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May 11, 2020 - Housing and Dining Virtual Open house with Jenna Finley, Ed.D. Executive Director of Campus Community & Climate and Tobias Guzmán, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
Whitney Bonner (00:00:01):
Hello everyone. My name is Whitney Bonner and I'm the interim director of recruitment here at UNC's office of admissions. I'm so excited to have you all joining us today as we are able to connect you with two of our amazing campus administrators. We're going to share with you why living on campus at UNC is such a great experience and also kind of what we have planned for the fall 2020 semester. As you know, things are kind of continuing to change quickly as a result of COVID-19 and we are going to do everything that we can to answer the questions that you have today for us.
Whitney Bonner (00:00:34):
Just so you know, during the program, all mics are going to be muted and you're going to have the opportunity to ask questions using the Q&A function, which if you're in full screen mode you'll see at the bottom of your Zoom screen. We are going to attempt to answer all questions that we receive today either via the Q&A function via our live panelists, or also with a follow up email after the fact.
Whitney Bonner (00:00:58):
So with that, we are going to go ahead and get started. I'd like to introduce you to your moderator for the next hour, Leah Schultz. Leah is an admissions counselor in the Denver Metro region and is also a UNC alum. So please join me in giving a virtual welcome to Leah.
Leah Schultz (00:01:18):
Thank you, Whitney. Yes, as Whitney said, I am a graduate from UNC. I graduated in 2017, and you are all talking about housing today and I worked in housing first three years of my time at UNC. So, definitely love this department. And today I am pleased to introduce you to two of our UNC leaders and mentors in student affairs and campus community and climate.
Leah Schultz (00:01:43):
So, Dr. Tobias Guzmán serves as the associate vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer at UNC. Dr. Guzmán approaches his work with a focus on building relationships and fostering a culture of care. These central tenets drive a culture of care philosophy, where students and their experiences are a top priority. Dr. Guzmán works diligently to provide students with the necessary resources they need to progress along their path to success. And lastly on a personal note, Tobias is also an alum of UNC, holds a black belt in karate with 30 years' of experience, and has a research interest at quality and social justice impacts on communities and preventing student [inaudible 00:02:30] in college and universities.
Leah Schultz (00:02:33):
And our other guest with us here today is Dr. Jenna Finley, and she serves as the executive director of student affairs, responsible for housing and residential education and dining services at UNC. She arrived at UNC in 2002 after working at CU Boulder, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Ball State University. She holds an undergraduate degree in social work, a master's degree in student affairs leadership, and a doctorate in education focused on higher education leadership. Dr Finley's work has focused on developing inclusive communities focused on student success and support and exceptional service. Dr. Finley lives in Greeley and has three kids aged 25, 20, and 13, and is an avid runner having completed several ultra marathons in the past few years.
Leah Schultz (00:03:25):
So I'm grateful to have these two here with us today, and also all of you who are joining us today. We have over 100 future bears and their families joining us. So I'm going to let Tobias kick things off by further introducing himself and telling you more about living here at UNC, what's happening today, and where we're headed. And Jenna will join him in providing additional comments and updates. And then after that we will take your questions. So if you'd like to hold off typing into the Q&A until we've finished our presentation, that would be great. Thank you.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:04:01):
Well, hello admitted bears. My name is Tobias Guzmán and it's a pleasure to virtually meet you. I often say welcome to my city of Greeley as well as my alma mater. As indicated by Leah, I am an alum of UNC. I also met my wife here and that was probably over 30 years ago. So I'm happy to introduce you to UNC.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:04:28):
We have a very beautiful campus. It's green, it's welcoming. We have a faculty and staff that are committed to their future. And we have a unique blend of what we offer here in the city as well as this family style relationship that really makes us different than a lot of other campuses. Being a campus that is about 12,000 in size, we were really built from an aspect of being a teacher college, and have grown into producing incredible nursing students, incredible performing and visual arts students. You will see our students on Broadway. And so you'll just find that this campus is something that you will really enjoy.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:05:26):
First of all, I want to acknowledge the fact that we have a pandemic occurring, and obviously this has completely changed our world and throwing everything upside down. But we also like to look at that as an opportunity, and an opportunity to figure out what we do here at UNC and what we value. And first of all, I would say that we value having students, students that come from all backgrounds, all of our states, all of the different experiences of high schools and at-home schools that are being taught across the nation. And we're trying to manage, just like everybody else is trying to manage, within this pandemic.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:06:16):
