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June 16, 2020 - Housing and Dining Virtual Open house with Tobias Guzmán, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, 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 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 continually 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. And then you'll have the opportunity to ask questions using the Q&A button. You can begin asking questions using this tool now. We'll attempt to have all questions answered, either in the Q&A function, live via our panelists, or through a follow-up email once the program concludes.
Bryson Kelly (00:00:41):
With that, I'd like to introduce your moderator for the next hour, Leah Schultz. Leah's our Regional Admission Counselor, working in Denver, and is also UNC alum. Take it away, Leah.
Leah Schultz (00:00:54):
Hi, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us today. And also with us, I am pleased to introduce to you, three UNC leaders and mentors in student affairs, campus, community, and climate. So we have Dr. Tobias Guzman, who serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at UNC. Dr. Guzman approaches his work with a focus on building relationships and fostering a culture of care. These central tenants drive a culture of care philosophy where students and their experience are a top priority. Dr. Guzman works diligently to provide students with the necessary resources they need to progress along their path to success. Lastly, on a personal note, Dr. Guzman is an alum of UNC, holds a black belt in Karate, with 30 years of experience, and has research interests in equity and social justice's impact on communities, and preventing student departure in colleges and universities.
Leah Schultz (00:01:55):
And then we have with us Dr. Katrina Rodriguez, who is UNC's Vice President of Student Affairs, where she oversees everything from the Dean of Students Office, to residences life, dining, campus, recreation, the Career Center, and student life.
Leah Schultz (00:02:10):
And then, lastly, we have UNC's Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Mark Anderson. Dr. Anderson joined UNC as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in the spring of 2019. Dr. Anderson most recently served as Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Kennesaw State. As provost, Dr. Anderson oversees everything from involvement management to advising.
Leah Schultz (00:02:37):
I'm grateful to have all three of them here with us today, and also all of you who have joined us. We have just about 100 future Bears joining us. I'm going to start by letting Tobias kick things off by further introducing himself and telling you more about living on campus at UNC, what's happening today, and where we're headed. And then, Katrina will join him in providing additional comments and updates. And then, we will take your questions.
Tobias Guzmán (00:03:06):
Well hello, everyone. It's such a please to be here with you. Welcome to my home. This is where we have been since March, and obviously working in a new environment. It is a little humbling, in terms of what we're used to, of being in the office, being able to meet with students on a regular basis. So this has obviously been a little bit of a norm for us. But we are really excited to get started and start to see students in person, as well as you, as family members, parents, and support people, especially as you move in, in August.
Tobias Guzmán (00:03:48):
Today's focus is on housing and dining. And I know that there's probably a lot of logistic questions that you might have. And we are in the process of really finalizing a lot of decisions. But since May, we have made plenty of decisions that I think you'll find very helpful in your planning process. As Leah mentioned, I am an alum of UNC. I'm very proud to be an alum of UNC. Had the opportunity to work in most of the residence halls when I was a student, in addition to be an RA, as well as an assistant hall director. So I think I come with a little bit of credibility of working on campus, living on campus, dining on campus. Although it's changed in about 30 years since I was last a student on campus. We have become more modern. Dining rooms have become... instead of two lines, there's now seven lines. Obviously, that's changed a little bit due to COVID. But it just gives you an illustration of how things have changed and how much growth we have had.
Tobias Guzmán (00:05:06):
So I'm going to turn it over to Dr. Rodriguez to introduce herself. And again, I welcome you to UNC.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:05:21):
Hello, everybody. Little technical difficulty there. My name is Dr. Katrina Rodriguez and I am the Vice President for Student Affairs. I have been at UNC since 1998. So what, I'm going on year 22, here. And I also got my start here at UNC in housing a number of... well, when I first got here, for about three years and got to work directly with the hall directors and resident assistance. And then, worked in Residence Life about five years before that. So I feel like, again, really connected to our housing and dining services, all the work that they do, and the way that they care for our students in their experience in living and dining on campus, but as well as really taking and interest in students' lives and their well-being and their dreams and goals. And so, I'm very proud of the department here.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:06:21):
I'm also an alum of UNC. I got my doctorate in 2004. So again, I love UNC and I love getting to work with an amazing staff and faculty. And I really love our students here because they're hardworking, their dedicated to their education, they want to have some fun, they work hard in the jobs that they have, and we just have tremendous students. So thank you so much for being here and also me to introduce Mr. Mark Anderson.
