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COVID-19: News and campus updates | University policies and resources

Campus Updates & Information

Visit UNC from the comfort of your home. University leadership is holding regular virtual open house sessions to help answer your questions about attending UNC.  
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May 21, 2020 - Virtual Family Open House with Andy Feinstein, UNC President; Dan Maxey, Chief of Staff; Mark Anderson, Provost and Katrina Rodriguez, Vice President of Student Affairs.

Bryson Kelly (00:00:00):
Hello everyone. My name is Bryson Kelly and I am the interim associate director of recruitment for the UNC office of admissions. Today we are so excited to connect you with three dedicated campus leaders who will share with you UNC's approach to the fall 2020 semester. As you know, things continue to change quickly as a result of COVID-19 and we will do everything we can to answer your questions. During the program, all mics will be muted, but you'll have the opportunity to ask questions using the Q and A feature that is located at the bottom of your screen. You can begin asking questions using that tool now. We will attempt to have all questions answered either in the Q and A function live via our panelists or through a follow up email once the program concludes. With that, I'd like to introduce you to your moderator for the next hour, Dan Maxey, UNC's chief of staff. Take it away, Dan.

Dan Maxey (00:00:52):
Thank you Bryson and welcome to the students and families who are joining us this afternoon. I'm pleased to have the opportunity today to introduce three UNC leaders and colleagues of mine. First, Dr. Andy Feinstein became the 13th president of the university of Northern Colorado in July, 2018. His experience in higher education spans 30 years and he has devoted a career to teaching and learning, research and scholarship and student success, which is his top priority at UNC.

Dan Maxey (00:01:19):
Also, with us today as UNC's chief academic officer, Dr. Mark Anderson. Dr. Anderson joined UNC as the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in April, 2019. As provost, Dr. Anderson oversees everything from enrollment management to advising. Finally, Dr. Katrina Rodriguez is UNC's vice president of student affairs where she oversees everything from the dean of students office to residence life, dining, campus recreation, the career center and student life. We are grateful to have Andy, Mark and Katrina with us today and we have over 100, almost 200 future Bears joining us today.

Dan Maxey (00:01:58):
Although some of you may have met Andy during a previous campus visit, I'll let him kick things off today by introducing himself and telling you a little bit more about UNC, including what's going on at UNC as we prepare to return in the fall. Following, the president's remarks, our provost and vice president Mark and Katrina will join him in providing some comments and updates and then we'll take your questions. If you'd like, begin entering your questions now. We have a dedicated team of admission staff who are working in the background to collect those questions and prepare them for our discussion. So with that, I'll turn it over to the president.

President Feinstein (00:02:33):
Thanks Dan. And thank you all so much for being on the call and sharing questions with us. I know how eager you are to get information about what's in store for the future of UNC and higher education in general. And we'll do our best to answer all of your questions. It certainly has been a busy spring. Finals and graduation were about two weeks ago and it really was a bittersweet for many of our graduates, although we've asked them all to come back in December so they can walk across the stage and I can look them in the eye and shake their hand and their family and friends can also share in that. So we will be doing that for our graduates for the spring 2020 graduates in the fall.

President Feinstein (00:03:16):
Right now, certainly the summer we're focusing very much on what the fall is going to look like. We have an entire team of people focusing on what reentry will look like. We're talking about housing, dining, class, instruction, modalities of instruction. And I know you'll hear a lot more about that from Mark and Katrina in a second, but I'm here to answer your questions and talk with you about what we see in the future. So thanks for having me.

Mark Anderson (00:03:43):
This is Mark Anderson. I just want to reiterate what Andy said. We're really pleased that you joined us this evening and we're excited to welcome you to campus in the fall. We are very optimistic about the fall semester and really look forward to having you and really having you experience the full spectrum of university life. I don't want to take up too much time because I know there'll be a lot of questions, so I'll turn it over to Katrina.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:04:18):
Hello everybody. Welcome. We are so glad to have a chance to talk with you today and to answer your questions. And absolutely following Mark and Andy, looking forward to reentering in the fall and I'm chairing a taskforce as well, looking at the student life and student engagement aspects of students getting back on campus and what that's going to look like. And certainly we'll be following all of the guidance state, national, local and looking at what all the best practices are across the country and what other institutions are doing also. So that always helps us as we collaborate together in the spring.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:05:05):
I guess just to share a little bit about what we have done in this environment is to assist students through virtual ways of connecting with each other when we had to ... as we learn that social distancing is going to be critical. So we had an opportunity to really practice safety in the residence halls and dining halls using plexiglass and seat standards and a really huge variety on grab and go meals. And so we learned a lot and as we put those in place for the fall to be looking at how we give students a sense of belonging because you are Bears and want you to be here at UNC. And also to foster that engagement that we know students desire surrounded by safety and resources for health so that everybody is safe and does well in their courses. So I will stop there as well so that we can get to the questions.

President Feinstein (00:06:13):
Hey, Dan, I just want to start by saying I'm very jealous because Katrina and Mark both have really nice backgrounds and you're seeing basically my home office. Although I was smart enough to put a football helmet behind me this time. So go Bears

Dan Maxey (00:06:29):
The office and the helmet looked great.

President Feinstein (00:06:31):
Thank you.

Dan Maxey (00:06:32):
And I have unmuted myself now. So I'm ready to leave the Q and A.

President Feinstein (00:06:37):
Okay.

Dan Maxey (00:06:38):
First question up. Naturally this week there's been some news from Denver about the state budget and we have some questions about what the implications are for UNC and some questions addressing the overall financial health of the university.

