What’s Next? President McConnell answers COVID-19 recovery questions

Editor’s note: This message was sent to the entire Colorado State University community on May 13, 2020, by President Joyce McConnell.

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.