Mark Anderson (00:06:58):
Thank you very much, Katrina. I would just like to also reiterate my welcome to all of you future Bears. Really this time is for you. I want to give you a lot of opportunity to ask questions. I'm seeing a lot of questions in the Q&A already, about moving in, about what the fall's going to look like. Katrina, myself, and Tobias work very hard at getting the fall semester ready to go so that you can have a wonderful collegiate experience. One of the things I think you'll find at the University of Northern Colorado is how open and friendly we are here, and that you'll be able to find a really nice community. A community of folks who are like-minded, who really work together to see the success of all of us.
Mark Anderson (00:07:46):
I'm on the academic side, so I'm happy to answer any questions about what the fall looks like from an academic perspective. But really, the academic side of the house is only a portion of your collegiate experience. Housing, dining, student activities all come together to make your experience at UNC unique and special. So welcome. And I would be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Tobias Guzmán (00:08:18):
Thank you, Mark. As we start to look at some of the questions, Leah's going to be very helpful in trying to direct some of the direct... be helpful in directing some of those questions to us. But before we begin with answering some of those, and perhaps even stimulate some of the questions that you might have... we exist, not only to just house you on campus and feed you. Obviously, those are some very basic needs that everyone requires. But we also provide an educational experience outside of the classroom that you are also receiving an educational experience.
Tobias Guzmán (00:09:02):
And I would say that the experience that I received was probably really trying to figure out who I was, understand so identity development, and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. This was all not only through professors nudging me, but it was also the professional staff who worked in the housing and dining area that would simply just ask me questions.
Tobias Guzmán (00:09:34):
And so, as one of the items that I think is important to highlight is, the friendliness of our campus, signifies the care that we have for students. And so, in each of our decisions that we make, we really have students first in mind. It may not always feel that way, and may not always agree with the decisions. I think with everything those kinds of situations occur. But we really do put a thoughtful and purposeful element into our decision making, because we do care about our students.
Tobias Guzmán (00:10:16):
So Leah, if you have some questions generated, we can go ahead and start.
Leah Schultz (00:10:28):
Sorry. Takes a minute to get to that unmute button. Yeah, we've got a few questions coming in. A few about housing and dining. One that is, "How will dorms work?" I know a lot of students, in previous sessions we talked a little bit about maybe doing a four-person suite into a two-person. So is that still an option? Or what are we moving into next?
Tobias Guzmán (00:10:53):
Absolutely. So, what we have been waiting for is really some guidance for the CDC and our own local and state guidance on how best to house students. And the information that we have as of today is that students do not need to be living in singles. That is not a requirement. So we do have the opportunity where you can have a roommate. And we also are setting aside some rooms so that if you are interested in living in a single, there is that opportunity, as well. But we were excited to know that it wasn't going to be a mandate that it would be all singles. And partly, the reason is, there's some cocooning or some loneliness that can occur when you're living by yourself. And for first year students, whether it's 17, 18, 19 years old, having someone that you're living with really develops a lot of personal attributes for you. Gives you that opportunity to interact with someone, have someone to go with to the dining room or perhaps to a program. So we were thankful that opportunity is available.
Tobias Guzmán (00:12:30):
We also had some extensive conversations with the experts, in terms of safety. So our own faculty... We had about five faculty to have a focus on disease and air quality, microbiology, just various expertise. And first of all, you should feel very safe living in the residence halls when it comes to the pandemic that we're dealing with. We do not have any of our residence halls that use recycled air. In fact, each of our rooms do have outside air, whether that's outside air that's pulled in, or via windows that can open. So there shouldn't be a concern. And I know that that's a common question that is asked.
Tobias Guzmán (00:13:23):
And whether you're a two person, living in a room should give you ample space. We are going to require that students practice social distancing, make it as convenient as possible to bring a mask, or two, or three, or seven so those are available for you. And then, of course, proper hygiene. Washing your hands. All those things that you've been hearing over the past spring, all through the summer. We are going to be sure that we follow that, because your safety is of concern to ours, as well.
Leah Schultz (00:14:11):
And then, as a follow-up question to that, there are some concerns about will you be able to eat in the dining hall with somebody that is not your roommate?
Tobias Guzmán (00:14:23):
Yes, so again, these things evolve. And it's been pretty amazing. I have never been through a pandemic and actually managing a housing and dining operation in this way. So I appreciate the question. And in fact, we were just discussing today that it would be very difficult just to allow a person to eat by themselves, but they can live together with another person in their residence hall. And so, what I want you to get out of this is that we do trust our students. And we treat them as grown adults. We also know that there's a lot of education and a lot of development that needs to happen, in terms of awareness of how significant the issue is.