But what I want to assure you is that UNC is still strong. UNC is still moving forward. Just a couple of weeks ago after talking with our president, he indicated, "You know what? It is time for us to get back into session in fall." And so I want to assure you that that is what our goal and what our plan is.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:06:37):
And so, probably starting a few months ago, we established various working plans that we are wanting to operationalize come fall in August, to make sure that your students are safe. We want to make sure that your students are getting the best education they possibly can, and in an environment that they are able to learn.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:07:00):
Living in residence halls and dining on campus is something that we have a lot of guidance, either from the CDC, or we look at the business industry as well to try to learn best practices, as well as learn lessons of where not to fail. We're looking at hotel industries. We're looking at other types of businesses, communities that may house patients or nursing homes. Those all give us indicators of how best to manage residence halls and on-campus dining. Looking at our restaurant industry. So those kinds of things inform us on how best to manage our practice.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:07:50):
We're excited. Students living on campus produces a lot of excitement, a lot of energy. For us that work on campus, we miss that energy right now. As you know, spring semester, when everything hit around spring break time, we had students going back to their homes, or some also opted to stay on campus and live with us. Right now we're housing about 500 students, and they're also still having a meal plan on campus. I want to give a special shout out to our housing and dining program because of the type of work they did to manage during this crisis. I hope that instilled some confidence for you that we're trying to think of everything we possibly can to make sure that we're doing the best we can.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:08:45):
Lastly, as I mentioned our president talking about opening up our campus in the fall, that also means that we're opening up our residence halls and our on-campus dining and our retail operations. And so I want to turn it over to Dr. Jenna Finley who oversees these operations and she will be happy to share with you a little bit more about what we're thinking about and the types of efforts we're making to offer the best support and safety for your students. Jenna.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:09:19):
Hello everyone. I'm happy to speak with you today in a very unprecedented time. As Tobias mentioned, we continued to house and feed students this spring semester and learned quite a bit from that experience. And as you can imagine, the guidance from the CDC and other organizations evolved and changed and we evolved and changed with those pieces. Sometimes day by day things change.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:09:49):
I think the guidance is becoming a little more clear in terms of what we can expect in the future. We can expect that social distancing is going to, physical distancing is going to be something that stays with us for a while, and that students will need to wear masks when outside of their residence hall room. So there'll be things that will feel very different for this group of incoming students as they start their first year.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:10:25):
We, as well as consulting with the CDC, we also have been talking with our colleagues in housing and dining across the country and also in the State of Colorado to talk about how we're each managing student housing, student dining, to be as safest that it can be, but still maintaining a sense of community, academic support, and student support.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:10:52):
We know, for example, that we will need to do move in for students a little more gradually. As you can imagine, moving in a campus population with social distancing in mind, we have to do that a little more gradually. So it can't happen over a day or two. It'll probably happen over a month, a period of weeks. And we're in the process of planning those things out of how long it will take based on assigning people based on area of campus and floor to give a gradual move in process.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:11:28):
We also know that the students have been isolated at home for quite some time and are also going to come to campus with some expectation of distancing from one another. But unique to the college experience and important to the college experience is interaction with other people, and programming, and academic support, and orientation, and all those pieces. So we're talking about how can we do that in a very supportive way and mostly in a virtual way this fall.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:12:00):
We met with colleagues across the university this morning to talk about how do we place students into smaller groups so they can get to know each other virtually, have a group, a sense of community, even though they won't necessarily be able to interact as often as traditionally would happen in the first few months of the semester, or the first year.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:12:22):
We also know that there will be some expectations of students and we will be stressing with them their responsibility as community members of wearing masks, being socially distant, not being in groups greater than 10, having good hygiene and cleaning practices both in their room or in the shared spaces that they have in a residence hall. You can expect some changes for us, such as setting some capacity in some of our shared spaces like community kitchen, community bathroom, lounges, things like that. So things will definitely look a little bit different for students as they enter.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:13:10):
