made available to many students at CSU, administered by the CSU Office of Financial Aid. To-date, we have disbursed more than $3.2 million to more than 2,600 of our students.

What you may not know is that unfortunately, some of our students are not eligible for CARES Act aid: including our international and undocumented students, as well as students who, for a variety of reasons, no longer qualify for federal student aid.

I’m proud to assure you all that thanks to our wonderful teams in the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of the Vice President for Student Life, and the Office of Enrollment, CSU has activated institutional and private funding sources to help meet the needs of these students. In fact, to-date we have provided varying levels of aid outside of CARES Act funds to about 400 students, including 218 undocumented Coloradans who qualify for in-state tuition via the ASSET bill. Each of these students received $1,500. The university awarded those grants in the same manner that we awarded CARES Act funding, based on an assessment of individual student need.

I wish I could list here every staff and faculty member who has gone above and beyond these past few months to maintain and strengthen our commitment to our students. But there really wouldn’t be space. What I can do is re-affirm that everyone at CSU truly does think of our students first, no matter what the context or situation. That’s why in addition to outright grants and monetary relief, we have provided continued employment this semester for student workers who needed it. We’ve provided and even expanded student support services both residentially and virtually. And we’ve made sure that CSU’s food pantry is open and stocked to feed all members of our community experiencing food insecurity.

So students, as you prep for exams and put the finishing touches on final papers, remember that you are always in our thoughts and in our hearts. And to those of you who make CSU such a wonderful home for our students, thank you! I wish you all easy grading this week, fun Teams meetings, lighter inboxes, and a return of sunshine outside your windows.



Happy Friday Evening, Everyone,

I’ve heard from some of you that you interrupt your much-deserved and much-needed down time every time a message from me comes through.  I appreciate that.  This message is thoughtful but not urgent. Please, don’t interrupt your weekend for this message; just read and reflect on it when you have time.


Fifty years ago tonight, the first academic building on our campus, Old Main, was on fire.

It had been a day of campus marches and protests against the Vietnam War. Some students advocated a strike—others opposed it. It was a time of deep division in our nation, even here at CSU. But when the flames became visible, and before the Fort Collins Fire Department could even reach the scene, those divided students came together with a single, common purpose: to help in any way they could. Faculty and community members soon joined them.

Some ran toward the flames. Between 50 and 100 students assisted firefighters with the hoses. Others joined campus police as student marshals to assist with crowd control and guard other buildings through the night.

By morning, the building was little more than a smoldering ruin. But the students were still there, some cleaning bricks from collapsed portions of the building to preserve them for a memorial.

In the face of an unexpected challenge, the CSU community came together. They stepped up and did what was needed. It was a historic moment.

I think that’s an amazing metaphor for what’s happening today with COVID-19. We’re facing a much larger challenge and its impact is being felt on a global scale. But CSU is here, doing what’s needed and making a difference.

Right now, CSU researchers are making good progress on COVID-19 vaccine development and have some early and exciting indications of candidate vaccine efficacy in pre-clinical models.

They’re also starting to evaluate plasma from recovered COVID patients for neutralizing antibodies of protection, which provides us with important information for potential use as a therapeutic treatment for those currently suffering with the disease.

Another cross-disciplinary CSU team includes infectious disease researchers, computer data modelers, and graduate students. They are leading an effort to identify “silent carriers” among healthcare workers—those who are infected with the virus but show no symptoms—in order to minimize the chance they will unwittingly infect vulnerable residents of long-term care communities and facilities.

CSU Extension continues to do what they do best—empowering the people of Colorado through engagement, education, and opportunity—but at a safe distance. They’re working in local communities to address immediate needs like mask-making for hospitals and public distribution and assisting food pantries, while sparking national efforts like the Victory Garden: Grow and Give initiative that updates and modernizes the World War II Extension-developed idea.

CSU engineers partnered with Fort Collins-based Woodward, Inc., to develop a low-cost, durable ventilator that could be quickly manufactured and deployed if the state faced shortages. They used a natural gas fuel injector as a key component and earned a shout-out from Governor Polis last week as “a great example of Colorado innovation and ingenuity.” The project, currently in the clinical testing stage, also received a $100,000 award from the U.S. Army.

There’s more, a lot more than I can tell you about in what’s supposed to be a relatively short, end-of the week message!

But fifty years from now, others will be looking back at this historic moment and how the CSU community came together to respond in so many different ways. It’s an extraordinary thing to see, but in many ways it’s business-as-usual for Colorado State University, a place where meeting the challenges and improving people’s lives is really why we’re here. And to be a part of that makes me so proud.

So we end the week with a short history lesson and a look at some of the terrific work happening right now. Today marks the end of this semester’s academic instruction and our students and faculty are turning their attention to final exams. At the beginning of the week, I’ll be back to talk about some of what comes next.

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay healthy and have a wonderful weekend!



Hello Everyone,

Like many of you, I’ve recently had reason to explore options for virtual celebrations, whether for a birthday, graduation, or other important milestone. Congratulating and recognizing someone remotely can be done with a simple swipe in your text app, to make balloons or fireworks appear, but in the past few weeks, I’ve seen or heard about many more creative ideas, from the ubiquitous “Zoom-bombing” to personalized memes and videos, and from coordinated costume parties on Teams meetings to more formal replications of awards ceremonies, complete with a red-curtain backdrop and virtual podium.

These past few weeks, we have been rightly celebrating colleagues and community members for their extraordinary contributions to our university during COVID-19. I believe that we need to celebrate the things that we would regularly celebrate too.

At CSU, the spring is also the moment in the academic year when we hear about and rejoice in the incredible achievements of our students on the national stage. I have shared the names of some of our student recipients of national scholarships in previous messages, but just haven’t had the opportunity to share them all . . . so I’m doing so now:

Thany Dykson—Critical Language Scholarship (program suspended for Summer 2020)

Natalie Montecino—Critical Language Scholarship (program suspended for Summer 2020)

David Atkins—Fulbright Scholarship

Hannah Hurlbut—Fulbright Scholarship

Raegen Petch—Goldwater Scholarship

Jessica Roberts—Goldwater Scholarship

Izabella Mastroianni—NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Bradly Burke—Life Sciences: Microbial Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Lily Durkee—Life Sciences: Ecology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Arielle Hay—Life Sciences: Microbial Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Kirsten Hein—Life Sciences: Genetics, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Grace Johnston—Life Sciences: Plant Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Ian Moseley—Chemistry: Chemical Synthesis, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Amanda Shick—Engineering: Mechanical Engineering, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Sarah Greichen—Truman Scholarship

Brianne Lauro—Truman Scholarship

Brianne Lauro—Udall Scholarship

These young people are—like so many of their classmates—exceptional. They are passionate, determined, and committed to changing our world for the better.

Many of these students have publicly affirmed what we all know, which is that our CSU faculty and staff are wonderful teachers, mentors, and advisors.  In their offices, classrooms, labs, and out in the field, they model for our students how to go farther, push harder, and think outside the box. This past Monday, May 4, we announced the full slate of our annualCELEBRATE Award Winners, faculty and staff whom we honor and thank for the excellence and commitment of their teaching, research, service and engagement. Congratulations, all of you!

Even you don’t know these students, faculty or staff members, I still encourage you to read more about them, and to take pride in knowing that our community helped them achieve their success. And if you do know them, reach out! Send a text with balloons or a funny meme. How you celebrate them doesn’t matter so much as that you do, and that we all remember just how amazing our students and colleagues are, not just for what they are doing under these unusual circumstances, but for what they do every single day.



Dear Colleagues,

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got to do something restorative for yourselves. I am reaching out just to you as faculty and staff tonight. This morning I sent an email to our students about federal CARES funds that have just become available for us to disburse directly via our financial aid office. Within just a few hours of my email announcing that the application for CARES funds was open, we had received more than 1000 applications from CSU students in need.

This is sobering, and yet it captures just a sliver of the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has already had on our community, on our country, and on our world. I know that some of you are also struggling with financial challenges right now that were either created or exacerbated by the pandemic. And even those who are not feeling financially precarious likely know someone who is. Many members of our community—faculty, staff, and students—are also dealing with heightened impact of existing physical or mental health concerns that have been exacerbated by this extraordinary situation.

Your university, and your community, is here for you, now and going forward. I know I say that, or words to that effect, every time I reach out. I will continue to reiterate that commitment to all of you, because I believe in it. Tonight, however, I get to provide you with tangible evidence of our commitment to you.

Tomorrow, May 5, is Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of unity in which we are proudly participating by encouraging donations that will directly and immediately help us help our community. We are suggesting donations to Ram Aid for students and to CSU Cares for faculty and staff in need. We have designated funds for our COVID-19 research and for our ventilator testing work that is helping healthcare workers across the state. We are seeking support for those friends and colleagues who are particularly vulnerable right now, including older individuals, international students, and food-insecure families. You can find all of the highlighted CSU funds here.

Do I hope that many of you who can give tomorrow will click on this link and give?  Of course I do.  I know that many of you will.  Thank you in advance for your generosity during this difficult time.