Tobias Guzmán (00:15:20):
But we trust you to live in a residence hall room. And we also trust you to come and eat with each other. Now, remember that all the social distancing will need to occur. If you've been to a restaurant lately, you have seen, probably, the table next to you is vacant. And the table behind you is vacant. But a couple tables over is another person or family. That's what it's going to look like in the residence halls. We're not going to be able to have 500 people in the dining rooms like we normally would. But we're probably going to limit that to about 75 or 100, depending on what the final numbers and square footage all equal out.
Tobias Guzmán (00:16:13):
And so we'll probably have a little bit of a longer dining period. Lunches and dinners might be a little longer so that we can get folks in. We're going to have outdoor seating, as well. So we're going to try to really model what you're seeing in restaurants and food establishments right now. We are also going to have pick-up service for hot and cold meals, because we're not allowed to have everyone in the dining room. So all those kinds of configurations and the details are still being worked out. But I feel pretty confident that you're still going to have... experience a little bit of what other students have experienced in the past.
Tobias Guzmán (00:16:58):
I'm not sure if there's anything else, Katrina, that you wanted to mention, regarding that?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:17:06):
Not that particular question, but happy to field some other. So, thank you.
Leah Schultz (00:17:10):
All right. So we have a lot of questions about move-in. And do we know what that process will look like? If somebody is moving in from out of state, will we have any quarantine regulations for them? Do we know if our move-in date will be moved up? All things move-in.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:17:35):
I can start out with this.
Tobias Guzmán (00:17:36):
Katrina Rodriguez (00:17:37):
We are working very hard to get all of that arranged. And again, just today we got a report that we are getting a little closer to those actual dates. We are going to have a staggered move in. So we're probably looking at a week and maybe a little more before school starts. So I don't want to make a promise about dates, but that's coming out very soon. So we'll have a schedule so that we can slate students in to different times. We'll certainly be accommodating for folks who are coming from a distance out of state or from far corners of our state so that we can stagger the move in. We'll have various elevators and stairwells that'll be up and down directional so that we can really think about the safety of our students as we're moving in. And in that elevator, in the enclosed space, probably limiting that to a family moving students in. So we'll be looking at those pieces.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:18:41):
We have always housed students in the month of August. And I know there's a question about the students coming to band camp. We have, in the past, housed 1,000 students from earlier in August all the way through school opening. So we're used to doing this. So those options will be available for students who need to move in early, for various reasons. And then, rather than having one day, usually on the Thursday before school starts, to have everybody there, we'll just stagger that a little bit more. I think you might have asked another question, Leah, as a part of that?
Leah Schultz (00:19:22):
Yeah. And what's that for out-of-state students coming in, will there be a quarantine requirement?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:19:29):
At this point we have not set a quarantine requirement, right, Tobias?
Tobias Guzmán (00:19:33):
Katrina Rodriguez (00:19:33):
I'm thinking, I don't recall talking about that. So we will not have that as a requirement. If students would like to do that, they certainly can in their room. We will also continue to have roommates. Tobias mentioned early on that the Well County Health Department, as well as the state, has indicated that it will be a family unit in a room. So there was questions about roommates and suite mates. Yes, you can definitely have that experience. Or you can also have a single, if you'd prefer that.
Tobias Guzmán (00:20:08):
Move in time is really exciting. There's a lot of energy on campus. There's a lot of excitement on campus. Sorry to say, but it's probably going to be in the mid to high 90's. Of course, it always is when you're moving in and bringing in lots of stuff. But that's just part of the experience. We also are very good at being able to figure out what kinds of things will allow your students, or you as a student, to be acclimated to campus. So we'll make sure that there is some tours of campus, in smaller groups, as well as bring your class schedule and we'll show you where your classes are in the first couple of days so that you're not trying to find them Monday morning and in a panic of trying to find your classes.
Tobias Guzmán (00:21:08):
So this is really a time for you to become acclimated to the campus and really enjoy your surroundings. We typically have a lot of our upper division students help, as well as faculty and staff, help our students and families move in. But because of needing to make things a little bit smaller in terms of groups, we're not going to have as much of that. We will have carts for you to use to move things in, to make it easier. Some of those things will still occur. It'll just look a little bit different because it's going to be more spread out over a week or so.
