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June 9, 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.
Whitney Bonner (00:00):
Hi, everyone. My name is Whitney Bonner. I'm the Interim Director of Recruitment for the UNC office of admissions. I'm very excited that you're able to join us today as we connect you with some of our top campus administrators, so we can share with you what our plans are for this Fall 2020 semester. As we go through this opportunity, your mics will be muted. You will have the opportunity, though, to ask questions via the chat function. So if you go ahead and expand your screen to the full screen view, you'll see at the bottom there is a chat availability. And so that is where you are going to be able to use or ask questions. Then excuse me, that's the Q&A button, not the chat function. Sorry about that. So use that Q&A button. And you can feel free to go ahead and start asking questions using that A&A right now. We will do our best to answer your questions either live via the panelists, or also via responding directly written, or we will also follow up after the webinar with those answers.
Whitney Bonner (01:00):
As you know, things are kind of changing pretty rapidly as it relates to COVID-19, so we will do our best to answer your questions. And there are still some things that we will be working through. So, just kind of keep that in mind. With that, I am going to go ahead and turn it over to our moderator, Dan Maxey, and he will kind of kick us off. Thank you, everyone.
Dan Maxey (01:20):
Thank you, Whitney, and thank you to the students and parents who are joining us this afternoon. I want to welcome you all, and I'm pleased to be here today to moderate our discussion and to introduce three UNC leaders and colleagues of mine. First, Dr. Andy Feinstein became 13th President of the University of Northern Colorado in July 2018. His experience in higher education spans 30 years. And he has devoted his career to teaching and learning research and scholarship and student success, which is his top priority at UNC.
Dan Maxey (01:50):
Dr. Mark Anderson is UNC's Chief Academic Officer and Provost. Dr. Anderson joined UNC as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in the Spring of 2019. As Provost, Dr. Anderson oversees everything from enrollment management, to advising to our academic programs. 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 and the career center, as well as student life. I'm grateful to have these three with us today. And we have over 140 future bears joining us today, though some of you may have met Andy during a prior campuses and I'll let him kick things off today by introducing himself and telling you a little bit more about UNC, including a little bit about our preparations for the Fall semester.
Dan Maxey (02:40):
Following Andy's opening remarks, Mark and Katrina will join him in providing some comments and updates as in their capacities both as Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs, but also as co chairs of our Fall Reentry Task Force. After we've had those comments, we'll take your questions and have a little bit of a dialogue with these three UNC leaders. If you'd like to begin entering your questions now, please feel free to do that. I see that a number of questions are starting to come in now, and we encourage you to start typing those in as we get started here. With that said, I'll turn it over to President Feinstein.
President Feinstein (03:17):
Thanks, Dan and [inaudible 00:03:18]. Good afternoon, everybody or good evening. Now, it's after five o'clock. Welcome, and thank you so much for choosing UNC. I know there's going to be a lot of questions this evening. I can already see as Dan said, a number of questions are already being posted. And it is still a fluid situation. We are very optimistic about the Fall. I'm convinced we're going to have an in person experience in the Fall, students will be in student housing, although it'll be different.
President Feinstein (03:45):
We've got a number of people working in a variety of ways focusing on what the Fall will look like. We have a reentry plan that we're focusing on, and understanding how we can actually ensure that we deliver on our promise to our students in person. But also leveraging technology in a hybrid fashion, as well as also ensuring that our students, faculty and staff remain healthy and safe. And there's a lot of work to do in that regard. You can imagine just understanding the complexities of our classroom configuration, to ensure that we practice social distancing, to understanding how our students, faculty and staff move throughout our facility. So, we can answer some of those questions as well. I'll now ask Mark Anderson to introduce himself, and then we can get on with some questions.
Mark Anderson (04:34):
Thank you, President Feinstein. I'm Mark Anderson, I'm the provost as Dan said earlier. The Provost really oversees the academic mission of the university. I really want to get to the questions as quickly as possible. I'll address a couple of themes that seem to be showing up in the Q&A right now. With respect to them, how classes will be offered in the Fall. We're really working through that right now. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our campus community. But I can't say with confidence that we will have face-to-face courses in the Fall. As President Feinstein indicated, they might look a little bit different than what they've been in the past.
Mark Anderson (05:15):
In order to maintain six feet of separation, we're looking at room capacity, and as a consequence class capacity. But we are committed to ensuring that you have a great experience in your education and a great on campus experience as well. There were other questions and very specialized about music, and theater and some other types of things like that. Very much like our intention to have face-to-face classes to the extent possible, we intend to have our music programs to the extent possible and face-to-face. Probably in smaller ensembles, I think things like orchestra are going to be a little bit harder just because of the number of people. But individualized instruction and small group instruction will be possible, and we're making every effort to plan those things out.