We're considering right now what we need to do in terms of physical space for students and how students should be distributed through our system. And we are consulting with various experts to help us make those determinations. So, a lot is still to be decided, but a lot of things we are starting to get a picture of what the fall may look like and really thinking about how can we still bring a sense of community support to all of our students.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:13:43):
Dining is also a place where we anticipate making some changes. This spring we had students pick up their meals once a day and bring those home and prepare them in their own room or in the community kitchen that we have. We're anticipating doing something similar, but probably offer it throughout the day versus one set time like we did this spring just because of the number of students that we'll be working with. So, most food will be pre-packaged for them to pick up. And so that will also look a little bit different. But we do still plan to have options, be able to meet the needs of students with allergies, and the types of things that we always do within our meal plan.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:14:35):
Just want to reiterate one point that Jenna made. In terms of prepackaged meals, sometimes that might sound like, to some it may sound like junk food or processed food, but by no means is that the case. We have incredible chefs that work within our dining program. And so when Jenna talks about pre-packaged, it means just pre-prepared so that we can obviously not have our dining rooms crowded or reaching a capacity that's unsafe. So I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that piece of that. So, with that, I'll turn it over back to Leah to see if there's any questions.
Leah Schultz (00:15:36):
Yes. Hello again. Thank you. Thank you so much, Jenna and Tobias, for that lovely presentation. If you would all like to, you can start typing questions in the Q&A. Some of them we will be answering with just a quick message back to you via typing, and some of them we will answer live. So just keep an eye out for that. So, we do have a few questions already starting to roll in. One says, "Will freshmen have to pay the same amount and will they have to stay there?" And I'm guessing this is [inaudible 00:16:13] living in a room on their own, that would originally be a double, and are we still having our same live-on requirement?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:16:25):
So, a couple of things related to that. In fact, we were just talking this morning about the capacity that we have in our residence halls for students to live in singles, which would mean that they would have a room to their own. And so the guidance that we will be receiving is from CDC as well as the state. And what that means, for ultimate safety for the student, meaning if there are two allowed in a room and it's a four-person room, then that would be appropriate and we would house accordingly. If it is only one person, then that's something that we're going to have to really analyze to make sure that we're housing all of our current students that also choose to recontract with us, as well as all of our first year students. But one guarantee that I can give you is that all of our first year students will have housing, and there's no concern that you should have, as parents or prospective students, that you will not have housing. We absolutely will. And then the other part of that, Jenna, would you like to respond?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:17:49):
At this point we have not changed our live-on requirement and nor have we changed our rate structure. I think the other common question that I'm getting in is we're looking at potentially housing students in singles, is that some students don't want or are worried about being by themselves. And I think that is something that we always balance, particularly at the beginning of the year when students we know sometimes experience homesickness, or have even before coming to college maybe struggled with anxiety or depression, and that being by themselves is something that is really concerning to them. So I think we're seeing concerns from both sides. Is it safe to have a roommate or a suite mate? And I don't want to be by myself. And we're weighing both of those and are going to get some guidance from some experts in terms of capacity room by room and building by building. Because as you've visited our campus, our residence halls are pretty different from facility to facility. And even as you're thinking about how wide the hallways are and how big the community space is and the student rooms.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:19:08):
So it's not likely to be a decision that is identical building to building. It's going to be taking into consideration what space we have, what kind of windows and HVAC we have, all those things that are a piece of deciding what is safe, or as safe as it can be during this pandemic.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:19:32):
And one piece to add to that while Leah's looking for the next question is, we will not be charging extra for single rooms. So typically if a student requested a single room, there would be an additional charge. That is not the case for this year. So, just to also make sure you understand that we're being very cognizant of that.
Leah Schultz (00:20:00):
Thank you. Just to, so I don't know if I clarified this very well earlier, during this session, we'll mostly be talking about housing, dining, and life on campus. There's currently a lot of questions about orientation and classes being virtual. So we will do our best to type an answer, but we will also have a webinar on Wednesday with some campus leaders including President Andy Feinstein, and he will be able to answer those questions. So those kinds of questions will not be directed doing this session, but we will be having another one on Wednesday to address that. And then our next question we have is, "Will the gym be open?"