But I am not just highlighting Giving Tuesday Now, and the specific role that CSU is playing in this global effort, to raise money to help our community.  I am calling your attention to this initiative because it demonstrates how much we care, and how much we value every member of CSU—not just with words but with dollars when you need them, with food when it’s scarce, with advocacy on your behalf, and with life-saving research that will help us all.

And I am echoing the call to action of the Giving Tuesday Now organization, which urges us all to Join the movement and give – each Tuesday and every day – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community. 

You all already live that call to action every day, in your commitment to our students, your colleagues, our community and our state.  Thank you.



Happy Friday, Everyone,

In my Wednesday message, I shared substantial information that may take you some time to digest. So I promise today’s message will be shorter.  I want to share some good news from within our community, and some good news about CSU that demonstrates our powerful positive impact on the world.

First, we have some milestones to celebrate, just as we do every year around this time.  I recently had the tremendous honor of congratulating nearly 600 people who are marking a special date in their CSU employment—anywhere from 10 to 45 years at this extraordinary university!  Congratulations to all of you, and thank you: for your dedication to our students, your belief in this institution as a good place to build a career, and your role as a valued member of this community.

The other thing I have to share is something I heard today when Senator Michael Bennet held a virtual town hall with college students from around the state. The Senator asked students what they were most concerned about and the resounding answer was climate change. Their fears are real—and so is CSU’s promise of solutions. As I hope all of you know by now, CSU is the #1 most sustainable institution of higher education in the country, and one of the most sustainable in the world, having earned Platinum STARS rating three years running. When I say publicly that we are solving the world’s most pressing problems, I mean it—and we are.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who responded to my outline of CSU’s Recovery Planning Process.  Some of you have questions and concerns: thank you for those.  Others shared words of appreciation and encouragement: thank you all.

I will follow-up with a video message during the week of May 11. I would like to make the most of it by responding to some of the questions about next steps and other issues that are uppermost in your minds.

If you have a question about how CSU plans to recover from the still-ongoing COVID-19 crisis, one that has broad impact across our community (e.g. for all students, faculty, or staff), please send it to presofc@colostate.eduQuestions must be received by Tuesday May 5 to be considered. Either I or members of my leadership team will address as many of them as time permits. While not all questions can be addressed on this platform, we will absolutely do our best.

And now my exhortation to you all: please savor your weekend, the beautiful weather that has arrived, the friends you are scheduled to see on Zoom, the family around you.



Dear University community,

In light of the most recent orders from the state, we want to clarify that our university status essentially remains unchanged: Units, divisions and colleges should continue to focus on remote and virtual operations.

State orders continue to recommend working remotely. We expect all individuals who can work remotely to continue to do so at least through the month of May. At this time, neither the governor via Executive Orders nor the university’s Pandemic Preparedness Team have authorized individuals to return to work on our campuses, other than those individuals previously identified as performing essential, in-person tasks.

The university will take a measured, scaled and gradual approach to return to work plans, and will prioritize units and functions based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the work to be performed, the university’s supply of personal protective equipment, implementation of symptom and temperature monitoring, and our ability to clean and disinfect work areas.

The Pandemic Preparedness Team is developing a plan that includes a checklist that any unit working toward mobilizing additional staff on campus must work through with the Pandemic Preparedness Team. This checklist will be made available to units through Vice Presidents and Deans and is expected to be ready next week.

Employees who are working in-person performing essential tasks are reminded that they must:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. (https://safety.colostate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Soapfor20.pdf)
  • Wear a bandana or other cloth face covering at all times while on a university campus. This is a directive from both the governor and the university. Employees who do not have a cloth face covering may contact the Pandemic Preparedness Team through their supervisor or by emailing Environmental Health Service’s public health office  public_health_office@Mail.Colostate.edu. Medical-grade masks are not required in most situations and should be reserved for medical personnel, certain research, and for performing specific tasks as identified by public health officials. CSU Public and Occupational Health will provide guidance on when higher level personal protective equipment is required, including medical grade surgical masks, N95 masks or gloves.
  • Practice social distancing while working and anytime on university grounds, including maintaining at least six feet distancing in all work areas.
  • Wipe down work areas and surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, breakrooms, and keyboards, with disinfectant that has been provided by Public and Occupational Health to most units. If employees need disinfectant, and they work Housing and Dining or Facilities Management, they should contact their department supervisor. Those who do not work in one of those departments, should contact Environmental Health Services Public Health (public_health_office@Mail.Colostate.edu).
  • Monitor for symptoms and stay home if they do not feel well – regardless of whether or not the individual is experiencing symptoms of COVID, the flu or other ailments and illnesses. Supervisors are expected to accommodate sick leave requests; proof of illness is not required.

Thank you,

The Public Safety Team

Dear CSU Community—Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, Donors and Friends,

Tonight I am very pleased to share with you a message that I know many of you have been waiting for, focused on Colorado State University’s recovery—as an institution and as a community—from the global COVID-19 pandemic.  This is such an important message, and I have so much to communicate about how we move forward, that I recorded a message for all of you that I believe provides context to the lengthy planning process I lay out below.  I hope you will all take a few minutes over the next several days to listen to my message and then read the Recovery Plan roadmap that follows.

President McConnell talks about COVID-19 Recovery Plan

VIDEO LINK: President Joyce McConnell Outlines COVID-19 Recovery Planning


Where We Are, Who We Are

For the last six weeks, we have focused our attention on the need to make quick decisions and take immediate action to confront and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our university. With the help of many across campus, in ten days, our faculty converted all spring courses and our staff and administrators transitioned all operations to a virtual environment. Meanwhile, many of our employees who are essential to deliver services on-campus and in-person made it possible for us to continue critical operations. These were amazing feats and examples of quick decision making and action. We have done far more since then, more than I can list here.

Now it is time to plan for our future, something I have been doing since I arrived at CSU. I have had to refocus on a new reality as a result of COVID-19, and refocus on a different kind of forward-focused planning. But as President of CSU, I do not intend to do this alone.

Let me tell you why. A number of higher education institutions have released plans for recovery, in which they spell out the measures they will take to offset the fiscal losses caused by COVID-19. I’ve read these plans from my fellow Presidents, and I respect the strategic steps they propose, which include hiring freezes, furloughs, salary cuts, curricular changes and restructuring. But for an institution to have released their recovery plan means the planning itself can only be the work of a few people, without a process for shared engagement in problem solving. This is inconsistent with the culture of Colorado State University and the Colorado State University System. Instead, I believe our best path forward is through a transparent, engaged process grounded in our land-grant commitment to access, success, equity, and excellence. This will generate a Recovery Plan that we all believe in and a stronger future as a result.

Next Steps: Challenges, Opportunities, Common Purpose

So let’s talk about the future. Our losses of revenue in this crisis are beyond anything we have ever experienced, including in the aftermath of 2008. The path before us will not be easy, but we are not alone. The CSU System Board of Governors has committed to using its expertise and resources as much as possible to help us adjust to these losses. However, we must present a plan that demonstrates our commitment to addressing the gap between our revenue and expenditures. Despite the difficult decisions and sacrificeshead, I want to share with you my optimism that in planning for the future, we can leap beyond what is being called “the new normal.” We can become the model of a land-grant university that emerges from the pandemic true to our mission, our values, and our Principles of Community, recognized for developing exciting new approaches to excellent education, research and engagement.

One reason I am so optimistic about our process is that I believe that as a community, we have widespread and strong agreement on priorities for planning.  These include:

  • Teaching–Excellent, innovative education that is accessible, inclusive, equitable and designed for the success of a diverse student body;
  • Research–Transformative research with impact;
  • Engagement–Purposeful engagement with Colorado communities and beyond to meet community-identified needs;
  • Workforce–Focused recruitment, equity and success of diverse faculty and staff;
  • Finance–Sustainable financial future

We will come through this crisis successfully because we make a conscious choice now to stare down the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and substitute the certainty of common purpose. Much of our training in higher education encourages us to be skeptical. But I am convinced that for us to make it through this crisis, we must learn to be open to new ideas, assume good faith, work together with trust, expect grace and give it to others, and put the common good before self-interest. If we can do these things they will be our super-powers as we shatter seemingly impossible barriers and emerge as a shining example of land-grant resilience and excellence.

Recovery Planning Phases

To get started, you need additional information about how we are going to go about planning for the future. We have emerged from the first two of four phases of planning: the Immediate Phase as we identified the specific nature of the crisis and took actions required to ensure the safety of our workforce and our students; followed by the Short-term Phasein which we enacted ways of completing the spring semester that would best fulfill our missions.

Phase 1 – Immediate (initial identification of crisis and actions: Before Spring Break)

Phase 2 – Short-term (remainder of spring semester: Spring Break – semester’s end)

Phase 3 – Mid-term (May 2020 – January 2021)

Phase 4 – Long-term (I will share more about our long-term Strategic Transformation planning in subsequent messages)

Phase 3: Context and Overview

We are in a dynamic environment in which change is the only constant. We must act quickly to engage in planning strategies that are mutually dependent and flexible. First, we fully intend to be back on campus and operational for fall semester. However, we must engage in scenario planning for recovery and reopening to respond to any contingency. Second, we must complete budget planning taking into consideration multiple scenarios, revenue forecasts from all sources, and expenditure reductions. The Board is committed to deploying its reserves to retain permanent, full-time employees if we demonstrate fiscal discipline in our planning. Our planning horizon is short as the Board will make budget decisions at the Board meeting, June 3-5. So for planning purposes, we have outlined three basic recovery/reopening scenarios, all of which respond to pandemic trends and prioritize public health.