Mark Anderson (06:10):
We've set a deadline for the end of June to have all of our instruction worked out, how each class, each section of each class will be taught. And we will communicate that out to the students in those sections just as soon as we've made that final determination. As students are registering for class during New Student Orientation, we don't know exactly how every class will be taught, but we will as soon as possible let you know. But we anticipate that all students will have some mixture of face-to-face, hybrid, which is a mix of face-to-face and online, and potentially some online courses as well. With that, I will turn it over to my colleague Katrina Rodriguez.
Katrina Rodriguez (06:57):
Thank you, Mark. Hello, everybody. So Great to be here with you today. And for those of you, what is Student Affairs? And Student Affairs is a division that houses a lot of various units; Counseling Center, Disability Resource Center's, student life, housing and residents' education. So we have a lot, and just those are just to name a few. And so what we really focus on is the student experience, and making sure that the student experience is top notch for our students. So that they have a sense of belonging here at UNC, that this is your campus as a student, you are a bear. And we want you to meet other people, get involved in clubs and organizations, and sports, performing and visual arts, all the things that really make a tremendous student experience, including athletics, we cannot forget that.
Katrina Rodriguez (07:52):
And so we are very hopeful about being on campus in the Fall, and I'm very excited to have students come back to campus and to again, get engaged. No matter what in the Fall as my colleagues have mentioned, we're still figuring out a lot of ways to ensure we have social distancing, that we have safety measures in place for our students, staff and faculty. And we are working hard to ensure that we can create that safety as well as really having a tremendous experience for our students, as well as providing the support that students need.
Katrina Rodriguez (08:35):
Last Spring when we went to a virtual campus, we still had ongoing appointments with our counseling center again, with students who utilized accommodations for their academic resources. Those continued virtually, as well as having opportunities for students to engage and become involving to continue to be involved on campus. So all of those things are in place, and we look forward to having everybody back in the Fall and getting a chance to really connect with our students. So, we look forward to that. With that, I'll turn it back over to Dan. I believe he's going to open up our Q&A section.
Dan Maxey (09:17):
That's right, and the questions are rolling in, so keep them coming. I'm going to turn first to Provost Anderson. Mark, you mentioned that we'll have final determinations on the delivery mode for every one of our courses by the end of this month. We have a question from a parent whose son has signed up for classes today as part of New Student Orientation, and wants to know whether it's possible that they'll have to make changes to their student's schedule because of reduced class sizes, social distancing and other changes that might occur.
Mark Anderson (09:56):
As we're looking at our Fall schedule, we're working within the structure that the schedule was already organized. And so if a course is scheduled for 9:00 AM on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, the only thing that might change would be the room that it actually is housed in. The other thing that might change is it might move from fully face-to-face instruction to a hybrid instruction, or potentially fully online. So we're... If you are signed up for a particular class, we will not bump people out of the class by changing the capacity. What we will do is look at how best to offer the class, what modality, face-to-face, online, hybrid, et cetera. And we will communicate any change to the mode of delivery.
Mark Anderson (10:49):
And if we, for example, switch from a face-to-face class to an online class, you'll have the opportunity to switch if you would like. It's not a matter of we're going to change your schedule without notice. So, we're working within the structure of the schedule as it currently exists. The things that might change would be the modality, or the room that it is going to be housed in.
Dan Maxey (11:21):
Thank you, Mark. And a follow-up question on that. We've got some questions about if courses are going to be delivered... If a particular student's courses are going to be mostly available online, and they want to defer scholarships, admissions decisions, et cetera, place and program until the following Spring or Fall. If that will be an option for students who are concerned about that mix or want the true full in person experience.
Mark Anderson (11:56):
I'm going to answer that a little bit, and then I'm going to ask our colleague Marty Somero, who's a little bit more well versed on the nuances of answering those questions. We've really fully expect that we'll have a good mix of face-to-face and online. And so, although we don't know for sure because we're still working out the details, I think everybody will have a mix of face-to-face as well as hybrid and online experiences. The question is, what mix works for you and making those decisions? With respect to differing, I'm going to ask Marty to address that. So, Marty.
Marty Somero (12:38):
Yeah, good afternoon, everybody. Again, thanks, everybody for joining in. As Director of Financial Aid, we've always allowed students to defer their scholarships if they've had situations pop up, and as long as they had not attended a different university and changed their mind and came back to us. We've always been willing with basically some simple emails and stuff back and forth, working with the family to defer the scholarship. I would say, in this situations with the COVID-19 and everything that's ongoing, we would gladly work with the family on deferring the scholarships. Again, for a student who want to stay home and take a course at a community college, I don't think that'd be a fine or problem. But if all of a sudden you say I'm going off to XYZ University and changing your mind and then come back, that might be a little more challenging. But in general, yes, we will gladly work with families on deferring these scholarships for a future semester, if it's COVID-19 related and what's going on.
Dan Maxey (13:45):
Great. Thank you, Marty. Mark and Marty, both. I appreciate Marty jumping in here when we have questions about scholarships. We are getting a good number of questions about Housing and Dining, so I'm going to turn to Katrina next. A lot of the questions that we're seeing are about move in, and when we'll know what move in dates look like, if parents and family members will be able to help their students move into the residence halls. It's good. What can you tell us about what that looks like right now, and when we'll have some more definitive information and dates available for families?