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:20:41):
At this point the campus recreation center is not open and we are waiting for the state to change its guidance under our current safer at home, fitness centers cannot be open. And when they do open, they are making some plans to have social distancing and greater cleaning and all those things. So they are preparing to be open at some point, but we really have to follow the guidance of the state.
Leah Schultz (00:21:19):
Yeah. Thank you. How will we enforce mask wearing? I'm not sure if [inaudible 00:21:25] question for both of you or for Wednesday, but I'll ask it.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:21:30):
I can answer that. Our student code of conduct does currently have a policy related to health and safety. So mask wearing, and social distancing, and those pieces are enforceable by our code. I will be amending some of our, we also have a handbook for housing and residential education students, and be providing some guidance in that as well. We are really recommending students think about their habits in terms of the mask wearing.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:22:04):
The guidance is currently to wear a clean mask every day. So if it is unrealistic for the student to think they're going to wash their mask every night, they should think about that in terms of how many masks that they may want to bring. And the guidance expectation is going to be that they wear the mask whenever they're outside of the room, or in close proximity with other people. We will likely ... I'm in the process, honestly, of writing a lot of these policies. So some of this is not fine tuned yet. There'll likely be some other restrictions. Like we typically will allow guests in a residence hall, a student to have a guest, that likely is to change and we won't be having guests. Things like that just to help keep visitors down, keep just the same group of people together.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:23:07):
In terms of the enforcement with our code of conduct, if students are breaking the code of conduct, they receive a letter. They're usually informed that they're breaking the code and there usually is a meeting, or sometimes a letter of warning and sometimes a meeting with a hearing officer about that violation. So, similar to other rules that we have with us will be enforceable.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:23:36):
I think an additional piece to that is that we're experts at educating students. Whether you're a faculty member or a staff member, our business is educating students. And so there's a developmental process that's part of this. And another aspect is changing culture on campus. And it's not easy, it's not simple, it's not overnight, but it is something that, yes, as Jenna described, there is a process that we can use, but before any of those kinds of things happen, part of it is educating the campus.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:24:23):
We're going to have faculty and staff that don't feel comfortable wearing masks or don't like it, or feel claustrophobic. All those kinds of things are valid. But at the same time, as an institution, we have to think of the greater good of all. And again, as a state institution, we have to think about what guidance we're given and what mandates we're given by the State of Colorado. So all that to say is it is a process and we're determined to make that process work.
Leah Schultz (00:25:01):
All right. So, we have multiple questions about plans for move in. Do we have any plan in place for that? Is there going to be multiple dates?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:25:14):
We are working on that plan now. We know that it will not be the single date that we used to encourage students to move in by, that it will be gradual. Students and families will likely be assigned a date and window of time that they can move in so we can maintain social distancing. We are also likely to give in our larger buildings an assigned pathway so we spread people out in terms of where they enter and exit buildings. But we are in the process of figuring out how far back we really need to go back into August to make sure we can afford enough time to maintain the social distancing.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:26:00):
There's also likely going to be some limitations on the number of support people a student can have in terms of helping with their move in. So that's a change for us as well. So you'll get communication from us with all the specifics and it will likely be very specific to you in terms of what your assigned date and time is.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:26:22):
Now, that being said, we know that some families also have work and other things that make it difficult to maybe comply with a single time, and we'll provide a process for us to work with you so we are as flexible as we can be within that plan.
Leah Schultz (00:26:44):
Thank you. And then we also have lots of questions about dining. So I'm just going to kind of put everything in and then hopefully you guys can address all of that. So we have a lot of questions about, first of all, dining plans. If we are not allowed to eat pretty much every meal on campus, will those dining plans be changed? We have questions about students who are concerned about not having enough options for pre-packaged meal. And then we have questions about, "I don't have a microwave. If I don't bring a microwave, how will I be able to heat up my food and am I required to solely eat in my residence hall? Is there the ability to eat on tables outside or even in the residence hall?"