Best-case scenario: summer semester is primarily delivered through remote instruction, but we begin transitions to reopening work on-campus, including research, engagement, and face-to-face teaching experiences. Fall semester on-campus and extended operations start on time, although with possible modifications for social distancing restrictions and for the contingency of another peak in the virus that demands additional mitigation later in the semester;

Middle-case scenario: Spring restrictions continue throughout the summer, and while on-campus and extended operations cannot start on time, they can start later in the semester with varied restrictions, including the contingency of another peak in the virus that demands additional mitigation later in the semester.

Worst-case scenario: Summer and fall semesters are fully restricted with instruction delivered completely remotely: on-campus and extended operations cannot be restarted until January 2021, with contingency plans to mitigate any peak in the virus.

Phase 3: Structure and Process

Phase 3 planning requires us to contemplate the best, middle, and worst-case scenarios across several channels.  To accomplish this, I will convene two leadership teams: the Recovery Decision Committee (RDC), which I will co-chair with the Provost, and the Recovery Advisory Committee (RAC), which will report directly to the RDC.  I will announce the full membership of both these teams in a forthcoming message. 

The RAC will advise and instruct action-oriented working groups led by members of my leadership team and experts across the university. These working groups do not replace existing management activities necessary to keep the institution operating during recovery planning and beyond. They will each be focused on one of our institutional priorities:

  • Teaching & Learning Continuity and Recovery
  • Research Continuity and Recovery
  • Engagement & Extension Continuity and Recovery
  • Auxiliary Operations Continuity and Recovery
  • Student Life Continuity and Recovery
  • Workforce Support
  • Public-Facing Services Continuity and Support

Additional areas that will require scenario-planning but not formal working groups include: Parking & Transportation, Athletics, Facilities, and Crisis Communications.

Each working group will examine their priority through three lenses: operations (effects on how we work); finance (effects on our budget); and mission (effects on how we achieve our goals). The working groups will solicit feedback and insights from university stakeholders and will specify potential strategies, choices, and impacts.

The working groups will be kept informed of pandemic trends and public health guidance by the Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT), which has already been convened and has been guiding our decision-making during Phases 1 and 2.  This team reports directly to me, daily.

Ultimately, the RDC will determine the best way forward, based on the wise input and critical needs of the university community.

Phase 3: Timeline

 Phase 3 planning must be complete by May 13 to present the plan to the Board of Governors at its meeting scheduled for June 3-5. The PPT will provide timely updates to the RDC, the RAC, and the Working Groups so we are constantly aware of pandemic trends and health guidance.

Step 1: The RAC will give the Working Groups a budget overview, budget goals, and assumptions and parameters.

Step 2: The Working Groups will make recommendations for all three scenarios that meet budget goals to the RAC.

Step 3: The RAC will make recommendations to the RDC.

Step 4: The RDC will make and communicate decisions to campus community.

Phase 3: Budget Challenges and Strategies

All of higher education is facing budget challenges that were unimaginable two months ago. These challenges include significant losses of revenue from the following sources: tuition; auxiliary (e.g., Housing & Dining); refunds; services and research for fee; and, state funds. Although some expenditures will decline and there will be reductions, most of CSU’s budget is spent on personnel. Thus, like all other higher education institutions, we are evaluating the actions listed below. It is unclear to us at this point whether all of these will be available to us under state law, but these and other actions, will be on the table for consideration.  As you read over this list, I anticipate that some of the potential actions that we must consider will be alarming. I assure you that we will make no decisions lightly and that we will consider equity in the structure and implementation of our decisions as we consider possible actions, including:

  • Retirement incentives for faculty and AP and replacement only for critical positions;
  • Attrition and replacement only for critical positions;
  • Across the board salary reductions;
  • No raises;
  • Furloughs;
  • 10% salary cuts for President, VPs, Deans, Coaches and anyone earning more than (X amount);
  • Curricular and operations restructuring;
  • No retirement contributions beyond the state-mandated % for ________ (period of time);
  • No travel funding except where supported by private or non-university funds or necessary for engagement, extension or research presentations at conferences;
  • No food or entertainment funding.

 Phase 3: Shared Governance

Before the end of May, we intend to host virtual campus budget discussions. You are all invited. Afterwards, we will update campus with additional messaging, particularly following Board of Governors meetings. Once our budget is finalized and approved by the Governors, the Vice Presidents and Deans will work with their respective units to operationalize the expense reductions.

Beyond Phase 3: Our Path Forward

Our land-grant mission, our values and principles, and our priorities have served us well in our immediate response to the crisis. I am proud that our decision-making has put our students, and the health and safety of our employees, first. It is more important than ever that we stay true to our commitment to excellence and equity in education, research, and engagement, but there is no doubt we will have to adopt new strategies and make tough decisions.

In this difficult time, I am grateful for your patience, dedication to our students, and creative problem-solving. Uncertainty is difficult.  I do not know what the future holds. However, in the face of uncertainty, you can be certain I will be transparent, direct, and an advocate for our students, faculty, staff, and this community.



Happy Monday, Everyone,

I’m delighted to start this week off on a note of gratitude: Thank you so much to our wonderful, dedicated Housing and Dining Staff for joining me and Vice President Blanche Hughes for a Zoom conversation last Thursday! It was a privilege to talk to you, to hear how committed you are to CSU, and to hopefully be able to address some of your concerns in real time.

As you know, the Governor’s Safer at Home Order is now in effect. CSU’s Pandemic Preparedness Team is working to understand how this order specifically impacts our university community and to develop and implement appropriate measures. We will continue to share what we learn and how we plan to respond.

Tonight, I want to share some of what we are doing to make things a little—or a lot—easier for members of our university community right now.

We know that many of you have developed incredible virtual events for a variety of audiences. The challenge is to let your audience know about these opportunities. Thanks to our CSU Engagement and Extension team, CSU Libraries, and our Web Services team, we recently launched CSU Virtual Events, which will ensure our students, Colorado residents and extended communities have one-stop access to all the great things our faculty, staff, and students are delivering online for the public. Visit the site to submit an event or to check out an event you want to join. I have my eye on Cheesemaking 101 tomorrow afternoon!

I don’t know if many of you know, but I’m actually sheltering-in-place at Magnolia by myself; Vince and Alexandra are back in West Virginia. So when I say that I know what some of you feel who are alone right now, I mean it—and yes, it’s normal to have started talking to yourself. Whatever your reasons for looking for more connections with others right now, we have developed a unique program that I urge you to join, called the You’re Not Home Alone Pen Pal program. This was the brainchild of the President’s Council on Culture, and our Commitment to Campus (C2C) team made it a reality—thanks to all of them! Simply sign in with your CSU id and answer a few questions here, submit your information, and we will connect you to a pen pal within in the university. Remember–we are not home alone, and Rams take care of Rams.

And for our alumni—and even those about to graduate—who are experiencing professional challenges that no one could possibly have prepared you for, our terrific Alumni Association has put together a series of lunchtime conversations on such topics as job searching during COVID-19, finding remote work, and virtual networking and interviewing. Go here to register for any one, or all, of these sessions.

Thank you all for everything you do to make us better every day.



Hello Everyone,

Happy Friday—and Happy Earth Week!

I had hoped to focus my message to all of you this past Wednesday (Earth Day!) on this annual event, but I felt that you all needed to know our plans and attentiveness to the Governor’s announcement of a shift from Stay-at-Home to Safer-at-Home.

I assure you that we continue to work to understand, respond to, and plan in accordance with local, state, federal, and public health guidelines for our community during the COVID-19 crisis.

But on this beautiful Friday, I ask your forbearance for some thoughts about Earth Day that feel no less relevant or important now than they did two days ago.

You see, I was actually at the very first Earth Day celebration, on April 22, 1970, in Washington DC.  I was 16 years old and already an instinctive and committed advocate for our natural world.  I’ve since lived that commitment in my legal work, my administrative work at land-grant institutions, and my volunteer work with The Nature Conservancy.

At Colorado State University, that kind of commitment–the commitment of a single person to protecting and restoring our natural world—is amplified and multiplied beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.  It’s extraordinary, and we should be very proud, because we truly are making a difference.

Our institution is renowned worldwide for our commitment to the environment, sustainability, and critical research that advances our understanding of the world around us. This incredible reputation wasn’t just given to us because we sit at the base of the Rocky Mountains and we love to hike, bike and paddle. Our community earned every bit over decades through hard work and dedication to be the very best and as sustainable as we can be.

As you know, we are the only institution in the world to have earned three Platinum ratings from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  We also have the highest STARS score in the country, making us the number one university in the United States for sustainability. We are a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Campus, a Tree Campus USA, and a certified Bee-Friendly Campus; and we’ve added tens of thousands of square-feet of LEED-certified building space.