Katrina Rodriguez (14:19):
Absolutely. We are looking at, we'll have some information in the next week or week and a half or so, as we try to narrow down by mid June what our move in will look like. We are going to have an extended period of time for folks to move in. And so we'll get those dates, and most likely some type of a reservation system, if you will. It's probably not that formal, but so that we can stagger the move in. We want to ensure that we've got various time setup, so we have the right amount of people in and out of the building and utilizing various stairwells, and elevators and that kind of thing so that we're again, practicing that social distancing. And so we ought to know that, like I said, in the next couple of weeks, and we will be letting folks know.
Katrina Rodriguez (15:13):
I know, there's also questions about, we're from out of state, we need to certainly make plans. And so we will be doing that as well and accommodating those schedules, particularly for those who are coming from further away than Colorado. Is there another part of that question or did I answer all that, Dan?
Dan Maxey (15:34):
Yeah, I don't remember if I heard you mention or talking about the family members, and whether they'll be able to help students move in.
Katrina Rodriguez (15:41):
Yes. We are going to be... We're going to have some level of family helping students move in. It will likely be less than we might have had in years past. So we again, want to sort of limit the amount of folks in a building at one particular time for safety reasons. So that additional information will be known soon, and will be forthcoming.
Dan Maxey (16:10):
Great, thank you. We're also, Katrina getting a lot of questions about, what roommate situations are going to look like if the number of roommates will be limited. If you have students who have assigned roommates already will keep those assignments, and whether there's going to be any sort of decision about first year living requirements on campus.
Katrina Rodriguez (16:36):
Absolutely. I do see that my colleague, Dr. Jenna Finley is on the line. Jenna, would you? I think you probably have a little more detail than I have, and it might answer those questions a little better.
Jenna Finley (16:49):
Sure, happy to answer that. The first question was about the live band requirement, and UNC does have a live requirement and that is remaining in place for the year. I think we know that there might be some students because of COVID that have some pre-existing conditions that they may not be able to live with us. And so we do have an appeal process, petition for release process that is on our website under forms.
Jenna Finley (17:21):
The second question was about assignments and roommates. We are still making some final decisions about that. I can talk a little bit about what and we know right now based on our consultations with Weld County Health Department, CDC and our colleagues in the state. Right now, we are considering and looking at and considering all rooms to be household. So similar to when you thought about the stay at home order where you could be at home with your family. We are thinking that students will have roommates and suite mates and they will have to consider that room their households.
Jenna Finley (18:00):
Yeah, we'll have some policy that will be different than what we've had in the past that supports health and safety. And some of those policies will be likely be limiting guests in student rooms and wearing masks on campus, which allows for a bit more of a normal college experience. So the final details of that will be coming out, hopefully with the move in process. So in the next week and a half or so you should be receiving communication regarding those, that piece.
Dan Maxey (18:38):
Great, thank you [inaudible 00:18:39] the next question to President Feinstein, we've got some questions about athletics. And President Feinstein is the new incoming Vice Chair elective of The Big Sky Conference President's Council, so well equipped to answer these questions. Folks want to know what athletics are going to look like for the Fall, if athletic teams will be holding practices. And there's a specific question about the wrestling program, about the wrestling in the Fall.
President Feinstein (19:09):
As far as our Fall sports, our big ones, certainly are football, volleyball, women's volleyball and women's soccer, we're going to start practicing Fall sports in about a week. And so I'm confident we're going to have a football schedule, and we're going to have volleyball and soccer here. I think initially, we were certainly following all the guidelines recommendations from the CDC and the state of Colorado to ensure the health and safety of our students, but they're starting to practice coming up here voluntarily in the next week.
President Feinstein (19:42):
There's a lot of discussion about what this may mean for fans. We're not sure yet how we're going to address fans in the stadiums. I can imagine if we're practicing social distancing, which we most likely will be, there'll have to be ways to distance out fans at least six feet from each other. And that will certainly limit capacity in our arenas and our stadiums. We're also looking at rapid testing protocols for our students, as well as a contact tracing technologies, and also practicing as best we can social distancing, although certainly sports like soccer, and volleyball and football are contact sports as well. So there's still some work to be done, but we're going to have sports in the Fall.
President Feinstein (20:25):
Wrestling, absolutely. I think wrestling starts later in the Fall. We have a great team. We've got a lot of new players coming on as well. I went to almost all the meets, that with the dual meets that we had last year, and very exciting. I was a terrible wrestler in high school, so it's fun to watch some true athletes in the sport. But I think that as we progress further into the Fall semester when basketball, men's and women's basketball starts up, our other spectator sports like wrestling, they'll be in full swing later in the Fall.