Leah Schultz (00:21:59):
And following up on that, how are parents and support people going to be able to help their students move in?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:22:10):
Right now, we do want parents and support people to be able to help. We are working out how many might go up in the actual room at a time with the student. So we're just working out those details. But we certainly do want families and support people to help, because it is part of the excitement of moving in and getting students all situated and is there anything that they need, to run to Target or Walmart to pick up a few things. And we know that's a very exciting time. So we absolutely would like family and support folks to be there. And we'll be sharing the details of exactly how that's going to work. I also know there's a question or a comment about tuning in and wanting more specific information. And I know that's frustrating to not have it all right now. In a non-COVID year we'd have this information a little bit earlier. We are just trying to be so thoughtful in making sure we're accounting for all of the aspects. There's a number of details that go into each of the decisions.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:23:22):
And so we're trying to make a thorough decision so that when we do get the information, it is based on the guidance and everything that we need to do to make sure everybody's safe and has what they need. So those details are coming. I do know that we will begin assignments very soon, probably this week. So students are starting to get that information. And that will go out to families so that you know more about your actually assignment and roommate. So, that'll be happening over the next several weeks. So that information will be flowing a little more easily, as far as that goes.
Katrina Rodriguez (00:24:06):
Anything else you'd add to that, Tobias? Does that sound...
Tobias Guzmán (00:24:08):
You know, that's great what you said. And I wanted to underscore the delay or ability to get you some information quickly. The part I wanted to underscore is, even as of yesterday, the Governor's office sent to institutions of higher education, new guidelines. And so, as Dr. Rodriguez mentions, we've been in this business for a while. And our goal is always good customer service. And that means to give you as much information as possible. And so for all us, it's a little bit of a challenge, just because things this year are very, very different. And as I said, yesterday, at the end of the day, getting new information from the Governor's office was helpful. But again, it changed from yesterday to today. But we're working with it.
Leah Schultz (00:25:13):
All right. Thank you both. Let's switch gears here a little bit into the academic's side for Mark. We have multiple questions about, "Are we still going to be online in the fall? How will classes be looking? Will they be 100% in-person, specifically for first year students?"
Mark Anderson (00:25:39):
So those are all great questions. And I'm just going to reiterate was Tobias just said. The Governor changed the guidance. And so earlier in the summer we went through and looked at all of our classroom spaces and redid the capacity for those spaces, based on a six feet of separation. And so a classroom which might have had a capacity for 40 students, accounting for six feet of separation, that went down to about 20 students. And so, based upon that, we are looking at our class schedule and we are signing modality of instruction, as well as location for the instruction as we go along. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our community; the health and safety of our students, but also the health and safety of our staff and faculty. And so we're not going to be 100% online, but we're also not going to be 100% face-to-face. And so it's likely that your schedule will have some mixture of face-to-face classes, hybrid classes... hybrid classes are those that meet partially face-to-face and some of the content is delivered in virtual or online environment. And then, some of your classes may be completely online. What those classes are, right at the moment, we're still trying to determine. And that's based largely upon our capacity.
Mark Anderson (00:27:06):
One thing that happened yesterday/today with the Governor's guidance, is that we had some rooms which could seat up to 60 people in a post-COVID environment. And the guidance now is a maximum of 50 people. So we lost some capacity there. So we're having to redo some things. So everybody will have some mix of face-to-face, hybrid, and likely some virtual courses. Once the teaching modality has been determined... and we are committed to making that final determination by the end of this month... we will begin communicating to students how their class schedule has changed. And by changed, I'm really talking about the different modality of instruction. Whether a class that you expect to be face-to-face will now be hybrid, or et cetera. And so we're going to get that information to you as quickly as possible. That will give you plenty of time to contact your academic advisors if you'd like to change your schedules.
Mark Anderson (00:28:06):
Another question in the Q&A about the family units and how we can have family units in the housing, but students are interacting with a lot of other students in their academic courses. And I'm going to ask Katrina to correct me if I say something wrong here. But in the classes we've not made a final determination, but it's pretty likely that we're going to ask people to wear masks in a classroom environment. So the difference between a classroom environment and the family unit in the housing is that in the housing you won't have to be wearing the personal protective gear. But out in the community, out in the classes, although we've not come to a final determination, I would say it's 95% likely that we will ask the community, including faculty and staff, to be wearing masks. Really taking personal responsibility for the care of each other.
Mark Anderson (00:29:07):
One of the things I think that UNC... both Dr. Guzman and Dr. Rodriguez have touched on, is the sense of community that we have and the importance we place on taking care of each other. And that's going to be particularly important in this COVID environment. So we are working as quickly as possible, in an environment where everything seems to be changing on a day-to-day basis, to finalize how individual courses will be instructed. And as soon as we've made that final determination, we'll be communicating that out to the students. Rest assured, we're going to have a very robust on campus experience. But most likely, everybody will have some hybrid and/or online courses, as well.