This year, when ironically we were not able to come together on the green space of our beautiful Oval to celebrate Earth Day or Earth Week, I urge all of you to think about Earth Day—and about our commitment to the future of our planet—in a new and urgent way. Because it has never been clearer that we are all members of a fragile ecosystem, as dependent on one another as our trees are dependent on water and sunlight.

Our institutional commitment to our natural world is usually celebrated through the lens of all that we do for the plants, animals, earth, atmosphere, and water that make up our world. But we do so much—through our teaching, research, service and engagement–for the people of this world too. And I hope that in future years we include the sustaining of humanity in our Earth Day celebrations.

You are all so important, to one another, to our community, to our world—and to me.  I am so, so proud to be your President and a member of this university.  I know I urge you in all of my messages to get outside and find peace and rejuvenation in the natural world.  I’m absolutely going to do that again today!  Walk out under some trees, and savor the fact that we are planting 150 trees in honor of our sesquicentennial this year.

But contemplate too the human contributions to our world that sustain us.  Zac Rogers, an assistant professor in the College of Business, can help us understand why toilet paper is in such short supply during a global pandemic.  Our researchers in the College of Health and Human Sciences are studying the invisible impacts of the current crisis, including a dangerous rise in ageism that University Distinguished Professor Manfred Diehl argues eloquently against here.  And English Professor and Guggenheim Fellow Camille Dungy recently gave us all a gift, a reading of poems she composed in honor of Earth Day and national Poetry Month.  You can watch it here.

Be well, all of you, enjoy your weekend, and thank you for all you do for our community, for our world, and for each other.



Happy Monday, Everyone,

I hope you had some time this weekend to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. You are doing so much to make everything work that I know it must be hard to find time to recharge. Like all of you, I was extremely busy this weekend but I managed to do two things I love: I spent some of Saturday and Sunday walking in the beautiful green spaces around Fort Collins, including campus; and, made time for reading articles on leadership and higher education during and after the pandemic.  The result is that I have several things to share with all of you.  I hope you have time to both read and walk outside this week—and that you can take that time for yourself.

For those of you who are in leadership and supervisory positions across our university community, I urge you to read this thought-provoking article from Gallup, which challenges leaders at all levels to be anchors of stability during this frightening time and to engage their employees and colleagues with compassion and understanding.

Many of you are already regular readers of CSU’s Diversity Newsletter, as I am.  If you missed the April issue, which just came out last week, you can find it here.  Many thanks and kudos to the communications team in our Office of the Vice President for Diversity for not just continuing to put out this newsletter during the pandemic, but for including so much wonderful content specifically focused on our community’s needs right now.

Finally, for students, faculty, advisors, and all those who work with and care about our students at CSU, I offer this sobering article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, which explores the ways that colleges and universities need to “step up” to help struggling students not just make it through this semester and this moment of crisis, but stay enrolled and progress successfully to graduation despite the roadblocks that the coronavirus has thrown into their paths.

And if you have time for a deeper dive into reading on this and related topics, I recommend the larger series of articles from The Chronicle that this one piece is a part of, entitled Broken Ladder: Higher Ed’s Role in Social Mobility.

Finally, I invite you all to tell me—what have you been reading?  Has an online article, blog post, or other publication inspired or engaged you this past week that you think others at CSU should read?  Let me know by sending the link to presofc@colostate.edu.

Take care all,


Happy Friday, Everyone!

You’ve heard a lot from me this week—and may yet hear more, because we continue to navigate crises large and small for our entire community.  You may recall that my Friday messages are dedicated to good news. So this afternoon take a look at these opportunities to do something nice for yourself. Here you will find resources to relax, get fit, or be creative. You will also find something to celebrate: two of our students being named Truman Scholars!

Missing out on live music?  The School of Music, Theatre and Dance in the College of Liberal Arts has taken their “This Week at the UCA” concert series online here, offering wonderful performances from our faculty in a variety of genres.

What about art?  The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at CSU recently updated their site with new programs and videos, so grab some of your family and check it out—no velvet ropes or crowds to contend with.

I’m also delighted to note that creativity and innovation are still very much part of our campus community during this challenging time, and that the Allicar Museum wants to support those things.  Just accept their social media challenge (#recreategama) to recreate a work of art from the museum collection with what you have on hand.  I am looking around my kitchen at Magnolia and seeing a lot of dried pasta, some olives . . .

And if you are worried about the phenomenon that people are calling “the quarantine 15,” our Adult Fitness Program is here to help, with a wide variety of exercise videos here.   Lace up your sneakers or get out your yoga mat to work out virtually with fellow Rams.

Finally, this past Monday I had the incredible honor of actually breaking the news to CSU’s two 2020 Truman Scholars, Sarah Greichen of the College of Business and Brianne Lauro in the Warner College of Natural Resources and Design.  Watch their surprise and excitement—and meet their families—here.  And if you know either of them, shoot them a congratulatory email or text, as an alternative to the high-five or hug you might have otherwise given them on campus.

Thank you all so much for all you do to keep our community strong and vibrant, even from afar.



Dear CSU Colleagues,

Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do to educate and serve our students and the university. Faculty—your conversion of the spring curriculum in just 10 days to 100% on-line teaching and learning is extraordinary. You have so much to be proud of moving so quickly in a crisis and doing it with commitment and gracious good spirits. Staff on the front lines—a special thank you for your hour-by-hour protection of our critical operations: cleaning, preparing food, providing medical services to people and animals, caring for research animals, maintaining buildings and grounds, keeping our campus safe and performing research on the coronavirus. Our university community has come together to fight an invisible enemy with energy, spirit, and empathy.

The COVID-19 crisis currently casts a shadow that makes it difficult to see the full dimensions of the challenge we face and the shape of the future.  In the midst of this uncertainty, I know our entire community is concerned about the fiscal implications of the pandemic, including on the university’s budget. I write to you now to share information about how we will approach the budget. The CSU System Board of Governors has provided guidance and our approach aligns with the Board’s.

As the land grant university of the state of Colorado, we affirm our mission of providing access to higher education, conducting impactful research, and engaging positively across the state—even and especially in a crisis.  To fulfill this mission, we must prioritize a commitment to our employees. The Board shares this commitment and has unanimously approved a fiscal approach that aims to “protect permanent, full-time employees to the extent possible while the university adjusts to the current uncertain fiscal situation.” In making this decision, the Board considered the uncertain status of both federal and state funding and provided guidance that we should maintain our permanent, full-time payroll as a top priority, recognizing that laying people off during an economic downturn is harmful not just for our campus but for our community and state. The Board has also authorized us to look at the strategic use of reserves, along with other measures, as a bridge to stepping down expenses in light of reduced revenues.

Although the federal government has stepped in with some recovery funds for higher education, the announced dollar amount falls far below what the higher education economic sector will need to truly recover. To understand what I mean, consider the airline industry as a comparator. The airline industry employs 750,000 people nationwide and has been publicly allocated $25 billion. Universities across the country, employ more than 2.3 million people and serve 19.4 million students (many of whom are also university employees). Yet the higher education sector received only $14.2 billion, of which only $6 billion will be made available to institutions to deal with lost revenue.

To be clear, we are grateful that the CARES Act includes a variety of supports for students. But we are also grateful that a number of national educational associations—including the American Association of Universities, the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, the American Council on Education, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities—are advocating for a $46 billion package for institutional losses and another $26 billion to support federal research at universities. We have no way of assessing the probability of this level of support from the federal government.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s budget process has been understandably delayed by the pandemic and the state is waiting for the May economic forecast. Experts anticipate there will be a sharp decline in state revenue. You may recall that before the pandemic, Members of the Joint Budget Committee signaled possible increases in funding to higher education institutions and state employee salaries. These are now off the table. In addition, if the forecast is as bad as some predict, the Joint Budget Committee will recommend significant reductions in state support for higher education.

We do have a path forward, however. It will not be easy, but if we commit to trust and collaboration we can not only survive this crisis but come out the other side a stronger institution. With a combination of federal funding, campus and system reserves, and a targeted budget strategy, we can make smart decisions for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year and also construct workable budgets for fiscal year 2021. We will protect full-time permanent jobs by selectively using reserves, reduce staff through attrition and retirement, limit hiring to critical positions, and control expenses. Our campus will have many processes and decisions to work through in the coming months. My goal is for us to engage in those processes and make those decisions thoughtfully, courageously, strategically, and compassionately—and for us to do so together.

Yours truly,


Happy Monday, Everyone,

I hope that you all took some time for self-care this past weekend.  I know that while I found the April snow shower unexpected, I also found something very peaceful in the view outside of my window.

I also felt a profound sense of pride and gratitude at the start of this week when I had the opportunity to watch two videos made for all of you.  Our leaders here at CSU are compassionate, generous, and committed to our university community, and that has never been more obvious to me than during this extraordinarily challenging time.  To see what I mean, please watch this video compilation of thanks from members of my leadership team, and this video that Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes made for our students.

One thing I was struck by in Blanche’s wonderful message was the way she framed the COVID-19 crisis for students as something that has so profoundly upended their lives that they should give themselves time and permission to grieve for what they have lost.  I urge all of us to think about that framing and to acknowledge how wise it is.  Already, some of us have lost loved ones to this virus, which is deeply tragic.  We have also lost our social support networks, our professional identities, our sense of structure and order in our lives, and our access to many of the activities through which we define ourselves, from social activism and volunteering to exercise and self-care, to spiritual practices and cultural activities.