President Feinstein (00:06:58):
Yeah. So on Monday, Governor Polis issued some of the CARES Act funding to higher education and K-12. And higher education, we received about $450 million of funding. And then the next day the joint budget committee, and that's the organization, the body that actually decides on the budget in Colorado reduce higher education's budget by 58% or $493 million. So the way we look at it is, overall that's about a 5% reduction in our budget net for the year.

President Feinstein (00:07:33):
Certainly, I was worried about it being much greater than that in Colorado as many states across the country are looking at 10 and 20% cuts to higher education. So in the scheme of things, certainly I didn't want to see any cut to our budget, but a 5% cut across the board in Colorado is something certainly that we can manage and address. To put that in perspective, we have about a $200 million budget at UNC and 25% of that comes from the state through appropriations or taxes. The rest of that is coming from tuition and fees and auxiliary services like housing and dining.

President Feinstein (00:08:08):
So certainly it's impactful. It's about $2.4 million reduction in our budget, but it's something that I do believe we'll be able to address and manage. And we have a group of folks on campus right now, a finance advisory committee headed up by myself and our CFO that's working on how we're going to mitigate and address some of these challenges like the budget reduction.

Dan Maxey (00:08:31):
We have some sports fans in the audience who have a followup question and want to know how the fiscal health of the institution and maybe the need to make cuts might have an impact on athletics programs. But since there's probably also going to be a question about how the pandemic might affect sports, maybe you can tell us a little bit about that as well.

President Feinstein (00:08:52):
Well, I am a huge sports fan. I attend almost all of our games. I've in the last year traveled with the football team to every game. I go to the soccer games, the volleyball games, wrestling and we just have such a tradition at UNC of athletics. And certainly like many universities across the country, I'm worried about fall sports. Typically, in August, we start up with football and volleyball, which we are Conference Championships and soccer, which we're Big Sky Conference Champions as well. So we've had some great outstanding programs.

President Feinstein (00:09:26):
We've got a brand new football coach, Ed McCaffrey, a three time Super Bowl champion. He's leading our football program. And so we are waiting anxiously for guidance from the NCAA to allow our players to practice. I've been hearing and reading some very positive notes and I do feel very confident that we'll have sports in the fall and we'll have practices that'll be starting up here pretty soon, provided also that we practice social distancing strategies the best that we can considering many of our sports are contact sports but also leveraging the technology with testing and contract tracing and other opportunities as well. So I'm optimistic about the fall sports but I'm also still waiting for guidance from the NCAA on when we can start practicing. And certainly we're not going to play games unless our players, our 400 student athletes are prepared and ready to go.

Dan Maxey (00:10:21):
Great. Thank you. Got some questions on academics so hunt these two Mark. What do we expect the experience is going to be like academically in the fall and naturally we have a number of different questions that touch on academics here; whether classes will be online, in person, in hybrid formats and how we'll handle social distancing in the classroom.

Mark Anderson (00:10:47):
Those are all great questions. We anticipate and are optimistic that we will be in a face-to-face environment at least in some capacity. All of our classes and we expect that students will have a full class. And in any semester, students typically are taking a series of classes that are both face-to-face hybrid, which is a mix of face-to-face and online as well as oftentimes an online option. And so we don't expect that that will change at all in the fall.

Mark Anderson (00:11:23):
I did see one question specifically about music and theater and what precautions would be taken in those types of classes. And that really also pertains to studio art, scientific laboratories, some field-based classes, et cetera. And we are following the state public health guidance as well as CDC guidance and ensuring that we have appropriate social distancing and appropriate measures to assure the health and safety our faculty, staff and students.

Mark Anderson (00:11:55):
And so for example, in a music class, that will be that students are spaced in appropriate distance and perhaps a smaller group than there might be. In theater, I know our theater faculty are looking at the different types of plays that they might be doing and making sure that there are small groups for those types of things. And so we anticipate that we will have a full on campus experience, not unlike what we've had in the past, although it won't be exactly what we have in the past where students be taking a mix of face-to-face courses, hybrid courses as well as online instruction.

Dan Maxey (00:12:40):
Great. Thank you Mark. And we have a followup question here. Some in the audience are asking whether there will be an opportunity to opt into all online classes if students don't feel comfortable being in the classroom in the fall, is that going to be an option that will be available?

Mark Anderson (00:12:59):
Well, we'll certainly work with individuals. And again, we have students who do that already. The difference is that we won't have the full compliment of all of our courses necessarily available online. We're looking at doing what's called high flex courses, which is courses which are taught in a face-to-face environment but are effectively broadcast so that students who are unable to be on campus for whatever reason can still participate in the course. Again, we're looking at all possible options and so for students who choose to want to be in a virtual environment for their own personal health reasons, there will be options available to you. Yes.

Dan Maxey (00:13:47):
Great. Thank you. The next question I'll direct to Katrina. We have folks who are interested in knowing given all of the social distancing that we're seeing and some hybrid courses and different limitations that we might still have in the fall for the number of people who can get together and how people can come together. Some folks who have questions about social isolation and how we will work to keep students engaged and give students as genuine a college experience as we can when we return to campus in the fall with some restrictions in place.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:14:23):
Absolutely. And this is something that we are currently working on to find measures to connect students. So what we're looking at first is as students come to orientation virtually, we have ways of connecting students in groups who have yellow squares and orange circles and various ways of getting people into groups. And what we'd like to do, students will be with an orientation leader and we also want to connect resident assistance to those groups so that we have multiple people in connection with those student groups and really looking at that as a family group that can come together. And that way there are student staff and professional staff who are ensuring that all of the students are engaging whether virtually or in person and might have to have some smaller groups that are connecting. Make sure that everybody is feeling connected. And for those who might be hanging back a little or not we don't see very often, we will have folks check with them directly.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:15:31):
Hall directors provide a direct opportunity to meet with students throughout the semester and check in how are things going, certainly give referrals to other resources as students have needs for tutoring or counseling center, those kinds of things. Just to kind of remind the student that we have various options for students to seek out support, additional academic support, emotional support. So we do have plans in place to be able to reach out all students and we're very aware that we don't exactly know what our housing arrangements will be. We are looking into having potentially mostly singles. So certainly a student living in a room by themselves and maybe there's one other person that gets the suite but wanting to ensure that we connect with every single student.