Tobias Guzmán (00:29:53):
Want to underscore another piece that Dr. Anderson is mentioning. And that is this planning that has been occurring over the several months. And just as I believe that it's important for you to evaluate us, one thing that's important to know is that we have had three different scenarios planing processes in place, and that we are able to pivot it to any one of those as quickly as possible. And so I wanted to assure you that UNC is very prepared, thoughtful, meticulous in its planning and looking at trying to predict what could possibly happen. And I know if I was looking for a college, I'd be asking those kinds of questions, because my daughter is pretty important to me and when she goes to college, I'm going to want to make sure that, that university, that college, is going to be looking at all of the aspects, especially in this type of pandemic. So I just want to assure you that we are in that stage of being very thoughtful and mindful of our planning.
Leah Schultz (00:31:16):
Kind of a follow-up question to that. Are we planning on a full, regular semester for the fall 2020?
Mark Anderson (00:31:26):
We're planning on a full semester. That is correct. Our first day of classes is scheduled for August 24th and we have not changed that. We are not planning on doing anything around Thanksgiving. We anticipate that students will return to their homes for Thanksgiving or stay on campus with us, as is normally the case. And then students will return following Thanksgiving for the remainder of the semester. We also, as Dr. Guzman indicated, are scenario planning every possibility. One of those possibilities is that there is a recurrence of the COVID-19 and that we either need to pivot in our instruction or reconsider how we handle the Thanksgiving timeframe. But for now, we have no plans to change our academic calendar.
Tobias Guzmán (00:32:28):
We're also pretty thankful for... the citizens of Colorado, I think, have really taken this to heart. And when I look at the data of the state of Colorado and where we're at with COVID-19, I think we're pretty proud of where we're at, in terms of the phasing, or the different phases of opening. I would characterize it as being a very disciplined approach. And this is not a knock on any other state. It's just to reassure you, again, that the state of Colorado, I think, has done a really nice job and we want to continue to be an exemplar of states that can manage this, and still recognizing that we're in a significant situation of a pandemic. So, for whatever that's worth.
Mark Anderson (00:33:34):
So Leah, this is Mark. I saw a question that I touched on, but I want to fully address. And that's wearing masks in classrooms. And the question, specifically, was about the faculty. Will they be required to wear a mask. And the answer to that is, we're working on alternate solutions, including plexiglass shields, because we are very concerned about access for all of our students. And communication is not simply about the words. It's also about the facial expression and the nuance. And so if you wear a mask, you lose that aspect of the communication. And so we're looking at different ways, including plexiglass shields for our instructional faculty so that students, particularly who have hearing issues, will not be disadvantaged in their classrooms.
Tobias Guzmán (00:34:38):
Mark also mentioned, in the residence halls. And in your room is probably a little bit of a different story. But once you exit your residence hall room, just as you would probably exit your home or your place of living to go to a store, you'd want to carry your mask, wear your mask. And so those types of things are definitely going to just be part of the culture.
Leah Schultz (00:35:12):
Then, following up on that masks. We also have another question about if masks will be required for athletic practice?
Mark Anderson (00:35:25):
That's a great question. We have started some student athlete workouts just this week, being done in small groups. I want to say groups of 25 or fewer if the workout is outside. 10 or fewer if the workouts are inside. We're trying to maintain six feet of separation. And I believe that the workouts that are inside, there are masks required.
Tobias Guzmán (00:35:53):
Leah Schultz (00:35:58):
All right. So I guess this is still on topic of more in-person. So, will professors, advisors, tutors, and study groups still be available for in-person assistance?
Mark Anderson (00:36:13):
So on the professors and the advisors, the short answer to that is yes, they will be available. Our faculty offices are probably too small to have in-person office hours. So we are looking at some of our spaces, with classroom spaces which are really too small now to house classes, but using those for some of these student support activities. So we will have opportunity for interaction with faculty and staff in these types of environments. We're also, however, encouraging our faculty and staff to have virtual opportunities to meet up with students for those students who can't come to campus, for whatever reason, so that they can have access to the resources, as well.
Leah Schultz (00:37:08):
Thank you. I'm just going to... yeah, I'm going to stay on academics and then I'm going to ask a question to housing. So this is going to be a multi-part question. So is each major developing their own plan for in-person, or hybrid, or virtual curriculum? And I think that's also on the... are they deciding which specific classes? And then, how are we also dealing with "superspreader" activities and classes like theater, the Langworthy Theatre. Are we going to be allowing students to perform in that?