Dan Maxey (21:03):
Great, thank you. We have a question about the academic calendar. And so I'll put this to Mark and Andy, whichever, if you want to start on it. A number of institutions have announced either earlier starts, or that they will end their semesters early, or have the final portion of the semester after thanksgiving to be offered completely online. Are any of those options that UNC is exploring or might implement for the Fall?
President Feinstein (21:32):
I'll just start the [inaudible 00:21:33] and add to this. We are not planning on starting any earlier. And 85% of our students are from Colorado, about 15% are from out of state. Certainly there is a possibility depending what we see in the fall with if there's a spike in COVID cases. But right now, we're planning to have a full semester, including classes after Thanksgiving. But again, we'll be monitoring this very closely. And as we progress through the summer, making determinations on whether that will hold, let's say sometime later as we get closer to the Fall beginning.
Mark Anderson (22:15):
I'll just add to that. We are closely monitoring the situation and making decisions to ensure the safety, health and safety of our community. And right at the moment, we think it's, we don't see for our situation that changing the academic calendar at all makes sense at this moment. But as the semester begins and as we progress through September and October, we'll be paying close attention to our community, and if needed, making decisions that are warranted based upon the best information we have. But at the moment, we have thought a lot and we've talked a lot about it, but we're not making any changes to our academic calendar.
Dan Maxey (23:07):
Great, thank you. We have a question from a parent of a first generation college student who doesn't know what the normal, what a normal Fall looks like. So I think we're in the habit sometimes in these conversations about talking about a normal Fall, and so not... Maybe not going into sort of what a normal Fall looks like. What exactly will welcoming a student to campus look like in what some of us are sort of calling the COVID normal Fall in August? Katrina, I wonder if you can start us there.
Katrina Rodriguez (23:44):
Happy to, and I appreciate the question because sort of yeah [inaudible 00:23:49] what does it look like? So we are working very diligently on what we are calling an extended, a New Student Orientation. We know students are going through virtual orientation and folks are doing a great job, and really helping to connect students to campus. So what we'd like to do, when as folks get to campus particularly say from that Thursday through Sunday before classes start, we will have a number of activities that we'll have folks will have various topics that we can discuss. We'll be doing some fun things as well. Every year we... Thinking about social distancing... Typically, we find ways to help students get together and create a giant UNC that we make postcards out of.
Katrina Rodriguez (24:38):
There will be opportunities to engage you and might have some things in our Rec center, or other places on campus. We'd like to get our UNC pep band, Pride of the Rockies, they're called to perform as well so we can hear them. The other thing is, where Colleges are holding sessions for students get to know faculty in their college and what the college is about, various opportunities for labs and ways to get involved in college activities, as well as program events. And so some of those items, the details, the schedules are being worked out. And we're excited to roll those out as soon as we have a schedule put together, but we feel we're being very intentional to ensure that students have... I think the biggest thing is to get connected to campus quickly to understand what kinds of things are available to them, and things that they can get engaged in, in interest areas.
Katrina Rodriguez (25:42):
We have over 150 clubs and organizations that students can choose to be a part of things, that they've done in the past, perhaps in high school. Or if they want to try something brand new, or there's something that looks interesting to them from environmental related things, to particular, fraternal organizations, say within a psychology field, to our social organizations and in our Greek system. So there's just, we want students to understand what all of the impacts, where all the opportunities are to get involved so they can decide for themselves. And what do they want to be doing as they get started here?
Katrina Rodriguez (26:22):
We also have a tremendous cultural resource centers that have a lot of activities that will also be held in the Fall where students can get engaged, again with those types of centers that have interest areas for them or just to explore what they do. So that's some of what Fall will look like, or those first four days anyway, prior to classes starting.
Dan Maxey (26:47):
Great. Thank you, Katrina. And you addressed some of the various types of organizations and resource centers that we have available. Will things like club sports be available in the Fall? Do we know yet?
Katrina Rodriguez (26:57):
We are working on club sports, much like our athletics, the safety precautions but figuring out how we can do club sports, those are extremely popular. And we know students really enjoy being a part of those. So we are working diligently to determine how we can do that, and put something into place.
Dan Maxey (27:17):
Great, thank you. The next, and I see that we have Tobias Guzman on the line, and so I'm going to call on him to step in here for a moment. Tobias, we have some questions about dining on campus. And whether there will be any restrictions in our dining halls, whether there will be staggered dining, spaced out seating, take out. What are the various options that we're exploring for dining as well?
Tobias Guzmán (27:43):
Great question, and welcome to everyone. First of all, our dining program has really completely changed dramatically. One of the great opportunities to be on campus is breaking bread, and being with your fellow bears having all you care to eat. Unfortunately, we have to change that, and make it looks very similar to the restaurants that you're visiting right now perhaps, and also some of the curbside ways of doing things. We will be honoring all of the social distancing, and making sure that the space is spread out, so that we're taking care of all the needs on our dining staff as well as our students.