Dan Maxey (00:16:31):
Thank you, Katrina. I'm glad you mentioned the counseling center and some of those different student services because we did have some questions about that. And I understand that those will be made available in a variety of formats, much like we were able to do this spring. We also, as you can imagine, have a lot of questions about housing and you address some of these issues including that some of our rooms might move to a single occupancy capacity. Students are interested in knowing though if there's any possibility that in their room assignments will change. I assume from your response that that is a possibility still.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:17:07):
It is a possibility still. We are hoping to have all of the room assignments completed by mid-June. So we will be moving some things around. We need to figure out if a person was slated to be on the floor where there's a community bathroom, we need to decide what are the number of students who might use a community bathroom. We obviously can't be the size that it typically is because we need to really think about social distancing and ensuring that the bathrooms are cleaned in a regular way. So we will likely have to decrease the number of students on that particular floor. So we are looking at all those pieces. So we will try to honor the room assignments to the degree possible, but there will be some changes that will occur. And counseling center, yes, we've been operating with the counseling center, the disability resource center, our student outreach and support units that are all virtual and so students are able to make direct appointments with both throughout the day and so those will continue.

Dan Maxey (00:18:16):
Great, thank you. We have several questions about when this summer we anticipate having a clearer picture of what the fall will look like and Andy and Mark, I wonder if you might be able to address some of our timeline and thinking about when we'll have a better idea of what fall looks like.

President Feinstein (00:18:36):
Well, certainly things are still moving very fluidly in Colorado and there's been lots of adjustments to safer at home, stay at home measures. And I think a lot of that is going to be coming in the next several weeks. I foresee the opening of restaurants and retail operations here in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner. And I also see a general easing of the safer at home measures that we've seen over the last three months. And as those things evolve, so will our ability to address the way in which we'll be open for the fall semester.

President Feinstein (00:19:11):
We do have 100 days. We have about as much time as we've been in this pandemic as we do to actually plan for the fall semester and what it holds. And so I think we're planning accordingly. I'm sure Mark can talk a little bit about some dates of when they're actually trying to fulfill or finalize what the fall instructional model will look like. But the truth is that things are still moving very rapidly in the state for the positive. And so I think every day brings more opportunities for us to look at ways in which we can continue to deliver on the promise to our students.

Mark Anderson (00:19:49):
And just to follow up with what President Feinstein said, we are following the public health guidance from again, the governor as well as the Centers for Disease Control. We have really established a June, 1 timeframe, a June 15th timeframe and a July, 1 timeframe for making final decisions. July, 1 is the time when we want to know how each and every class in our curriculum will be taught with the caveat that that is still about six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. So by July, 1 we will have a plan for how we will offer every last class, what modality, where, how many students, et cetera. But having contingency plans should the public health standards change. I did see a couple of questions in the chat about how you can tell right now what the preferred modality of instruction is, whether it'd be face-to-face or online.

Mark Anderson (00:20:55):
Online courses are coded into the registration system and it should be fairly obvious if it is a traditional online course. We are making the assumption right now that most of our courses which are face-to-face, have some virtual component associated with it. All of our courses use a course management system called Canvas. And faculty use that to communicate to students but also to post assignments, post grades, but also put in some reading material, et cetera. And so all classes, even face-to-face classes have a virtual component. And over the course of the second half of the spring and moving through the summer into the fall, faculty have been using the Canvas course management system quite extensively in their instructional practice.

Dan Maxey (00:21:52):
Great. Thank you. And certainly there's some recognition in the questions that things could change in the fall. And two follow up questions. The first, is there a chance that we come back in the fall and then we see something happen like happened in spring where we see a spike in the pandemic and encourage students to go back home and then go all online. And if we go back to an online format, either from the start of the semester or at some point into the semester, is there a chance that we will reduce tuition and fees for students taking those courses?

President Feinstein (00:22:35):
Well, I mean, I'll start. Moving online is actually significant investment in technology and infrastructure for our campus. So I don't think that the modality of instruction is going to allow us to reduce the cost of providing an experience to our students. So I would have to say no.

Mark Anderson (00:22:56):
And I think what our experience in the spring was that our faculty were very adept at moving to an online environment. And what the faculty found was that the students also were fairly adept. There was an adjustment period, but there's opportunities that exist in an online environment that do not exist in a strictly face-to-face environment. And so we've learned a lot of lessons over the course of the spring that will help to make our instruction, regardless of the base modality to be much more robust than it might otherwise have been.

Dan Maxey (00:23:36):
Several students have questions about, I know Mark mentioned that July 1st is our date to have a sense of or to know what sort of modality all of our courses will be offered in the chance that the courses that students want to take aren't offered in person for any reason at all. Do we know what the date is for students to withdraw from courses or to change their mind about specific classes?

