COVID-19 and Spring Break message from President McConnell

Editor’s note: This message was sent to the Colorado State University community March 13, 2020. Current information on the University’s response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found at

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.

Joyce McConnell
Joyce McConnell

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, 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.



Joyce McConnell
President, Colorado State University