Mark Anderson (00:37:46):
Those are all great questions. And so, to answer the first question, we are asking our faculty in the individual units to really help us understand what is the best way to meet the instructional needs of every class. And so each unit, each college is developing their own plan. But we're working collaboratively, because it's a single university. Students are talking classes across multiple departments, across multiple colleges. And frankly, colleges use classrooms all over campus. So we need to work together to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit. And so the details of the instruction are really at the direction of those experts who are teaching those classes. Classroom assignments are a collaboration between all of us.
Mark Anderson (00:38:49):
Superspreader events; things like theater performances, athletics, band, et cetera, we're very aware of those. And so, our primary goal is the health and safety of our community. And so, theater, for example, performances in particular, the theater department is really looking hard at the types of plays that they intend on doing to make sure that they are actual small cast and small support so that we can continue to have theater performances, but we do it in a way that's responsible to the community. Likewise, if we have an audience, which I hope that we do, we'll do so in a way that's responsible to the audience. To maintain six feet of separation. Having different personal protective gear and things like that in place.
Mark Anderson (00:39:46):
And the other piece that's very important, particularly for science lab classes, art studios, music performance, et cetera, is cleaning. We have to make sure that our areas are clean. And there's really twofold. We're going to do deep cleaning from our professional staff. But we can't do that continuously. So we're relying on our community to take responsibility for each other. And so, we're going to ask our faculty and our students to clean your work station when you're done. And we'll have plenty of cleaning supplies available. And really, what it amounts to for the most part is spraying disinfectant and wiping it down. And so we want to make sure that we're doing that responsibly by ourselves in between classes, so that the deep cleaning at the end of the day is effective because we've been taking care of our spaces throughout the day.
Tobias Guzmán (00:40:45):
Dr. Anderson makes a good point about cleaning. And very specifically for residence halls. Each room and community area will have gone through a deep cleaning process. And then, when students move in, we do have a combination of private bathrooms and community bathrooms. The community bathrooms, the nice thing, the opportunity is, is that it's always clean. We are going to actually step up the cleaning. We use a standard that is very typical for other types of industries. But when you're in a pandemic, we want to make sure that there is this sense of safety, as well as mitigating any kind of spread. And so we will clean our community restrooms on a different schedule... a heavier schedule, I should say.
Tobias Guzmán (00:41:55):
The restrooms, bathrooms, showers inside student's residence hall rooms, we're really counting on our students to do that. The responsibility, Dr. Anderson mentions, self-responsibility. And that is important. We do believe that our students are very capable to do that. And I think I saw in the chat about any cleaning service in the residence halls. Aside from our custodial staff that clean the common areas, as well as the common restrooms and shower rooms and things like that, we don't have someone that actually goes into the student's rooms. So if you're picking up supplies, you're going to want to pick up supplies that are easy to use, quick access. And if we need to do a couple lessons on how to do that, we're happy to show our students, as well.
Leah Schultz (00:42:57):
Thank you. And with all this cleaning, if a student were to contract COVID-19, A, would their entire room be quarantined? And B, what is the protocol that we will be following?
Tobias Guzmán (00:43:14):
Yeah, most likely, the room would be quarantined. We don't want to spread, and we also, again, want to make sure that your safety is first and foremost. We'll also want to make sure that as you're going to classes, and so there could be an impact for a potential spread there, as well. So when you're living in the residence halls, we are going to have spaces that are quarantine spaces. Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be in a space to themselves until they are healthy again. We will make sure that food is delivered to the room. So there isn't the need for the student to vacate the room to go out and pick-up meals and things like that.
Tobias Guzmán (00:44:15):
Our health center is very good on campus and we do actually testing her at UNC and have the ability to do that. But we also know that the health center and the hall staff will probably be checking up on your student. Not for any kind of medical attention, but from an ethic of care, just to make sure that you are doing okay. If you happen to progress in a downward trajectory, we would want to make sure that you're able to go to the hospital and things of that nature. So it's always important just to be mindful of how our students are doing.
Leah Schultz (00:45:03):
Yeah. Thank you. And with that, how will we be enforcing social distancing within the residence halls? And are students from other halls allowed to visit other halls?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:45:16):
At this point in time, we are... again, if the guidance changes, we'll make some adjustments. We are looking at perhaps limiting visitors from coming into a residence hall in which they do not live. So outside folks coming in. Again, we want to limit some of that contact, right, in a person's living environment. I imagine students will be able to visit other students within the hall that they live in. In their own room they wouldn't need to use a mask. We would want students to wear a mask if they're going to be in hallways or in another student's room, or in a public space. Again, limiting that transmission. So that is where we are today and what we are looking at. And so, as we get other guidance that says otherwise, then we may shift that. But that's what we're looking at, as of today.