Mark Anderson (00:24:07):
So I do not know the exact calendar date, but typically we have what's called census date, which is a week or so into the beginning of the semester. And at that point, students have an opportunity to rearrange their schedule or also if they're in a class where the modality is not working, there might be an opportunity to change to another section, assuming it's a multi-sectioned course. And so there is a little bit of time at the very beginning of the semester where you have an opportunity to experience the course and switch if needed.

President Feinstein (00:24:45):
And I know that Marty is on the line, is on this call as well. He may have more specific dates and also the add/drop information is on our website too for more specifics.

Marty Somero (00:25:01):
Yeah, this is Marty. And then even beyond those dates, the university does have a tuition appeal process with a small committee that certainly would be taking these types of things into consideration going forward and if deadlines were missed type of thing. So I think there'll be many avenues for a student to make it right.

Dan Maxey (00:25:25):
Great. And that was Marty Somero, our director of financial aid. Marty, I'm going to ask you to come back because we have several questions about scholarships and I'm going to take advantage of the fact that you're on the line. Students are interested in knowing when scholarship decisions are being made for the fall. It sounds like some of them may be still waiting for some financial aid decisions.

Marty Somero (00:25:45):
So if it's through one of the talent things, whether it be athletics or PVA performance types of things, those they would have to work with the department or the coach on those types of decisions. The ones through the UNC scholarship application, the vast majority of them were decided by May, 1st and the information on who's getting them is rolling out as we speak. I do encourage families to try and students to try year after year because if a student doesn't qualify just as an incoming freshman for a certain award, there are certainly opportunities available as they progress on through. A lot of times, the professors, somebody who's making the selection, they don't necessarily know the incoming freshmen, but they know the sophomore, the junior and the senior. So don't get discouraged. If you don't get it along this year, definitely keep plugging on them and invite students to get to know their faculty, get to know the staff because those will be the ones who will be making the selections in the up coming years.

Dan Maxey (00:26:51):
Great. Thank you, Marty. Appreciate your jumping in here and joining the panel.

Marty Somero (00:26:56):
Anytime. I'm here in the background if you made me.

Dan Maxey (00:26:59):
Great. Thank you. We have several questions about the safety and health risks here in Greeley in Weld County. Certainly people have heard about some of the cases that we've had here at the JBS meat packing plant and are concerned about the risks of coming to Greeley. I wonder if any of you can address that as well as what we might do if we encounter sick students on campus or see any sort of outbreak here at UNC.

President Feinstein (00:27:29):
I mean, I will tell you that some of the national headlines that we did see was from one of our meat packing plants on the outside of town, which is JBS. It's a very large meat packing facility with I think, 3,000 or 4,000 employees. And that certainly was a concern of ours. It wasn't directly affecting UNC, but it certainly was something that made the national headlines and was a concern.

President Feinstein (00:27:56):
What I can tell you about healthcare in Greeley is we have two very large healthcare facilities, hospitals, one of which is the Northern Colorado Medical Center, NCMC run by Banner. I was speaking to their chief executive officer yesterday, and they have right now eight patients with COVID that are in the hospital. And I think in the UCHealth system, out of three hospitals in Northern Colorado, there were a total of 20 individuals that have coronavirus.

President Feinstein (00:28:29):
So certainly even one is something that's of concern. But clearly the hospitals are not inundated in Greeley with patients with the coronavirus at this time. And speaking to them about what they've seen over the last several months, they saw the peak as far as patients in the hospitals actually over Easter weekend, several weeks ago. And what they're seeing now is ... and we're obviously watching the data and seeing the reports and Colorado as well as Weld County. We're certainly seeing some stabilization decline in the number of cases that are going to the hospital. And I think that's a very good sign for us.

Dan Maxey (00:29:13):
Great. Thank you. We have a number of questions just sort of following on the health and safety issues about whether we will require ... if widespread testing or vaccines are available by the time we come back in the fall, if testing and vaccines might be required for students to come back to UNC.

President Feinstein (00:29:35):
I think it's a little bit early to determine what kind of testing we're going to do three months from now. Certainly, we have actually a very large testing program running right now in our parking lot sponsored by Kroger, a large national grocery store chain. And we're providing tests to the community as we speak. And there's also a couple others throughout the community. It's voluntary and that's available. I can certainly see in the fall having that opportunity. We've got a lot of chances if somebody does feel like they have symptoms to get tested. We also, and I'm sure Katrina can talk about protocols if a student was sick and what we would do for isolation, et cetera on campus.

President Feinstein (00:30:21):
To be frank with you, since this started, we've had very few cases associated with the university at all. And I think that's a good sign. I mean, one of the things that helped us in that is right before spring break, which was April ... I mean, March 11th, we suggested that students go home if they can and many of them did. We still had about 300 students in housing, but we followed very strict protocols for ensuring their safety in the way in which they dined in our dining facilities and also stayed in our housing. And the same thing with our faculty and staff. So we've been really very proactive in ensuring that our community is as safe as can be since the beginning of this in early March.

Dan Maxey (00:31:14):
Katrina, do you want to chime in on the student health issue and how we might handle student health cases if students were sick?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:31:21):
Absolutely. If my mic starts getting wonky, somebody wave at me. I understand it's cutting out a little bit. So we will have rooms for self quarantine in each of the buildings that are already held out. And so we would ask students if they have symptoms, we would ask me to go to the student health center to have a test. And we would also bring students their meals to their room. Whether they have a meal plan or not, we will ensure that they have their meals. And we're also, Mark and I are working together on a task force for both instruction and student life and engagement on campus and working with the faculty as well.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:32:07):
If a student is in self quarantine, you don't want them to feel pressured to go to class or how are we going to find a way to also connect with that student and keep them up to date in their classes. And so we have quite a few protocols in place. Not only will the health center reach out to that student on a daily basis, our dean of students office will also be checking the students on a daily basis as well as the whole staff. There's a lot of opportunity to work with students who might be in self quarantine.