Tobias Guzmán (28:39):
So we are looking into, or to go where a student will be able to call in. That is going to take a little bit of time, but it is something that I think we're all kind of getting used to as a community and doing those kinds of things. We also will not be changing the quality of our food. We want to make sure that the food is desirable, and it is tasty, it is still developed by our chefs on campus. So all those things will still take place, we just won't have the opportunity where we're dining in rooms on a regular basis, and perhaps staying in there having extra desserts and extra entrees. So we also will have our gourmet to go options, where you will be able to take those to your room, hot food items as well. So it'll be a combination of things, just not looking exactly like the traditional way we do things.
Dan Maxey (29:41):
Great, thank you Tobias. Mark, we're getting, you kicked off our call with a little bit of mention of some of the various types of classes that really benefit from being taught in person. And anytime we do one of these, we get very specific questions about rehearsals and recitals. We've got some questions here about main stage theater productions, and we also often get questions about labs and other types of experiences that really are in person experiences that you can't do well online or through hybrid modalities. What can you tell us right now about what these various opportunities, productions, performances, rehearsals, labs and things look like for the Fall?
Mark Anderson (30:28):
I happen to actually see the question about the theater productions just moments before you mentioned it, Dan. I know our theater department is well respected nationally. We get a lot of students, and part of that is because we do a lot of productions. And I know the faculty have been really having deep conversations about that. And the intention is to continue to have productions, but probably on a smaller scale than we might otherwise, smaller cast, et cetera. And putting them in theaters, and restricting the audience based upon social distancing requirements. In theater, the plan is to continue to forge ahead in as normal a situation as we can, but restricting the size of cast and the size of audiences.
Mark Anderson (31:21):
I saw another question earlier about art. So, art has studio courses very much like science having laboratory courses. Those are courses that require access to specialized equipment, specialized facility. And those are the highest priority for us to do in a face-to-face environment, because the effective instruction really requires that hands on experience by the students. And so, those will be in a face to face environment. The focus in all of our courses on the learning objectives and then in an art studio for example, oftentimes the learning objective can be accomplished in a lot of different ways. And so as we're looking at the capacity of different rooms, we're looking at different ways to get that hands on experience in the art studio, in the laboratory, but also engaging some other types of activities that one can do on their own to accomplish that learning objective in this hybrid model of instruction.
Mark Anderson (32:28):
There's been questions about music, and I addressed that a little bit earlier. And again, unlike very much like theater, where our faculty have been working diligently on how we can continue to have that experience in a socially distanced way. And so, there might be smaller ensembles, or, as Katrina mentioned with the Pride of the Rockies marching band doing that in a way that maintains that six feet of separation. So one of the great things about UNC is our community banding together, and our faculty being very intentional and very clever about how we can ensure those types of experiences in our instruction, in our co curricular activities, and preserve those types of things, given the restrictions that public health is requiring us at the moment. And so we will have those experiences, and we're planning on ways to do that responsibly.
Dan Maxey (33:33):
Great. Thank you, Mark. We've heard a lot about social distancing today. Andy, I think you mentioned some of the work that our Student Health Center is doing to develop contact bracing protocols, and we do have testing available for students and university personnel at our Student Health Center even now. What about masks? Are masks are something that we're likely to see in the Fall on campus? Is that going to be maybe something that's required?
President Feinstein (34:01):
They are. I mean, we haven't made that definitive statement yet, but most likely massively required on campus and classrooms. Certainly, there's areas that we need to work out. For instance, faculty members, if they're wearing masks. Those that may be hearing impaired, how are we going to address are some of their concerns. Also just being able to hear faculty members wearing a mask, as well as how we would make sure that students have either bringing their own, or obviously being provided with PPE is something that, the logistics of that are quite complex, and that's something that I know Katrina and Mark are working through in their logistics discussions. Maybe they have something more to add to that as well.
Mark Anderson (34:48):
With respect to masks, I think the scientific evidence is pretty clear that it is one of the most effective ways that we can help to minimize the transmission of the virus. And so we want to be very, very intentional about maintaining the health and safety of our campus community. Katrina mentioned earlier, or maybe Jenna did, the family unit and within housing and how within that unit, you wouldn't necessarily because you're exposed to each other wouldn't necessarily have to wear the mask. But as you're going out into other areas of the campus where you're interacting with a lot of different people, the best way for preventing or minimizing the transmission is by wearing a mask.
Mark Anderson (35:40):
As President Feinstein indicated, we have to be mindful of the impact that it has upon instruction. And so for a faculty person who is leading a class, we want to be sure that mask wearing is not impeding that interaction. And so we might think about face shields, or we might consider a little bit of further separation between the faculty person and the students. But many of our classes are discussions, and so we have to be mindful of having that interaction between the students, and how wearing masks will impact that. But I think our first and foremost is the evidence that wearing a mask is the best way of preventing transmit... Or minimizing, preventing and stuff, but minimizing transmission.