What the Ram Family has not lost is our sense of empathy.  That has been made absolutely clear to me from the very beginning of this crisis, in the incredibly proactive, tireless work of the Pandemic Planning Team, my leadership team, our Deans, and countless others across campus.  It has also been made clear in the questions we have received most often from some of you.  I answer those questions below.  I am also very pleased to share a very detailed set of FAQs that my team has developed that provides a comprehensive overview of all that we have done and are doing for our campus community.  I urge you to review this FAQ document, to share it with colleagues, and to keep it for your reference.

What are we doing for our student workers?

As soon as we began conversations about moving classes online after Spring Break, we identified student workers as a university population that would be uniquely affected.  We engaged student-facing units across the university to survey our student workers in all categories (Work-study, hourly, non-hourly, etc.) and determine exactly how many of them depended on their university income such that they would not voluntarily leave their job this spring.  We then committed to paying all these students through May 15—even if we couldn’t offer them in-person or remote work duties.  We’ve learned over the past few weeks that some student workers were initially let go, for various reasons, and we are working with HR to retroactively reinstate those students on payroll.

What are we doing for our students who don’t have connectivity or computers, or who need accommodations?

I am excited to tell you just how proactive, creative, and personal our efforts have been on behalf of our students who need accommodations of various kinds to successfully engage in online learning.  Our advisors have reached out to students directly, while the Institute for Learning and Teaching has created extensive resources for online learning, including a list of free or low-cost Wi-Fi and internet providers.  The Morgan Library staff has directly shipped 138 laptop computers to students who needed them—and they have more available to ship upon request.  And of course, our Student Disability Center developed thoughtful, comprehensive guidelines for students, families, and faculty and staff to refer to regarding all kinds of accommodations that students may need during this stressful transition.

What else are we doing for our students?

We know that wherever our students are now—at home with family, in our residence halls, or sheltering in place on their own—they are facing a variety of challenges.  In addition to the support we are providing to those students who need accommodations or who work on campus (see above), we are continuing to provide an array of resources to our students, including food from Rams Against Hunger,learning resources through TILT and our academic departments, general coping resources on the newKeep Engaging site, and extensive mental health resources through the CSU Health Network.  These include crisis counseling available 24/7, support groups, prescription services, and online content.

How is the university protecting our essential-in-person workers?

We are doing all that we can for those members of our workforce whose work duties require them to be on one of our campuses and potentially exposing themselves to risk, whether they are police officers, healthcare workers, or custodial staff.  Effective last week, we instituted differential pay for these employees, retroactive to March 23 and built around an equity model.  We are simultaneously focused on minimizing the risks they may encounter in performing their jobs, which means we’ve provided them with Personal Protective Equipment and with COVID-19-effective cleaning supplies and trained them in how to use these items.  We are also offering ongoing and upon-request virtual and even in-person open sessions for these employees with representatives of our public health staff, so we can be sure to answer pressing questions, clarify any misconceptions, and address emerging needs and concerns.

How is the university addressing the fiscal and mental health concerns of all employees?

We know that all of our employees, whether they are working remotely while home-schooling children, working in person, or teaching online for the first time, are looking for answers and grappling with many concerns. We are committed to supporting all our employees during this difficult time.  We are working closely with HR to make sure that all supervisors have up-to-date public health and employment information to share with their employees, including the new leave categories we have created specifically for COVID-19-related leave needs.  We are distributing food right here on campus.  We offer resources online to help employees keep teaching and keep working.  And offices across the university have mobilized to offer mental health resources, from expanded information from the Employee Assistance Program, to guided meditation, adult fitness classes, and crisis counseling.

Again, for more information about any of the areas I’ve addressed, check out the FAQs here.

The one thing that I wish I could give to all of you at this time is certainty.  I want that as much as you do.  I want to be able to tell you when we will be back to work in our offices, when we will be welcoming students back to campus and into classrooms, when we will know all of the fiscal and other implications of COVID-19 on our university community.  I want to be able to tell you when this pandemic will be truly behind us.  But as many of you know, from watching, reading, or listening to news reports from local, state and federal officials, we just do not have that certainty at this time.  We are in completely new territory here, but I urge you to draw strength from the fact that we are in it together.



Hello Everyone,

Happy Friday, and congratulations to everyone who made it through another week teaching, learning, working, and engaging during these extraordinarily challenging times.  I hope that your colleagues, your supervisors, your friends and families are already telling you this: you are doing an amazing job.

I will be back in your inboxes Monday with answers to what I know are some of your most pressing questions about CSU’s COVID-19 response.  Today, though, I want to share some clear evidence of the empathy that I see driving so many of you right now.  One example: within a day of hearing the recommendation to wear a cloth mask out of the house, our University Communications team hand-delivered 2200 branded bandanas across campus so that those of our employees who are still working in public-facing jobs could have them until we are able to get them manufactured masks.  Another example: we’re keeping personal connections alive, whether through academic advisors calling students directly to check in on them, departments organizing virtual birthday parties for team members, or our personal trainers in the Rec Center offering free virtual sessions to their clients.  You can read more about one of those personal connections here.

The energy and drive of our response to the coronavirus is nowhere more evident, however, than in our research enterprise.  We have four vaccines and therapeutics in preclinical development, which is incredibly exciting.  CSU is also part of the animal model core that the National Institutes of Health is setting up on COVID research.  Our scientists have also completed lab testing of technology that may protect the blood supply against the virus; this research will be published soon.

And we’re using our expertise to help manage the crisis on the front lines as well. CSU is a member of the Governor’s COVID PPE Task Force and we are one of the leading sites testing the Personal Protective Equipment that health care workers need access to so they can stay healthy while caring for the sick.

Even as we have demonstrated our incredible ability to do more, faster in response to a new challenge, I am also very proud to assure you that we have also maintained focus on our current institutional priorities.  I recently asked Mary Ontiveros, our Vice President for Diversity, to step up and join Blanche Hughes as co-chair of the Race, Bias, and Equity Initiative—and I am so grateful to Mary for saying yes!  A Source story will be out next week announcing this and other new steps for the RBEI.  I hope many of you read that and continue to engage with us in conversations around equity at CSU and in truly effecting change.

Many of you will know that our students have been some of the most vibrantly engaged with these conversations from the very beginning of the academic year.  And our students across the university continue to push us to be better by demonstrating their own brilliance and compassion.  One example: when we surveyed student workers to see which of them planned to return to campus to work after Spring Break, many of those who said they were not planning to return begged us to give their salary to a fellow student and to take care of the students they knew who depended on their income on campus for basic necessities.

Another example of our students going above and beyond: I am so excited to share the good news with all of you that two CSU students were awarded Goldwater Scholarships this spring!  Congratulations to Raegan Petch and Jessica Roberts, both in College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences!  To hear more about these exceptional young women, read the Source story here, and if you know either of them, shoot them a congratulatory email or text, as an alternative to the high-five or hug you might have otherwise given them on campus.

Which brings us to my wishes for all of you.  I know that many of you are celebrating religious holidays that would ordinarily bring you together with friends and family.  And I hear that we are expecting snow on Sunday!  Please don’t lose faith in spring or in the resilience and connectedness of this university community.  The hyacinths are blooming in the backyard of Magnolia House right now, and I still care deeply about all of you and wish you some peace and ease this weekend.



Hello, Everyone,

I feel like I have simultaneously been very out of touch with many of you and yet also in near-constant communication—and I know many of you are feeling that same sense of disorientation.  In fact, we’re hearing from many of you that you are at once overwhelmed by messages from the university and also unsure about what is happening at CSU, both in response to the coronavirus and in looking to the future.

I get it—believe me!

With this message I propose to launch more regular communications with you that will continue for the remainder of the Spring semester.  I’ll aim to send an email every Monday with COVID-19 updates, an email on Wednesday focused on a specific topic of concern to us all, and an email every Friday with general campus updates and good news.  

So you can all look forward to getting some updates from around the campus at the end of this week.  I can promise you that in the midst of the uncertainty we are all facing, I have good news to report from around our campus.

It’s late tonight and so for the special topic of concern to us all today, I just want to encourage all of you to bring together currently recommended public health precautions and hands-on creativity to make and wear a mask whenever you go out in public.  You can find easy instructions here, and you can see me proudly sporting my CSU-themed mask here.

Stay well and healthy and please take care of yourselves.  I’ll be back in your inboxes on Friday.



Dear CSU Community,

I am looking forward to getting back to the weekly spring messages I had been sharing with all of you in 2020; check your email again tomorrow for a longer update from me.  This morning, I just want to share a brief message.

I hope all of you are well and healthy and that your families and friends are also staying well.

This is such a scary and uncertain time, but it has also brought out the best in so many extraordinary people at CSU.  I am so grateful to all of you for all that you are doing, every day, and for the courage and fortitude you are demonstrating during this crisis.  And my leadership team shares my gratitude.  They’ve all recorded messages to tell you this–please click here to watch the first one.

I look forward to sharing more with all of you tomorrow.