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:27:33):
So the guidance around, I'll start with the last piece and move backwards. The question about like, are the dining rooms open and can I share, or eat at a table outside? Those are possibilities. We are tied to what the current recommendations are for restaurants, is really what we're following. And currently there isn't, in the State of Colorado, or maybe Weld County, we're expecting that to change. And so there is a potential that we'll be allowing a small number of people in a dining room at once if they want to sit and eat. And that's not certain. So that's one of those things that could change over time.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:28:24):
We do anticipate the dining rooms are open for every meal and that students will still have options and flexibility and be able to ... if we can't do any eat-in, just take everything to go. And so what that looks like, whereas we used to have a self-serve salad bar, a student would go and see options for different carry out salads that have been prepared by our staff that they can take.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:28:51):
So, the same options, maybe not quite as many options as there was in the past because there was a lot of self-service in our dining rooms, but still a lot of options available. So yes, first year students are still required to carry a 14 meal plan. That is not changing at this time, and we still anticipate having dining rooms open with a lot of options available.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:29:20):
The other things that we're changing, part of the meal plans are dining dollars, and that means that's money that can be used in our retail locations. And so we're looking at different options for how students can have access to retail like a Subway. And again, looking at a lot of what you see in your community right now in terms of curbside pickup, delivery, pre-ordering and picking up so you don't have to wait in line, queuing in terms of make sure that any place we offer retail we have that six feet of space and that's very clear for students what that line would look like.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:30:05):
So those are all the things that we're preparing for. And we also know that the guidelines could shift. So some of what I'm saying could change as recommendations from the health department change.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:30:22):
As far as the microwave, refrigerator, all those kinds of things, we do encourage you to bring those up to campus. Typically, if you have those items, that's convenient for you. We're going to try to also make sure that every room or floor has additional clean supplies. So there's just this culture of making sure that things are sanitary, items are cleaned on a regular basis. And also depending on where you live, we do have community kitchens. Now, that is still also in discussion because we don't want 15 people, 30 people using community kitchens. So that is still something that we need to figure out. But if there are certain amount of students that live on a floor, let's say maybe seven or 10, then that could be a possibility. And it all depends on the number changes too that's recommended by the state.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:31:34):
And the other thing that's available, if you don't want to buy a microwave and a refrigerator, our residence hall association rents what's called a micro fridge, and it's an all in one unit, has a small refrigerator, freezer, and microwave. And information will be coming to you about the rental price. It's delivered to your room before you even arrive. So that is another possibility as well.
Leah Schultz (00:32:01):
All right. Thank you. Yes, we have a lot of questions pouring in. So we did have a question about students who are more at risk than others. How are we going to keep them safe? Will there be any housekeeping protocol, procedures to help keep them safe? All of that.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:32:29):
I think with students that are at risk, we do have what's called, I think evaluation as a family about what you want to do and think is important. And there is a petition for release process that's based on health conditions. The form is available on the housing website under forms and it's submitted, and all the medical paperwork is submitted to the Disability Resource Center and evaluated in that office. And so I think that's a very difficult and personal decision in terms of if you have a preexisting condition. There are some risks to being on a campus and being in community with one another, even with the things that we're talking about. And so I think that's something that families have to decide and decide that they want to submit the paperwork and be released from the requirement to live on campus.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:33:32):
In terms of house keeping, yes, I think there are standards from the CDC on how often bathrooms need to be cleaned. Now, if a student is in a suite and has their own private or semi-private or shared bathroom, we will give instructions on how often they need to clean that bathroom and provide the cleaner that is recommended by the health department. We also are going to encourage students to really try to bring their own Clorox wipe and other things that we know are helpful just to do touch up cleaning on high touch surfaces in their room. And even things like remote controls, gaming controls, their phone, their computer, all of those things should be regularly wiped down. Our instructions are going to be to do things like take your shoes off and leave them by the door so you don't track what's been outside into the room.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:34:27):
So, we plan to provide various specific guidelines for cleaning. We know that for some students it's the first time they've really been responsible for that on their own, having to think about it on their own, and we're going to try to shift that culture on the expectation. But it is going to be up to them in terms of how clean, their personal responsibility to themselves and their community is going to be a big piece of what is going to need to happen.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:34:57):
But our custodial staff has expectations of all high touch areas. So when you think door handles, elevator buttons, all those types of things, of how frequently they're wiped down. We'll also have hand sanitizer and things like that available in our lobbies, but really will encourage students to bring some supply of their own as well. I think I answered all the parts of your questions, Leah.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:35:29):
I think one other thing to add is that Jenna and I both have kids of our own, and I think that makes a difference. And to humanize this, we're not just administrators that work on a college campus, but we're also moms or dads and it's important that when our kids are in college or taking a job or whatever it may be, that that employer, that college or university, is also paying attention to them. And so I think that's an important aspect in all of this, is that we want to treat your kids like they're our kids, just as we would want our kids treated as best as they could be treated. So, I hope that helps give you some perspective as well as humanize who we are.