Dan Maxey (00:32:42):
Great. Thank you.

Mark Anderson (00:32:43):
Sorry to interrupt, Dan. Just a quick follow up to Katrina. Any student who does get sick and is unable or should not attend classes, we will make sure that they're getting all the materials they need and that they're not falling behind in their instruction.

Dan Maxey (00:33:00):
Great. Thank you. And I know that our students will appreciate that support. Katrina, we're still getting a lot of questions about single rooms and so there are a variety of questions here. Whether students will have the chance to request single rooms. I think we talked about that a little bit before, but I know we've had some questions in earlier forums too about if a student wants to keep their roommate, if that will be any sort of option and some questions about move in as well and what moving might look like. Naturally often move in is a massive cluster of people coming together and moving through tight hallways and elevators and stairways together. Do we have any sense of what move in might look like too?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:33:44):
Absolutely. So for singles and in terms of perhaps having a roommate, we are looking into that to see how we might be able to do that. So it's a possibility, but we don't have a finalized answer. And I know some folks in terms of singles, feel that it's ... to have that kind of isolation is very difficult and we understand that and we want to work with that situation if that is what our requirement is.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:34:15):
But there are some spaces, for those of you who've been on campus and toured our residence halls, we don't have a cookie cutter floor plan in our buildings, they all vary. And so in some areas where we have suits, we could imagine that there's a person in each of the rooms and they share a bathroom area or kitchen and living room area.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:34:36):
There's still a way to connect with each other. You'll see those spaces. And as I said earlier with the community bathrooms, we're going to be working on that as well. We have a lot of smaller halls that community folks might be in singles but the building is small and so there's some ways to interact. I think it's also going to depend on, we have a lot of common spaces, kitchens, TV lounges, the variety. And so based on what our social distancing looks like, if we can have 10 students, then certainly folks can congregate.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:35:12):
We will ask students to wear masks outside of their residence hall room so that they're being safe in those ways too. So, let's see. We at this point are looking at a way to sort of have a ... I don't know if reservation is the right word, but we're closer sort of on the sign up for move in and there'll be ... Based on all the buildings on campus, we're going to stagger move in each building so that we don't have a lot of folks passing in the hallways or trying to be in an elevator at the same time.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:35:55):
So we're looking at those, what that's going to look like. We hope to have some information out to you by mid-June around that and we'll probably extend our move in time. So if, let's say, students come for a number of days more than what they typically would, we will also have an extended orientation time in terms of having the activities and other things that students can do during that time because we certainly want them to get connected to campus in whatever time they're here before classes start. So we are working on all of those details as we speak and trying to again, ensure safety and also get everybody moved in. And that's always an exciting around campus.

Dan Maxey (00:36:39):
Great. Thank you. We have some questions about occupancy capacity in our buildings. If we go to single occupancy rooms, is there a chance that we may not have enough rooms available or that upperclassmen or other students might be sort of bumped from their rooms?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:36:57):
Sure. We luckily have a lot of space in our residence halls. We will guarantee first year students and transfer students a room for sure. We will be looking at what we can do with other students who have planned to come back. So we don't exactly know what our numbers are going to look like right now. We will do everything we can though to ensure that we house as many people as safely as we can.

President Feinstein (00:37:25):
Yeah. We have, correct me if I'm wrong, Katrina, about 3,000 beds on campus and about 500 off campus as well. So we have a large inventory of student housing that we can utilize to properly distribute our students that come in the fall.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:37:41):
Correct.

Dan Maxey (00:37:43):
We have a fair number of questions about housing and dining fees and if we end up having to go online at some point after we've all come back to campus. Students and parents are interested in knowing whether we will have any way to refund or credit students' unused meal and housing fees. Any comments there?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:38:11):
This spring, for students who are graduating, we refunded the rest of their housing and dining. For students who were not graduating, we provided credit to be used for the entire year so they can apply that to future semesters, support their student bill, whether it's for housing or courses or fees or that kind of things. So we would anticipate doing something similar, I imagine. I think those are still in the talking arena but that is what we did in the spring. Andy, I don't know if you have further [crosstalk 00:38:52].

President Feinstein (00:38:51):
Well, I think it would depend on what the governor says. I mean, this year we didn't close down our housing and dining facilities. So we recommended for students that couldn't go home, they could do that. And again, as I said, we had over 300 people still staying as student housing. And I can imagine if something were to occur in the fall, though I think it's highly unlikely, that we're told by the governor that we have to close down all of our housing and that everybody must go home. Well, that would be a case where we would refund prorated share of the housing.

President Feinstein (00:39:22):
If there's recommendations to practice social distancing and there's options for students to go home, we'd have to discuss ways in which we could address that to ensure that they are safe and also take into consideration the prorated share of housing that's left for the semester.

Dan Maxey (00:39:44):
The next question is for Andy and Mark. Students and their families are hearing a lot about other institutions plans maybe to come back to campus earlier than normal in the fall or to [crosstalk 00:39:59] Thanksgiving break or to maybe end at Thanksgiving break. Is that something that UNC is thinking about at all?