Dan Maxey (36:35):
And I was on a call with the CDC, I think about a week ago and the CDC is strongly recommending mass and mandating mask wearing on campus. Recognizing, as you pointed out, that the science shows that it's a pretty significant factor in reducing and mitigating the spread of the virus. So, I appreciate those comments from both of you.
Katrina Rodriguez (37:00):
One more I can add [crosstalk 00:37:02].
Dan Maxey (37:03):
Katrina Rodriguez (37:03):
We are asking students to bring a wardrobe of masks when they come to campus in the sense that they need to be washed frequently. And so to have an array of them or multiple anyway so that they can be sure that they're appropriately washing those in between wearings. So just if I like that I think Jenna mentioned that, originally a wardrobe with masks. So, fashion statement or otherwise.
Dan Maxey (37:33):
Well, Katrina the next question here's for you, and maybe for Jenna also. So, I'll ask if you can help answers. When we talk about sort of transmission risks and things on campus, we talked a little bit about the housing situation and roommate situations, stuff like that. What about visitation, visitors to rooms? Will there be any restrictions about sort of friends being able to visit one another in their rooms, or for family to come and visit their students in the residence halls? And what does that look like?
Jenna Finley (38:09):
We are still making a final decision on that. As I talked to my colleagues in the state and across the country, most institutions are limiting guests in some way. So, I think we're still trying to define what that looks like for us. In the chat, someone asked how that would be enforced. We do have resident assistants in all of our residence halls that are responsible for policy enforcement. So if that were, if a guest policy were to be put in place, then we would be enforcing that through that staff.
Jenna Finley (38:43):
Now the family, I think in other pieces, I think there might be places where we would allow guests and encourage interaction. We certainly want people to have interactions with friends, keeping in mind physical distancing and mask wearing. So, we're going to facilitate that in a way that hopefully will still balance safety and the importance of relationship and community in the college experience. So that's what we will be communicating as soon as a policy is decided, but certainly understand the importance of connection with family and friends during this experience.
Dan Maxey (39:29):
Great, thank you. Andy I'm going to turn the next question to you. There's a, we've got a couple of questions about what the situation looks like here in Greeley with regard to the disease, and sort of how things are looking here in Greeley and the UNC in terms of sort of health safety.
President Feinstein (39:49):
Well, I wish we had our head of our virus Task Force, Blaine Dickerson on the phone because I don't have the exact numbers with me. But certainly like in Colorado, our restaurants have opened, although you have to practice social distancing. I went into my favorite local pizza place for lunch today, and wore masks when I came in, and sat down and enjoyed lunch. And they had tables spaced out. I know there were some concerns earlier in the Spring with JBS, which is a large meatpacking plant on the outskirts of town. And they had a pretty large outbreak of Coronavirus. And I think that it made national headlines with some concerns there, but it wasn't like that was spread throughout our Greeley community.
President Feinstein (40:35):
We have two very large hospitals in Greeley, the Northern Colorado Medical Center by Banner, and also UC health and in my... It's been about a week and a half since I spoke to the CEO is there. But like much of what's happening across Colorado, they've seen a significant declines in the virus and they have very few individuals in their facilities. In fact, at last count, I think NCMC had less than 10, I think combined between both hospitals and their facilities.
Dan Maxey (41:08):
Yeah. My recollection from reports that Blaine has given recently is that we've been seeing a decline in cases here locally. And just in watching the news last night, I know that Colorado is among the states that continues to see declines between... I think CNN included us in a category of states that have had declines between 10 and 50% day on day for a period of time. So certainly, I think that situation has been improving. And for the last several weeks, as Blaine has given a report on our Thursday update calls, that's been the trend that I've heard in his reports also.
Dan Maxey (41:45):
And for those of you who don't know about those, every Thursday morning, we have a group that comes together to provide updates on recent decisions that have been made, issues that are affecting our current operations and preparations for the Fall. That includes a health update, and sort of a status report on conditions here in Colorado and locally. But also reports from the President and the Provost, and Vice President for Student Affairs about the work that they're doing to plan for the Fall. That's posted every Thursday afternoon on our Coronavirus website, which is www.unco.edu/coronavirus. I encourage you to keep an eye on that.
Dan Maxey (42:32):
In the spirit of that, we're getting some questions from folks who have been on some earlier calls, or are seeing that we don't still have all of the answers to a lot of the questions that are coming up periodically. And I know from working with this team that we are working very hard, not just these folks. But 10s of leaders across the institution are working on making sure that we can put answers out as quickly as possible to our current, and new students and their families about both what the Fall looks like, and when decisions will be made. I wonder, I know that Mark and Katrina, each of you have mentioned at various points during the conversation today what some of the specific decision timelines are for some of these decisions out the Fall. I wonder if you could just reiterate for each of your areas what the timelines look like, so when can families expect to know a little bit more about what housing looks like, when can families expect to know a little bit more about what classes and course offerings look like?