Leah Schultz (00:46:17):
And then there was another question also about how can we keep six feet distance in the dining hall? Do we plan to rearrange tables and chairs? Limit the number of people in the dining hall at a time?
Tobias Guzmán (00:46:28):
Katrina Rodriguez (00:46:29):
Tobias Guzmán (00:46:30):
Yes. We are going to limit the number of people in the dining room. During a normal year, we would probably have between 800 to 1200 students visit dinner at a time in Holmes Dining Room. And this year, it's going to be significantly reduced, with the majority of people being able to pick-up to-go meals and take that to their rooms or eat outside. We will have the ability to have some dine-in on a daily basis of about 75 to 100 people. That number can fluctuate a little bit. But we still want to make sure that you have that dining experience. It's kind of nice to get away from your room or get away from others and be together with some other folks. Tables are going to be moved and chairs moved. So the dining rooms are going to be rearranged. And we're also going to go away from all you care to eat, which I absolutely love all you care to eat. But in this environment, we want to make sure that we're honoring the safety. And so a lot of that will be managed by our dining staff and buffets are no longer, so.
Tobias Guzmán (00:48:04):
But I will tell you that our food will still have the same quality. We do have chefs on campus. In fact, we have four chefs throughout our campus who really manage the recipes. And one thing that I would say about UNC is our food service, we cook with love. And when you know that your family has cooked something and they put their love into it, the recipes are always very tasty. So this isn't food out of a can, but it has a long tradition here at UNC of a very good dining operation.
Leah Schultz (00:48:53):
Yes, I would definitely agree with that. People say you never eat where you used to work. And I used to work at the dining hall and I still ate there. I still enjoyed it every single day.
Tobias Guzmán (00:49:03):
Leah Schultz (00:49:03):
So, a little bit more about the food. How might dining look a little bit different to students living in Lawrenson with the kitchenettes? And then, even residence halls with the community kitchens?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:49:18):
Students can use community kitchens. What we will likely do is figure out some kind of a reservation system or a sign-up system. We want to ensure that students are, again, social distancing. Some of our kitchens are a little larger, so we'll probably be able to fit a few more. Some are a little more condensed. So we certainly want to accommodate students who are cooking in their residence halls. And our Culture and Resource Centers, most of them have kitchens, as well. We know students like to cook there at times for lunch or dinner. And so, we'll be utilizing the same practices. In Lawrenson, again, because their apartment style, they can utilize the kitchens in Lawrenson, as well.
Leah Schultz (00:50:08):
And then a follow-up for that. So as an incoming, first year student who is living in Lawrenson, do they have the ability to get a smaller dining plan? Or as a first year, are they still required that 14 meals a week meal plan?
Tobias Guzmán (00:50:25):
Yes, the 14 meal plan is the required plan for all of our new students. And I think you'll find that it's a little bit more of a manageable meal plan. There used to be 19 meals. And we really wanted to be accommodating to students, to make sure that you had the ability to be well-fed, have the nutritional opportunity of having the ability to have meals, and also not waste those meals. So I'll be important for you as a student to really maximize your meal plan. And then, we will have different operations open. So for instance, at the UC, we will have a Bear's Bistro, which are some made to order and made to-go food items. So it gives you a little bit of a different flavor and a different environment, as well as Tobey-Kendel and Holmes Dining Room. So again, just different venues. And sometimes it's good to just kind of switch it up a little bit.
Leah Schultz (00:51:43):
Yeah. And so, also kind of with meal plans, there was a question about if they would consider reducing the cost of them, because food waste will decrease. So will UNC consider reducing the cost of the meal plan?
Tobias Guzmán (00:52:01):
Our room and board rates, at this point, have been established. The one thing about what is occurring is that we do have rising food cost, which is unfortunate, but it's also part of the, I think, natural aspect of going through a crisis or a pandemic. But our food costs have actually gone up about 5%. Now, you will not see a 5% increase in room and board rates. And in fact, you'll see about a 1.1% blended rate across room and board, but mostly it is in the dining, just to make sure that we're covering for the food cost increase. And if you recall, when we had gas price increases... gasoline prices increased drastically, it starts to affect the whole supply chain of the trucks that are bringing in the food. And so, it's just a very interesting economic structure. But short answer is, is that food prices have relatively... excuse me, room and board prices have not had a significant increase at this point. And that has all been approved by the Board of Trustees, as of last.