President Feinstein (00:40:06):
Not really. I mean, the example that I've heard of is that Notre Dame and a couple other universities where the majority of their students are coming from out of state and out of country. They're basically going to house them early in August and basically keep them on campus until November and then let them go home. Here at UNC, 85% of our students are from Colorado, which means I know many of you on the call are from Colorado and your students most likely are going to go home for the weekend for a couple of days. And so I don't think that these types of plans would work as well for UNC or for other Colorado campuses than they would for Notre Dame.

President Feinstein (00:40:51):
Again, I'm not exactly certain of the strategies, but starting school up, let's say earlier in August, I'm not sure it's even possible for Colorado right now. I mean, right now we can have small classes of 10 students or fewer if we can't deliver the instruction online. So we do have some classes that say that are working, if it's an art studio or a piece of specialized equipment, we can do that as long as we practice social distancing. But we do not have the authority in Colorado to open up classes early at this point.

President Feinstein (00:41:24):
Now, that could change. As I said, things are rapidly changing, but those kinds of models on opening up earlier in August and then having students leave Thanksgiving break and not come back until the spring, I don't necessarily believe that's something that would work for us at UNC. I could be corrected though, I've got the provost on the line. He could fill us in on what he thinks.

Mark Anderson (00:41:47):
No, I agree with you, Andy. From a logistical perspective, changing the dates of our semester at this time is next to impossible. Nothing is impossible, but it would be very difficult. We have a number of families who have already planned to come to the university, who have already made their schedules, students summer schedules have been set based upon the start date, et cetera. We're into the summer so many of our faculty travel during the summer to do their research. And so getting them back and taking them away from their research in August is, like I said, from a logistical perspective, very, very difficult, if not impossible. So we've thought about it, but we're not inclined to change our academic calendar for the fall.

Dan Maxey (00:42:39):
Great. Thank you both. We have some questions, Mark about sort of a followup to your earlier comments about July 1st and knowing what sort of format every single class will be delivered in. A number of folks are interested knowing if a class is going to be offered online, if it will be clear in the registration system, whether those courses are being offered in synchronous or asynchronous format. Certainly some family members and students have commented that they engaged better with one format or another in their high school coursework this spring.

Mark Anderson (00:43:22):
Sure. So when we've decided on the modality again, targeting July, 1. I think what we will have to at that point do is establish communication out to our students particularly if the modality of the course has changed from what it was at the time of registration. And so again, that would give students and their families plenty of opportunity to adjust their schedule. If the change and the modality is to something that a student is uncomfortable with.

Mark Anderson (00:43:58):
Also, for returning students but also new students, you're connected with an academic advisor. So a lot of that connection about how the classes will be taught will be through the academic advisor. We always suggest that students consult with their academic advisor about their courses, the modality and what's going to work best for them. So after we've made that determination, we will have some communication that goes out, particularly for those courses where the modality has changed.

Dan Maxey (00:44:35):
Great. Thank you. Mark, I'll ask you to answer the next question too. We have a question about whether it be Lowry Campus and other extended campus courses. I guess, really it really only affects Lowry here though we'll follow the same rules as Greeley. Will the different types of restrictions that we see on our Greeley Campus be applied at the Lowry Campus?

Mark Anderson (00:44:58):
Yeah. So any restrictions that we have will be based upon public health standards and maintaining the health and safety of our faculty staff and students. And so even the Lowry Campus and the Centura Campus will follow the same standards. Yes. Typically, in Lowry the class sizes are a little bit smaller to begin with and so, one of the things we're looking at is what is the restriction on group sizes and what are the size of our rooms. So we will be following the same standards, but the facility is a little bit different and the sizes of the classes typically are different. So that might be the only difference between the Greeley Campus and Lowry or Centura.

Dan Maxey (00:45:43):
Great. And for Mark and Andy, we have some questions about best practices across Colorado and how much coordination and effort is happening to share ideas across Colorado institutions and to work together since we're all sort of affected by the conditions here in the State of Colorado.

President Feinstein (00:46:03):
Well, we do talk together regularly. In fact, just this afternoon we had a CEO meeting with the executive director of higher education and we're talking with general counsel primarily around some of the new regulations with riding Title IX. And so discussing some legal changes there. We came together earlier in the week and lobbied for additional funding for higher education and we were successful in that, as I mentioned earlier. We do talk about strategies that we'll be employing in the fall for move in. We're all discussing what are some things that we'll be doing to ensure that our students are safe in the classroom. And so we've been sharing ideas there.

President Feinstein (00:46:44):
We're also talking about budget scenarios. I think that across the country this pandemic has certainly affected financial universities. And so we're also talking about ways in which we can look at opportunities to reduce cost at the university without impacting the college experience for our students. And there's probably a handful of other CEO's that I talk to regularly. I'm friends with the CEO of the Colorado State University System. I talk to him regularly. I'm friends with the CEO at Metro State and a couple of others that we just share ideas and probably reach out and talk to each other at least once a week. So right now we're focusing I think, collaboratively on what's some strategies for ensuring that we have the best possible experience for our students this fall.

Mark Anderson (00:47:41):
And just as a quick follow up, the Colorado Department of Higher Education since April has been holding a weekly meeting with academic affairs representatives from every university in the state. And so we've been collaborating and talking about what our plans are for the spring. And then right now we're really being strategic about the fall semester. One of the things that we did earlier in May was look at how we can begin to have some face-to-face operations. And so CDHE came up with a mechanism by which universities could ask for exceptions. And so we have limited face-to-face as President Feinstein said earlier, really based upon access to specialized equipment or specialized room facilities. Those are lab classes, art studio, those types of things. So we are collaborating with all the institutions in the state to be sure that we're all consistent and on the same page.