Mark Anderson (43:42):
On the class side, we've set a deadline for this Friday for things like lab classes, studios, et cetera, for being identified and roomed, so where they're going to be. And the reason for that is, if we have a chemistry lab, for example that would normally have 24 students in it but our facilities, folks have decided that the capacity in this socially distance environment is only 18. We have to identify where we're going to put all of the folks in that class. So a deadline for this Friday, and then another 10 days from this Friday. So I believe that takes us to about the 24th is when we would have decisions on the location, but also the teaching modality for essentially every other course.
Mark Anderson (44:40):
We then need to do some internal work with respect to our student information system. And that will take about five to seven days to complete, and so that takes us to the end of June. End of June we will have decisions made upon the instructional method, and rooms for every class that we will offer. Then we'll begin the process of reaching out to students to tell them the teaching modality of all of their courses. Then we will really ask people at that point to, if they have any concerns to reach out to their academic advisors, so that we can hear those concerns and address them.
Katrina Rodriguez (45:25):
On the student fare side, we are... Now that we know how to consider a room, a residence hall room as a family unit, we can begin looking at going ahead and making those decisions and letting students know where their rooms will be and their roommates. For actual timelines, Jenna, do you have... I don't want to misspeak about a particular deadline that you have for letting folks know about their residence hall room and those kinds of things.
Jenna Finley (46:05):
We are going to be communicating with people by June 30th. I think there are just a few additional things to be confirmed. So that should be happening in that week and a half that I mentioned earlier, and then the communication will happen by June 30th. And in that communication, you'll find out what the move in process will be, what your time and date will be because we do anticipate assigning those times and dates for people. And we'll be taking some early arrival information into consideration with that of who might need to arrive first. And the communication should also include what to expect to, what to bring, some of the typical things we would be letting students know at this point.
Katrina Rodriguez (46:56):
Dan Maxey (46:58):
Great, thank you for that. We're getting some questions about what will happen if a student gets sick on campus, particularly if it's a student who has a roommate. And I don't know if any of you are prepared here to answer that. But I know from being involved in some of the logistics conversations that we are working very closely with, the weld County Health Department to make sure that we have protocols. And we also do have isolation rooms where we can quarantine students who are sick. I mentioned earlier certainly too that we do have the capacity to conduct testing to confirm whether a sick student is positive for the Coronavirus. Katrina, maybe you and Jenna can say a little bit about what sort of isolation rooms and quarantining might look like because I know you've been involved in some of those discussions.
Katrina Rodriguez (47:49):
Absolutely. So we will... We have between 30 and 40 quarantine rooms. And as students are showing symptoms, we will have them work with the Student Health Center. Then if they'll go to a quarantine room, we will bring their meals to them so that they aren't having to be, to go to the dining hall. A student health center will check in with students as well as our student outreach and support office, checking in, how are you doing? What do you need? Symptoms in terms of the Student Health Center. So we have a really robust process for working with our students who may be symptomatic and, or test positive. Jenna, what would you add to that to those items?
Jenna Finley (48:37):
No, I think we're very fortunate to have a student health center that is confident that they can test students. And so that's very helpful. We are going to be recommending your typical things to bring to college to bring a thermometer, bring some Tylenol, some of those things that can be anticipatory. Because even if it's not being sick with COVID, students do get sick frequently, particularly their first year in school. So we recommend bringing those types of supplies, monitoring symptoms.
Jenna Finley (49:10):
If the rooms that are identified are standalone singles, will have their own bathrooms and will have, at minimum, a micro fridge, a microwave and refrigerator for students to prepare the meals that we drop off. So I think that we feel we have a good process in place, and something that we started this past Spring, and are very similar to what some other campuses are doing around the country in terms of the types of rooms that we're identifying. I think a frequent question is, what about the, is the air circulating through the buildings and some of those types of things?
Jenna Finley (49:52):
I think it's important to know in our campus that all of our residence rooms have their own AC, but it's a central area type of system. And so that is one of the important things to know, especially when you're looking at Community Housing. That aspect we do have appropriate ventilation.
Mark Anderson (50:14):
Dan, I'd like to add that if a student does have to quarantine, we've been talking to all of our faculty about being prepared to continue to instruct students who were in quarantine. So if a student is taking a face-to-face course, and for whatever reason they are quarantined for two weeks, they will still be able to continue with their course and in a virtual environment. And so, students who do get sick will be able to continue their instruction as they normally would.
Dan Maxey (50:50):
Great. Thank you, Mark. I'll put the next question to you here. There's some questions about, if we have large classrooms available and are able to and hours for teaching classes, why would we have to restrict some courses to be online only? Or what might cause us to make a course hybrid instead of being in person?
Mark Anderson (51:13):
That's a great question. I was talking to some colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder as well as Colorado State. Those two universities as well as the University of Northern Colorado have several rooms that can accommodate several hundred students for a large lecture. But as we're looking at six feet of separation, those rooms that have 200 seats in them, suddenly can only accommodate about 50 people. And so we are really doing our due diligence to utilize our facility to the maximum extent possible, but use it in a way that gives us confidence with respect to the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students.