Leah Schultz (00:53:37):
And one last quick dinning question and then we'll move on to a couple of the logistic mask questions is, how do they decide what a hundred... so the specific question is, "How will they decide what 100 people will be eating at the hall and not paying all this money and only getting to go cold meals?" So I think it's more the clarification of how are we letting students in and does everybody have the same options for food?
Tobias Guzmán (00:54:08):
Yeah, everybody will have the same options for food. It's just a matter of being able to have an option to dine-in. We're really used to, again, as I had mentioned earlier, the all you care to eat, being able to go up and dessert after dessert or drinks after drinks. And as you can tell in restaurants, if you've visited them recently, that's such a big difference. So the student who chooses to go in and get to-go meal, does have an option to have a cold meal, and I don't mean frozen. But I mean a hearty sandwich, an opportunity to get a soup, but warm that back up at their residence hall room, to have Kraft macaroni and cheese that is able to-go and things of that nature. But also making sure, because we do have two dieticians on our staff, they would not be okay if those are the only types of things that we would offer.
Tobias Guzmán (00:55:25):
Our dieticians are very disciplined in wanting to make sure that students do have a variety of options. So there will be vegetables, there will be protein, there will be the carbohydrate, there will be the fruit. It's just not going to be in the display that I think normally students would see on campus. So again, that difference is being able to dine-in and eat your food with a smaller crowd, or being able to take your food, eat outside, eat in your room, eat in other places. I'm not sure if that addressed the question, but that's how I interpreted the question.
Leah Schultz (00:56:11):
Yeah. No, thank you. I think that was a good answer. Kind of switching a little bit into how will the libraries function? Will they be open and will students be able to study in them? Obviously, the offer the computer labs. Is that another one of those, please clean up your workspace with the provided materials?
Mark Anderson (00:56:32):
So, the libraries will function normally, within the framework of social distancing. So it will be open for students to retrieve materials. It will be open for students to study. The computer labs will be open. But the capacity will be a little bit different because of six feet of separation. So we won't have as many computers available, but we will have computers. We won't have as many opportunities for students to study there, because of capacity issues. But it will be operating normally in the fall.
Leah Schultz (00:57:13):
Thank you. And I think this is a good question to wrap up on. And that is, will the university be providing masks to all students on campus?
Katrina Rodriguez (00:57:25):
We are going to ask that students bring their own masks, since we've all been in this COVID environment now for some time. We are all used to wearing masks. And so, we will be asking students to bring their own mask. And in fact, as Dr. Guzman said, we may be... sort of that notion of a wardrobe of masks, if you will, so they can be cleaned in between wearings and that kind of thing. There's lots of great things out there on Pinterest and Instagram about making your own mask out of T-shirts and that kind of thing, or lots of other fabrics. And so we certainly would encourage, and need to encourage students to bring their own.
Leah Schultz (00:58:17):
All right. Well, thank you to everybody for joining us today. I believe, Dr. Guzman, do you have a closing statement?
Tobias Guzmán (00:58:24):
Absolutely. Thank you so much for allowing us to spend some time with you. I hope that you got a good impression of the opportunities here at UNC, although it maybe just focused on the housing and dining, definitely Dr. Anderson was able to answer some questions regarding the academic enterprise of our institution. But one thing to let you know is that UNC is a very unique place. And I can give you that perspective just from working at other campuses. We have a very friendly campus, a very heartfelt campus, we have the leadership of this university that really cares about students. I think that's important. We have other students who are very active in wanting to be involved. And the issues that are going on in our world today, our students care about. And I think it's important to know about that, because this is the kind of environment that you, as a family, or you as a student will be coming to. It is a very caring environment, with also a very good academic reputation.
Tobias Guzmán (00:59:49):
So I just thank you for allowing us to spend some time with us. And if there's any questions that you have, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. Our names are on our pictures. And it's typically tobias.guzman and then the @unco.edu. The same for Dr. Rodriguez. It's a little bit different for Dr. Anderson, because there's two Mark Andersons here at UNC. So his is MarkRAnderson. So the R is the addition in there. MarkR.Anderson. And again, that ending is @unco.edu. And feel free to reach out and we'll be happy to answer your questions.
Leah Schultz (01:00:44):
Yeah. Thank you, everybody, for joining. We will have another session, I believe next week, with campus leaders President Feinstein and Mark Anderson will also be there, as well. So we hope you'll join us again next week for some more campus updates. But other than that, again, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about admissions, you can either reach out to me, leah.schultz or you can email admissions at unco.edu. And I hope you all have a great rest of your evening. Thank you.
Katrina Rodriguez (01:01:14):
Mark Anderson (01:01:14):
Thank you. Good night.
Tobias Guzmán (01:01:17):
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