Dan Maxey (00:48:46):
Great. Another housing question related to housing fees for Katrina with the discussion about the chance that some or most of our rooms might be converted to single occupancy. Will the fees change or will a student who has already paid a premium to have a single room be charged the same rate that everybody else is paying for single rooms, if that's different than what it normally is?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:49:11):
That is a great question. I know that we were going to modify the single room rate if we're required to put folks in singles. I can get some information and get back to you on that one. I don't know the exact answer. I can't imagine we would dichotomize it in that way to have two different rates. But let me see what I can find out.

Dan Maxey (00:49:44):
Great. Thank you. And we have a lot of questions about when we'll know a little bit more about when move in dates. I know you mentioned that we're looking right now at having a registration system available for students to sign up for a moving date and time. When do we know when that will be available? And do you have a sense of what the date range might be for availability for move in?

Katrina Rodriguez (00:50:05):
No, I don't know. I know that I'm hearing some of our housing professionals talk about a week or more, so I'm not exactly sure. I do understand that they're going to try to get all of the room assignments and information about move in by mid-June and they'll be getting that out to families and students. So that is their timeline as of now for that mid-June. So I'd say they're looking at a week to week and a half, so I think they're trying to do all the logistics by building to figure out what are the various entrances that folks can come in and out of and how many people can we have in building at a time going up and down the stairs in all their rooms. So that's [crosstalk 00:50:46].

President Feinstein (00:50:47):
And Katrina it's Andy, we're getting a lot of feedback on just your microphone and it's really hard to hear you and not exactly sure. You sound tinny and I think the words are ... it's kind of coming in and out. So we're getting a lot of comments about that. So I'm not sure if it's your connection or not, but I just want to give you a heads up.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:51:05):
Yes. I don't know how to adjust this. Is this any better?

President Feinstein (00:51:12):
Yes.

Dan Maxey (00:51:12):
It is.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:51:13):
Okay, I switched-

President Feinstein (00:51:15):
Much better.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:51:16):
Okay, good. So perhaps folks didn't hear what I just said. Should I-

President Feinstein (00:51:21):
Why don't you start from the beginning at 4:00 and we'll [inaudible 00:51:23]. Just kidding.

Dan Maxey (00:51:25):
But do it in eight minutes.

President Feinstein (00:51:30):
Yeah, eight minutes.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:51:30):
We'll be having room assignments, we'll know check in times and be able to let folks know that by mid-June. That's where we're going to really shoot for that date, because we know people need to make plans.

Dan Maxey (00:51:46):
Great. Given the changes that we might expect to see in housing and student life and even delivery of instruction, we have some questions about what deferral options are. And if a student decides that they're not ready to go to college in the fall, what sort of options do we make available to them?

Mark Anderson (00:52:08):
So we do have a deferral option. I'll impose upon Marty again. He's answered that question before and knows the details a little bit better than I do.

Marty Somero (00:52:21):
All right. You caught me doing reading emails. Could you repeat the question please? And I'll be glad to answer.

Dan Maxey (00:52:28):
The question is about our deferral policy and if a student decides they're not comfortable coming in the fall, what options do they have?

Marty Somero (00:52:34):
Certainly, yes. A very common situation where if a student has to defer, as long as they don't attend somewhere else, decide they don't like it there and then want to come back to UNC and pick that scholarship up, there is a very simple appeals process for that. So if a student decides they're not comfortable coming to UNC this year and they don't go anywhere else, they could appeal to get those freshmen scholarships back. If they do decide they're going to try it somewhere else and then they were transferring, they would be in line for our transfer scholarships at that point versus our incoming freshmen scholarships.

Dan Maxey (00:53:14):
Great. Thank you. We appreciate jumping in there. We have a number of questions about how we're going to handle things like social distancing in common shared spaces, things like the library on campus, whether masks will be required, what sort of measures we might take to ensure that people can wash their hands or sanitize their hands. Maybe one of you could speak a little bit about-

President Feinstein (00:53:40):
Well, the good news is we have a lot of washing stations on campus, all over campus and all of our facilities, and certainly we'll have to have other mechanisms to make sure that people are properly washing their hands. We haven't come to a decision yet on PPE and the use of masks or the requirement that students bring their own masks or we provide masks. Those conversations are ongoing and have not been clarified.

President Feinstein (00:54:05):
I do believe that there'll be some need for social distancing still. And some of the complexities, it's like when you go to the grocery store, some of the complexities are you want to keep six feet distance, but as you're going through the entrance of the grocery store, how are you ensuring that that's occurring or when you're grabbing that grocery cart and someone else is waiting in line to grab a grocery cart. Or recently this weekend I went to Home Depot and stood in line to get in. They were pacing people going in those facilities. So there's lots of complexities around social distancing and that's the work that not only we're doing on campus and discussing how we can ensure that our students and our faculty and staff are safe and that we practice the requirements that have been provided to us by the state. But also just using good common sense, and so it's evolving.

President Feinstein (00:54:51):
Again, what is required right today for social distancing, we're not allowed to have classes larger than 10, but I also know that that's going to change. And we're over three months away from school starting and things are moving rapidly. So I don't have specific answers on whether or not we'll be wearing masks three months from now or what the actual social distancing practices will be. What I can tell you is we will be following all the requirements in Colorado, the expectations locally at the state level from the CDC and our governor, our close contact with him and to see how things evolve in the next couple of weeks.