Dear Students and Families,
A lot about this academic year has not unfolded as planned amid the backdrop of a global pandemic. We are learning to adapt to being a virtual community and what that means for the college experience. And of course, we are all focused on the health and well-being of our loved ones, and doing our share to slow the spread of the virus while moving forward together.
With the shift to remote learning in response to COVID-19, we have received questions about tuition and fees, including whether or not CSU will offer partial tuition reimbursements for students enrolled in courses for Spring 2020, since classes are no longer being held on campus. Since we anticipate completing the semester of instruction for all our students, tuition and fee refunds are currently not being offered*.
We have heard from some students and families the concern that virtual instruction is not as costly for CSU as in-person instruction. Please know that it is not less expensive for the university to make this shift to remote learning to ensure we continue to serve you and our mission of access and academic excellence. On the contrary, the university has invested an enormous amount of time and energy to develop comprehensive resources to support transitioning our courses online. Any cost savings that we might have had as a result of not using our instructional buildings are more than offset by providing the infrastructure to go online, virtually overnight.
Our faculty are working hard to provide remote learning experiences for you that allow you to achieve the learning outcomes you need this semester. Learning via online platforms is a different experience for students than in-classroom learning, of course, but online learning is proven and effective for most coursework. Colorado State University is committed to learning from the experience of this spring semester and to ensuring that in future semesters our faculty will be able to navigate even more exciting hybrid modes of learning. Our students will benefit from this investment!
As for student fees, they fund a package of services, spaces, support and opportunities for our student body as a whole. Many student-fee-funded programs will continue to be available to students throughout the Spring 2020 semester through online or other virtual systems, including CSU Libraries which have created new services and strengthened existing ones to support research, teaching and learning in a fully online environment (https://source.colostate.edu/csu-libraries-are-still-here-for-faculty-and-students/). Among other support, CSU is providing online services for students with disabilities, student government and organizations, mental health services, student legal services, interpersonal violence response and safety, career advising, services and education offered to students through Off Campus Life, guidance and tailored support provided to adult learners and veterans, and technology fees. In addition, the university is investing in additional resources to support our students in their success as we deliver academic courses online.
Our faculty and staff have done extraordinary work preparing for virtual teaching under challenging time constraints and with a commitment to maintaining academic excellence. I sent out a message of gratitude  to them last week for their tremendous efforts, and would like to share this excerpt with you:
My first thought is one of extreme gratitude – and amazement – as to how everyone has stepped up to the unique, once-in-a-lifetime challenge we all have. You have responded with grace, with expertise, and with lots of extra energy, and I am humbled by what I’ve been seeing and hearing “in the trenches” as our community has committed itself to maintaining our students’ learning momentum through the end of this semester (and beyond).
I also want you to know I am grateful to you, too, and proud of all you have done to make the transition to online so you could continue to pursue your academic goals and aspirations. It takes determination and courage, and I know your families are proud of you (we’ve heard from many of them). Move forward, knowing CSU faculty and staff are working with you, and doing all that we can to ensure your academic and personal success.
Stay safe, Rams.
Rick Miranda
Provost and Executive Vice President
* CSU’s refund and tuition adjustment policy will follow the university’s regular semester protocols which can be found here: https://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/financial/tuition-fee-adjustments/.
To Our University Faculty and Staff Community:
In times of uncertainty and fear it is crucial to continue to take care of ourselves and one another for the good of our community. It is in the midst of crises like these that our most marginalized communities suffer enhanced oppression and inequities, and it is for this reason that we call your attention to continuing CSU’s strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and our Principles of Community. To aid you in these important efforts, we are providing guidance and resources to center equity in your new work situation. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and it will take collective action to ensure that our new virtual university environment is equitable for all staff, faculty, and students.
First off, we want you to know that we are here and we care about you. Many of us are struggling. Many of us are deeply worried about what is happening to our world, families, and communities, all while we continue to do what we can to support the university community through our in-person or remote work. We see you. We hear you. We share your feelings of concern, anxiety, and discomfort. Know that you are not alone and we are here to share the burden with you.
The following takeaways and resources have been collected from a variety of sources, including discussions on higher education social media feeds, suggestions from our own university community members, and discussions in the VPD virtual office space. These practices will aid your efforts to move forward in ways that are equitable and intentional. If you have additional suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the VPD. We are here to help you as we can.
  • When checking in with staff or faculty who are working from home, please remember to approach your expectations with compassion and thoughtfulness. Many staff members will be juggling a variety of needs in their home environment, including caring for children, pets, spouses and partners, parents, and more. Keep in mind that this additional burden of care might not be equitably distributed in your colleagues’ households, or there may be no one else available to share the burden.
  • Access to electronic resources is likely unequally available to your colleagues. Co-workers who live in rural or remote locations may not have the level of internet access necessary to support all of their efforts to work remotely, especially if there are multiple family members stretching the internet capacity. Several adults may be working from home while children are engaging in remote learning at the same time. This can be difficult both in terms of technology and physical space. As a result, colleagues may need to alter their work hours to allow for multiple family members to utilize the internet in their home.
  • Remind yourselves and your colleagues that you are more than what you accomplish. In order to take care of ourselves during this anxiety-producing time, it is important to give yourself grace as to what tasks you are able to complete in a day or week. For many staff whose work will be severely altered by moving to a virtual environment, there may be a sense of loss or confusion as to what to do next. Allow yourself to work through those emotions and know that they are valid. Consider creating “water cooler-style,” casual, virtual check-ins for your team to share where they are at and how they are feeling on a regular basis.
  • Supervisors, keep equity in mind when you make decisions about monitoring your remote employees and remember that privilege can show up here in terms of positional power. Ask yourself critical questions such as, “Who am I asking to report daily work tasks and who am I not?”; “What does professional courtesy and trust look like for our staff in this new environment?”; “On whom am I leaning more, and what extra burden might that be causing individual employees?”; and “How can I ensure the work for our office or department is shared equitably?” Consider also asking your colleagues, “How can I support you?”
  • For advisors, support services, faculty, and anyone directly serving students in the virtual university environment, consider the unusual needs that a virtual university environment will create, such as time zone differences. Now that many students have traveled home, they are distributed throughout the country and the world and these student-centric roles may need to work outside of the typical 8:00am to 5:00pm timeframe in order to effectively meet student needs. Approach your expectations with flexibility for what the workday might look like compared to our traditional approach.
  • This time is bound to induce stress, anxiety, and mental health strain. Not only are we pulling together as a community to support our students and one another, but we are also being leaned on by family, friends, and our neighbors. Be patient with yourselves and one another, and know that your mental health may experience drastic shifts from day-to-day as the situation develops.
  • Be aware that there are reports across the country of internet trolls accessing private video meeting services to share inappropriate imagery or offensive language. This form of online harassment can be deeply upsetting, and if it happens within a video meeting you are in, please alert our office as soon as possible. To protect your meeting spaces, utilize privacy setting such as the “waiting room” feature in Zoom in which the host must approve all guests prior to them joining the virtual space.
  • E-mails, comments in video conferences, and other forms of electronic communication are not immune from incidents of bias. If you experience any incident of bias, the Bias Reporting System remains a resource for your use. Please be assured that we are still responding to reports.
  • Incidents of bias towards Asians and Asian Americans have increased across the country and here in our very own university community. It is imperative that you not engage in racist narratives or promote harmful stereotypes. Do not use phrases linking COVID-19 to one country, race, or ethnic group. Scientists, epidemiologists, and experts around the world, as well as our own lived experience over the past two weeks, show us that this virus is not bound to one group of people. This is a shared crisis that we are all susceptible to and we need to come together now more than ever. Be kind and be advocates for our community.
  • Regardless of your own identities and relative status of health, it is important to prevent the spread of illness, particularly to help protect those who are most vulnerable to risks from infection, including older folks and those with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems. Following recommendations from the Center of Disease Control is a practical and necessary way to demonstrate care, support, and solidarity for others.
The Office of the Vice President for Diversity will also be releasing a variety of resources and support in the coming weeks through our monthly newsletter and on our newly redesigned website. Visit diversity.colostate.edu to continue engaging with us or email diversity@colostate.edu if you have any suggestions or needs in relation to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Be safe, be well, and thank you for all you are doing to support one another and our community.
– Office of the Vice President for Diversity
Dear Colleagues,
Many of you are aware that health care providers in the county and state need, and have issued a call for, donations of masks, gloves, eye protection, and other personal protective equipment. Thanks to all those members of the CSU community who have already identified supplies to donate, have donated supplies, and have contacted leadership offices asking how they can help.
At this time, we ask that you not donate any university supplies directly to community drives and collection points. Instead, please follow the steps below, if you have supplies available. If you have already donated university supplies, please see the note below under drop off and pick up instructions.
If you have personal supplies at home that you wish to donate to community efforts, we certainly encourage you to do. 
Information about central coordination for personal protective equipment donations
CSU has health care providers at the Health and Medical Center who need these supplies, as do several of our research labs that are conducting critical research related to the novel coronavirus. In addition, our facilities and housing staff may need these supplies in certain circumstances.
The university will be gathering personal protective equipment items until Thursday, April 2, for redistribution to university departments and units that need them. After meeting university needs, we plan to make a donation to help support our community.
The university also is collaborating with Larimer County’s emergency response planning if our spaces are needed for a broader county health response.
CSU’s Emergency Manager is working directly with local emergency planners and a health care coalition that is connected to heath care providers and hospitals across the region. CSU is providing access to university supplies through that collaboration.
Stay at home order and donation organization
For the limited purposes of sorting, inventorying, and delivering supplies to Central Receiving or facilitating the pick-up of supplies, employees who are not currently working on a university campus are permitted to perform these narrow functions in person on a campus. Departments or laboratories providing these supplies should limit the number of employees helping coordinate donations and should practice social distancing and all public health precautions.
To follow stay at home orders, laboratories should designate one person per laboratory to sort, inventory and organize items for donation.
Donation Drop Off and Pick Up
CSU will be collecting supplies for the needs of the university and community. To contribute supplies:
  • University-owned personal protective equipment in CSU laboratories that can be spared should be dropped off on Main Campus at Central Receiving at 200 West Lake Street (see message above regarding state and county Stay at Home orders):
  • Between 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Monday – Friday
  • North West corner of the building under the CSU branded tent
  • Updates about drop off procedures will be shared here – colostate.edu/COVID-19
  • If you have a large quantity of items to donate and need someone to pick them up, email Ken Quintana (quintana@colostate.edu) and Steve Burn (steve.burn@colostate.edu).
  • Before you drop off these items, you should inventory the items you are donating, bring a copy of that inventory and give it to central receiving staff, and keep a copy of the inventory for your records for university accounting purposes.
  • If you have already donated university supplies to an off-campus location, please provide an inventory of what was donated to Ken Quintana at Ken.Quintana@colostate.edu.
  • These supplies will be inventoried and prioritized for CSU use and then assessed for donation to the county and state.
Thank you for all that you are doing to support our university and our community. We are proud of our university’s commitment and generosity.
Thank you,
The Public Safety Team