Mark Anderson (52:08):
And so currently in the state of Colorado, we're restricted to group gatherings of no more than 10, I believe, something like that. We anticipate that, that will be relaxed over the course of the Fall, over the course of the Summer into the Fall. But we're trying to anticipate all possible situations, and so our capacity is restricted by public health considerations. And our room capacities aren't going to be the fire marshal capacity, but rather the capacity to maintain social distancing. As we go from a campus that has several rooms that can accommodate 75, 100, 150 students to rooms that can accommodate 30 or 40, that changes our capacity. And so, we have to rethink our instructional modalities.
Mark Anderson (53:06):
And so the best way or one way to do that is through a hybrid instruction where some of the course is being met face-to-face, some is being met in an online environment. And really rethinking how we are teaching and what is the purpose of different types of interactions. And that I think, ultimately is how do we best instruct our students so that they get a great experience, but also are able to learn the material, and doing it in a way that is safe for our community? I don't know if that answers the question, Dan?
Dan Maxey (53:49):
I think it does, but I wanted you to speak briefly. I mean, naturally, we know that some of our professors also fit into multiple risk categories. And so much like we need to protect the health and safety of our students, some of our personnel, including our faculty fit into some of the categories that would put them at risk of being exposed to Coronavirus, and then having [crosstalk 00:54:13].
Mark Anderson (54:13):
There's certainly no question about that. We are working with our faculty, really we're working with our entire community to do what's best for them. And so our any individual that has some concerns or some pre existing conditions that makes them particularly vulnerable, we want to work with them to assure that they can, on the faculty side staff side continue to do their job, but do it in a way that is mindful of their own personal health.
Mark Anderson (54:50):
One of the things that I think is been good about this quite honestly is, we are thinking about our instruction a little bit more diligently and resourcefully than we have in the past. And really understanding how we can use some of the resources to maximum benefit. And so, an online environment provides opportunity to do things that you can't do in a face-to-face environment. And that then gives up... Frees up some opportunity and space to really utilize the face-to-face environment a little bit differently, so that students can engage with the material. And so, one of the things that I think has been good out of this is we've been very, very reflective on our instructional practice to maximize what we're doing for the benefit of the education of our students.
Dan Maxey (55:41):
Great, thank you, Mark. Final question for president Feinstein. Naturally, some folks have read about some of the budget issues that we were working through as a university even before COVID-19, and then some of the financial impacts of Coronavirus and the state's economy on UNC. What can you tell us about the states, or sorry, the university's fiscal health as we move into the next fiscal year?
President Feinstein (56:10):
Sure. We've got some work to do next year. I mean, the good and the bad is that the Coronavirus Elite Funding came to the state of Colorado. Higher education received about 40 to $50 million of that funding. The challenge is that the state also cut our budget this year by 58% or $493 million. So the net impact to us in higher education Colorado was about a five percent reduction in our budget. About 25% of our budget does come from the state. So I mean, it's certainly a significant amount. The actual reduction in funding from the state then equated to about two and a half million dollars.
President Feinstein (56:48):
We are concerned moving into the Fall trying to understand what the impact financially will be on the pandemic, including increased costs with PPE, increased costs with technology. Our enrollment might be slightly down as we have families and students that are waiting to see whether or not it'll be in person or online. And we have a whole team of people that are focusing on what the budget is going to look like, and ways in which we can ensure that we address those challenges without impacting the experience of our students. Then the good news is we have $40 million of carry forward reserves, which is rainy day funds. And we may be dipping into that a little bit this year to address this. But certainly, our focus is on ensuring that students receive the experience at UNC that they've come to expect, and we're going to fulfill those commitments.
Dan Maxey (57:42):
Great, thank you, President Feinstein. As we close up here it's six o'clock mountain time, so we want to be respectful of everyone's time. I want to say that we have had a number of questions come through, some very specific questions that we haven't answered here. The admission staff does follow up with individuals to answer any questions that we weren't able to answer here on the call. If you have continued questions, I certainly encourage you to reach out to your admissions counselors and they can answer questions for you as well. We will have a number of these. I expect that as we move through the Summer, and as we move toward some of the decision timelines that Mark and Katrina highlighted earlier will share additional information on these as well.
Dan Maxey (58:27):
As a reminder, every Thursday, we do have an update call as well, where we share current information about decisions that have been made and the implications of those decisions for the Fall semester. So, I encourage everyone to tune in to those discussions as well. I'll kick it over to President Feinstein, and let him close this out here.
President Feinstein (58:46):
Well, again, thank you so much for being on the call. Thank you for committing to UNC. Looking forward to seeing you in the Fall personally, and that, Go Bears.
Dan Maxey (58:56):
Go Bears. Thank you everyone for joining us this evening.
President Feinstein (59:02):
Take care everybody.
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