Dan Maxey (00:55:31):
Great. Thank you. We're about five minutes out from 5:00, so I'm going to ask Katrina a final question before we wrap things up. Maybe I'll squeeze in two more here. Folks are interested in knowing what student activities might look like, knowing that sort of student engagement, student involvement activities are a big part of the college experience.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:55:51):
Absolutely. And again, working on those as we speak. Again, based on the social distancing, if we can have 10 students or 50 students, we will create activities and various typical college events around those numbers. And we'll also be creative in figuring out how we can do that perhaps with groups in different spaces.

Katrina Rodriguez (00:56:14):
We will do some things virtually as well because again, not all students may want to be in contact with lots of other students, maybe outside of their classes and that kind of thing. So we want to have the option to have a little bit of both. So we are working on those pieces and we want students to be able to have a full college experience for sure. So we're just, again, sort of waiting on, excuse me, what those guidelines are going to look like, but we fully intend to be able to deliver those programs as we have in the past.

Dan Maxey (00:56:48):
Great. Thank you. I'm just scrolling through here to see if we have any additional questions. I know we had some questions about work study and what the local economic situation looked like. So whether students will have opportunities to pursue work study positions and whether we think that the local economy might be sufficient for students to find off campus jobs that they want to. Mark, I wonder if you might have any thoughts there or Katrina or Andy.

Mark Anderson (00:57:22):
Well, again, work study is part of the collegian experience and we are optimistic and fully expect to have instruction in a face-to-face environment and having people on campus. The university really doesn't function without student workers, whether it be through the work study program or just through a regular being hired. So we are anticipating that we will have work study and then we'll have student employment on campus. What exactly that looks like, we can't say at the moment because that really ultimately depends upon what the student life needs are, what the academic needs are, et cetera. But we expect that there will be employment of students on campus.

Mark Anderson (00:58:12):
As social distancing requirements, our ease in restaurants and other retail begin to open, we have a lot of that surrounding the campus and I can't speak to what their hiring practices are, but I believe that we'll have a robust environment where students will have an experience similar to what it would normally be.

President Feinstein (00:58:35):
Really, it's an interesting question too. Before the pandemic, the metropolitan statistical area of Greeley was in the top five fastest growing economies in the country. And certainly with what's happened recently nationally there's a ... as we've seen, unemployment is significantly increasing. There's certainly a lack of jobs not only in Greeley, but nationally because of this pandemic when the restaurants and our small businesses are closed down. But I'm confident that they are going to open up and when they do, they're going to need people to work there.

President Feinstein (00:59:16):
So I do believe there'll be opportunities for work outside of the university in Greeley and in Fort Collins and the surrounding communities. At what level? I don't know yet. I think it's a question that I know economists are working on and there's a lot of hypothetical questions, but we really don't have answers about how the economy's going to rebound not only in Greeley and in Colorado, but nationally. So I am optimistic about it, but we really don't have those answers.

Dan Maxey (00:59:43):
Great. Thank you. We're getting a lot of comments in here right now thanking the group and thanking each of you for continuing to share information and participate in these forums. A lot of recognition that it must be repetitive to come in here and do this over and over again. And we did have some questions also about what individuals should do if they have further questions about their specific circumstances and how UNC's plans for the fall might affect those students. Certainly would encourage students to reach out to their admissions counselor and have discussions about specific concerns or specific circumstances if their questions haven't been answered here fully.

Dan Maxey (01:00:28):
I know that we got a request earlier today to continue to do these virtual town halls. So I think we'll have some more of these in the future to answer questions as we get more information about what the fall looks like. So I want to thank everybody for joining us and I'll turn things over to President Feinstein for closing remark.

President Feinstein (01:00:47):
Thanks Dan. We're here for you and the reason that we do these calls and yes, some of the questions that we're answering, we've heard before, sometimes more than once, but we're here for you. We're here to answer your questions. I know that many of you have concerns about what the fall holds, families that are on the call and students, there's still a lot of uncertainty in this country as to when we're going to get back to our new normal, whatever that is. But what I can tell you is that we're committed at UNC to making sure that you have a safe and healthy experience here, that you have a wonderful educational experience and we're going to do everything in our abilities to make sure that happens. Keep the questions coming throughout the summer. We're here to answer those questions for you and we'll do our absolute best to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to coming to UNC this fall. So thanks for being on the call and go Bears.

Dan Maxey (01:01:39):
Go Bears.

Katrina Rodriguez (01:01:42):
Go Bears.

Mark Anderson (01:01:46):
Go Bears. Thanks for joining us. And just to follow up with Andy, if you have any followup questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me and I'd be happy to get back with you.

President Feinstein (01:01:57):
Me as well absolutely.

Mark Anderson (01:01:59):
I'll post my email into the chat so anybody can can see it.

President Feinstein (01:02:04):
Mine's easy. It's just andy.feinstein@unco.edu. All of us kind of have the same email addresses except for Mark. There's actually another Mark Anderson. So you have to be careful with Mark or you'll send emails to a faculty member. But I know I'm the only Andy Feinstein and Katrina is the only Katrina Rodriguez on campus too, but Mark has an alias who moonlights as a faculty member here.

Mark Anderson (01:02:32):
That's why I have to put my email into the chat, nobody would get it otherwise.

Dan Maxey (01:02:39):
And for those of you who can't see the chats, I think this gets recorded. It's markr.anderson@unco.edu. If you email mark.anderson, it goes somewhere else entirely. Great. Thank you everyone again for joining us today. We're glad that you took some time to come and ask and answer questions and we look forward to sharing additional information with everyone as we have it.

President Feinstein (01:03:06):
Take care everybody.

Katrina Rodriguez (01:03:08):
Thank you. Bye.

President Feinstein (01:03:10):
Stay safe. Be healthy.