Warner College community,

Earlier today I put together a video message with a few thoughts and perspectives regarding COVID-19 and our College response.  Given how quickly things are evolving, I suspect some of what is in the video will be obsolete by the time you watch it, but perhaps there is an element or two in it that will be of interest to you.  I must admit, that at eight and a half minutes the video is a considerably longer than I had hoped, but I anticipate periodically putting together a brief message and share with you over video, and I promise I’ll be shorter next time!

The video can be found at: https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/5d74459f-5af6-4f13-aad0-c417b042e5ec

Stay healthy and take care of one another,

John P. Hayes, Ph.D.

Dean, Warner College of Natural Resources

President McConnell’s message regarding Covid-19

Dear CSU Family,

In response to the international crisis created by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, I am mandating that, effective Monday, March 23, CSU move all operations to online and virtual services.

What does this mean?

The university will be open–-virtually. We will do our work by phone, email, Microsoft Teams or other online platforms unless the work must be performed in person. I have asked all supervisors to exercise common sense, flexibility and compassion to move employees to online and virtual work and also to identify any essential-in-person functions in their offices.

We are defining essential in-person functions as those service functions that cannot be performed via email, phone, or other online platforms, including but not limited to: feeding and serving students who remain in the residence halls; caring for animals and plants under the university’s charge; performing physical maintenance and cleaning; using on-campus equipment that is vital to academic, research, or operations continuity; and conducting critical research tasks that cannot be done virtually.

Employees should know by early next week whether their role is defined as essential-in-person or not and how to move forward with their work, either remotely or in person. Check out our university resources for remote work here.

Online Instruction
As I announced last week, all courses at all levels will be delivered online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. You can learn more from the CSU Institute for Learning and Teaching about how to succeed in an online learning environment as a student and as a teacher.

Students who can remain at home rather than returning to residence halls are encouraged to do so.  All students not returning to residence halls can register on myhousing.colostate.edu to move out any time before May 16.

Students who need to return to the residence halls for part or all of the remaining semester should register on myhousing.colostate.edu by March 20. More information about Housing and Dining is available here, including information about University Apartments, refunds and waived cancelation policies during the COVID-19 crisis, cleaning protocols, and hours for the Foundry dining Center.

We know that some of our student workers in all categories (hourly-wage, work-study, for-credit) are hoping to return to campus and work for all or part of the Spring semester. We are working hard across many campus units to explore options for all of you and will communicate with you soon.

Resources for graduate students specifically can be found here.

We encourage all students to continue to engage with the many university resources in place just for them, including support for disabled students, student government and organizations, mental health services, student legal services, interpersonal violence response and safety, career advising, services and education offered to students through Off Campus Life, guidance and tailored support provided to adult learners and veterans, and technology. In addition, the university is investing in additional resources to support our students in their success as we deliver academic courses online.

Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff should please pay careful attention to the language at the top of this message describing the remote work mandate effective March 23 and the definition of essential-in-person work. The President’s Office has communicated directly with supervisors across campus urging them to use common sense, flexibility, and compassion in working with employees going forward.  Employees themselves can learn more about how to make remote work productive and enjoyable through resources like this article and this video.

We also recognize that many of our employees, both faculty and staff, have unique professional and personal situations that make this time particularly challenging.  Public schools are closed through April 17, which impacts employees who are also parents.  Many employees are immune-compromised or care for someone who is.  We encourage you to discuss any unique situations like these with your supervisor(s).  However, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, you can submit questions here so someone can address your specific concerns.

We urge you all to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors, to ask for help when you need it, and to check our HR FAQs for answers to many of your most common questions.  Human Resources leadership is also meeting weekly with Staff Council and administrative leadership to be sure we are addressing employees’ needs.


As concerns about COVID-19 continue to escalate, we have made the difficult decision to suspend all non-essential research activities on campus as soon as practical. In order to protect our community, all labs and other research facilities will be closing by the end of the day on Monday, March 23, except for critical research and critical research operations. We will reevaluate this guidance by April 15 but anticipate that these restrictions could remain in place significantly longer. Check here for Research FAQs, including a definition of critical research, and send any questions to this inbox. Also look here at university guidance for how to keep researching.


Following recommendations from public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to move the May Commencement ceremonies to December to allow all our graduates to share their achievements with their families in person. We will celebrate all CSU 2020 graduates with commencement ceremonies on campus December 18-20, 2020. The schedule for specific ceremonies will be forthcoming in the coming weeks and posted here.

Campus Security
CSUPD is continuing to operate 24/7 and respond to all 911 calls and texts in support of university safety, although their front desk is closed in support of limiting non-emergency in-person contact. As always, if you see something that may be a safety or security concern, please contact them by calling 911 or the non-emergency number, 970-491-6425.

Travel Advisory
All university international and domestic travel, including travel within Colorado, that has not yet commenced has been suspended effective Monday, March 23. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines later this spring. Rare exceptions for critical travel and/or travel in-state consistent with social distancing may be granted by Deans and Vice Presidents. The exception form, which can be completed electronically, can be found here.

On-Campus Events and Programs
To ensure social distancing, I am mandating that all on-campus events and programs, including all athletic competitions, be canceled through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. This cancellation directive includes but is not limited to workshops, speakers, celebrations, campus tours, and meetings of all but essential-in-person employees. There are many robust, university-supported platforms through which people can continue meeting remotely. You can explore those here.

Off-Campus Events and Programs

For clear public health reasons, I am also mandating that all CSU-hosted off-campus events be canceled through the end of the Spring 2020 semester (May 17).  This cancelation directive includes but is not limited to Extension programs, Colorado State Forest Service Community Events, Continuing Education sessions, and all other face-to-face non-credit educational services.  Our Extension professionals are of course also working in concert with the local public health officials in all counties and communities where they have a presence and following local guidelines and directives, some of which may exceed the limitations imposed by CSU directives.

Health Precautions
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly states that there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).   This means that the best way to keep from contracting and/or spreading the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.  For more up-to-the minute public health guidance, check the CDC’s COVID-19 page here.

I also urge all of you to bookmark and frequently check the CSU COVID-19 site and our related HR site.  If you have questions or concerns you do not see answered in either of these places, please submit those here.

We will get through this!  As this faculty member from another institution reminds us, we will survive!  With humor, patience, grace granted to one another, and the assurance that I can offer you all—that each and every one of you is so valued and so important to our community—together we will see this pandemic crisis through.


Joyce McConnell


Dear University Community,

Last week, I communicated with you our decision to move courses online through April 10, at which time we would reevaluate. Due to the speed at which the COVID-19 global crisis is evolving we in higher education around the world find ourselves in unprecedented territory, with new information emerging each day.  Please know that all our decisions are driven by our commitment to you, to your health and wellbeing, and to all of those whom we educate, serve, work with, and consider to be valued members of our community and Ram family.  I know that many of you are working incredibly hard right now, driven by this same commitment.  I deeply appreciate all you are doing and know that your care, concern and commitment are what distinguish CSU as a higher education community

All classes continuing online for Spring 2020 semester

With the advice of public health officials and weighing many public health factors, we have made the decision to extend online course delivery through to the end of the Spring 2020 semester.  In keeping with this decision, we are also advising the suspension or online delivery of off-campus educational programming and events (including in CSU Extension and Continuing Education) for the remainder of the semester.

Moreover, this morning, in partnership with CSU International Programs, we advised our international students who want to return home to do so for the remainder of the semester.

I know that every new decision we make raises many questions for all of you.  We will answer them as quickly as we can in the coming days. But I want to emphasize again that public health—your health—is our priority.  While we are unaware of any positive case of COVID-19 in association with our CSU community, the virus continues to spread, and no community is immune. If we were to have a positive case among our staff, faculty, students or guests, we will consider new recommendations, precautions, and constraints on campus-based interactions.

Spring break gives us the opportunity to plan for the transition to online course delivery beginning March 25, though I know—as a faculty member myself – many of our faculty will essentially give up their break to redesign their courses for online computability and remote teaching and learning.  Thank you.  I know that you do what you do because you care about your students. I also recognize to pivot this way may mean you do not have the time over break to devote to your family, your scholarship, and your community engagement.  Furthermore, we have heard from faculty who are concerned for students with limited or no computer access off-campus, limited or no internet, and other complicating factors.  I assure you that we are working to make accommodations for those students. We have made arrangements for additional student laptops and are looking at creative ways of continuing work with students even if it means through written correspondence delivered by U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FEDEX or other delivery services.

I also assure you that even as many of us work to set up systems to support academic and business operations for the remainder of the semester, our custodial staff will take the opportunity of fewer people on campus during Spring Break to perform extra cleanings. Our amazing custodial team and facilities leaders are committed to the health and safety of these frontline workers and are on top of providing appropriate protective gear and training.

Impacts to students who live in university housing

The decision to move course delivery online has the most obvious implications for our students who live in university housing.

We are asking students who live in university housing who have left for Spring Break NOT TO return to campus immediately. In the interest of public health, Housing & Dining Services needs time to create a plan that implements public health and social distancing best practices while providing an orderly way for students and families to make decisions about campus housing moving forward.

Housing & Dining Services is committed to emailing all campus residents by close of business on Tuesday, March 17 regarding your residence hall and meal plan options. We want to assure apartment residents that the university apartments will remain open year-round as they typically do. Housing & Dining Services is committed to working with students who are experiencing housing insecurity and at least some residence hall housing and dining will remain open for the semester to serve students who need to remain on campus.

Spring Break housing will continue as planned and students who have remained on campus for break are welcome and encouraged to stay as future plans are developed.

Pending decisions about working remotely and maintaining university operations

Again: our greatest responsibility is to the health of our university staff, faculty and students. Our decision to move courses online is one of several decisions and clarifications we will communicate in the coming days. Like you, we are working to define and clarify the outcomes of each decision.

During the coming week, as soon as possible, we will provide clear guidance to our staff and faculty, as well as to student employees who wish to continue working on campus. This guidance will help with decisions about how to balance university operations and the duties of staff and faculty, including information about telecommuting.

In the interim, I want to convey that I am committed to each and every one of our faculty and staff members and I promise you: you will continue to be paid.  We find appropriate telecommuting or in-person assignments that support the university’s mission, while providing you with support and equipment to minimize health risks.

We appreciate your patience

I—along with the university’s Preparedness Planning Team—thank each of you for your patience as we work through these unchartered waters and answer your many valuable, necessary and important questions.


Joyce McConnell


Dear Campus Community Members,

This is a stressful time for all. During a time like this it is important to be good to ourselves and to one another. Remember: We are a resilient community at a land-grant institution with the knowledge, people and skills necessary to handle this challenge.

Many of you are closely following the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19 both locally and globally and are concerned about yourselves, your children, your families and your friends. Please know we share these concerns and our CSU preparedness team continues to engage – sometimes by the minute – with public health experts as to best practices, next steps to take, what to tell our community and how to share information with you. We are doing our best to keep up with this information and to inform you as quickly as possible about any changes caused by evolving events.

As we all prepare for Spring Break next week, several concerns have emerged across campus that I want to address specifically and for all of you right now. More information will be forthcoming, via email and on our website, so please check frequently.

  • Our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of everyone in our campus community: students, faculty and staff. To this end, we have sent out messages to everyone in our community trying to keep information flowing. However, over the last few days we have had a great sense of urgency to focus our communication about the needs of our students because their Spring Break begins at the end of classes, today. Now we are working with the same urgency to provide information to employees to provide guidance about work so that we can return Monday with a greater sense of clarity.
  • Along those same lines, we’ve gotten many questions about remote work options, availability, and advisability. We are updating the HR FAQs on this topic here, so check back soon, and also talk to your supervisor about your specific needs.  I also urge supervisors at all levels to reach out to employees about their needs, to listen, and to be flexible and creative as possible.  (We are aware of numerous extraordinary situations: for example, that the PSD Schools recently extended Spring Break by a week, which will impact many employees’ and students’ ability to return to work in person.)
  • We are also hearing from people concerned about what April 10 means—this was the date referenced in our email Tuesday when current protocols about online instruction and campus operations would be reassessed. Please know that we will communicate with all of you well in advance of April 10 about next steps.
  • To our students in particular, let me address some concerns:
    • Our residence halls, university apartments, and dining halls remain open throughout Spring Break and going forward. You will have a place to stay and a place to eat at CSU in the coming weeks!
    • The CSU Health Network is also open throughout Spring Break and accepting students who need assistance with both physical and mental health concerns.
    • We are aware of the many financial implications of our decisions to go online for classes etc. Our teams are exploring the repercussions of these decisions for all of you.  Please be patient with these terrific professionals.
    • Students who work on campus are worried that they will lose their jobs. Not so!  If you need to come back to campus to work after Spring Break, please do.  Your job will be waiting for you.

The combination of changing scientific guidance and the rapid pace of communication is so challenging for all of us right now.  I appreciate all of you who are doing so much to keep CSU at the forefront of responsiveness to COVID-19 and who are focused on taking care of our community.  Let’s all be kind to one another, patient, and proactive about our own health.  We will get through this.



Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

With the courageous commitment of our Colorado State University community, CSU has faced many challenges. Today, we face a global health crisis in which we can play a critical role by slowing transmission of COVID-19 and freeing our local hospital to treat the critically ill. We can and must do our part to safeguard the health of our entire community. I thank all of you in advance for your compassion for others and patience in navigating a complex situation.

We have no knowledge of any cases of COVID-19 associated either with our residence halls or with the university more broadly.

Nevertheless, as you know, we are in daily consultation with public health officials at local, state and national levels and following their science-based guidance. As a result, we are taking the following steps immediately to do our part, which includes the following:

Classes Moving Online: Spring Break for students and faculty will be extended through Tuesday, March 24, with classes resuming Wednesday, March 25, as follows:

  • Classes at all levels will be delivered online beginning Wednesday, March 25.
  • Online teaching and course delivery will remain in effect until April 10. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date.
  • Individual academic units will follow up with their students regarding accommodations for accessibility issues—including online and computer access, internships, laboratory classes, and other special circumstances.

Our fundamental mission is to educate our students and we are committed to preserving their educational access, opportunity and success for the remainder of this semester, regardless of circumstances.

Campus Operations: Campus operations will remain at normal levels. University buildings will operate as follows:

  • The CSU Health Network will be open regular hours, including over Spring Break, to see students for medical and counseling concerns.
  • Residence halls, university apartments, and dining halls will remain open as usual, including over Spring Break.
  • The Lory Student Center, Student Rec Center, UCA, and all academic, business, and service buildings will remain open for business as usual.
  • The Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Diagnostic Lab will remain open for business as usual.
  • The Morgan Library will be open for campus community members only.

We will provide guidance for employees who need to work remotely; this will be shared soon.

University Travel: All university international and domestic travel that has not yet commenced is suspended effective March 23 through April 10. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date. Exceptions may be granted based on critical need. More information on the exception process will be shared soon.

On-Campus Events: All university events involving 20 or more external visitors or targeted toward an at-risk population are suspended effective March 23 through April 10. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date. Exceptions may be granted based on significant need. More information about the exception process will be shared soon.

Off-campus Events: All university-hosted off-campus events involving 20 or more people or targeted toward an at-risk population are suspended effective March 23 through April 10. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date. Exceptions may be granted based on significant need. More information about the exception process will be shared soon.

These actions will obviously have a profound effect on our campus. In the coming days, we will be working through the many questions that will emerge from these immediate actions to provide additional guidance and clarity.

I fully understand the burden this puts on many in our community who will have to rearrange plans and rework how they conduct the university’s daily business. I deeply appreciate the hard work so many of you have done and will continue to do throughout this public health crisis.

Confronting the challenges of a public health emergency like this creates discomfort and anxiety. Please know that Colorado State University is no stranger to responding to unexpected events that cause disruption in our lives and require that we dramatically and quickly alter our established paths. We have done so successfully in the past, and we will do so successfully again now.

We will continue to provide updates and guidance as soon and as often as possible via email, social media, and at http://safety.colostate.edu/coronavirus.

I am thankful for each of you. I want you all to stay safe and healthy during this difficult situation.  That is our primary goal, now and always, at CSU.  Please take care of yourselves, of your friends and families, and of those in our community to whom you have the capacity to reach out with compassion.

We are strong.  We are resilient.  We are Rams.  We will get through this—together.

Thank you,

Joyce McConnell