Leah Schultz (00:36:34):
Yes. Thank you so much for that. So will we be implementing any hand sanitization stands around any community areas, in the residence halls on campus? Are we going to be providing any personal PPE supplies to students?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:37:00):
There are hand sanitizing stations in all residence hall entrance areas as well as the dining room entrances, and a lot of our academic buildings and library. I think the plan is to really get them everywhere. I think if you see hand sanitizer this summer, I mean, I think that's one of those things that's been hard to come by, again, it's good to try to bring that to campus yourself too because I think it's sometimes hard to predict supply, even though I think we are procuring as much as we can at the time.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:37:35):
PPE, we are recommending students bring their own masks. Now, I think that there has been some discussion about orientation providing some at the completion of the asynchronous sessions that they're going to be offering, but that's not for certain. And really what I can anticipate is most students are going to need more than one just because they could be wearing them for long periods of time during the day when you think about the blocks of time that they're in class, those masks, the fabric becomes wet after a while. It's a good idea to change them out through the day. It's a good idea to wash them every night. And again, every student has slightly different threshold for how often they want to be washing something like that. So we are recommending them making them, buying them, and there's some good notes or instructions on how to do that.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:38:36):
We have some volunteers in the community that are also trying to make some masks for our staff and our student staff. But at this point, I don't know what the commitment in terms of number is. So, it's one of those things I think families should be purchasing now when planning to bring with them to campus.
Leah Schultz (00:39:06):
So, there's a lot of questions about students who have already done their housing contract and they've already been assigned a room. How will those rooming, whatever they chose, how will that change? Can they change them if they've chosen to live in a single room and yet everybody lives in a room by themselves, will they still have to pay that extra cost that comes with an individual room? All of that.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:39:40):
I think that's something that is just going to depend a little bit. We are making plans now for how to provide the best distancing that we can with the guidance of experts, epidemiologists, health department experts in terms of what that needs to look like building by building. So we will be communicating with you if we need to change your current assignment. And we hope to know that in June.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:40:19):
I think our plan is to start to work on that the rest of may. And that kind of leads into the timeline that you just mentioned, Jenna, probably about mid June or so is when students would be able to find out a difference of what their housing is. Is that correct?
Leah Schultz (00:40:43):
Yeah. Me? Yes.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:40:46):
Sorry, Jenna, about mid June?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:40:50):
Students already have their assignments because they've assigned themselves, so they know where they're living. I think if we make any-
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:40:57):
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:40:58):
If we reassign, we will be letting you now. There are, as you can imagine, we are planning that if students are symptomatic with either influenza-like symptoms, COVID-like symptoms, we are in the process of identifying, we had isolation rooms this spring, we're in the process of identifying more isolation spaces just to have those available. And that's another reason that an assignment might change. We might identify a space that we need for that reason.
Leah Schultz (00:41:40):
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:41:41):
Leah Schultz (00:41:43):
So we have a few also questions about are we still going to have some clubs meeting and running and still creating that UNC community despite all of our social distancing efforts?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:41:56):
Yes. We started the experience of having a lot of clubs and organization meetings through mostly Zoom and ... The other app just escaped me, things that students are used to in terms of socializing and having group chats, GroupMe. So, yes, I think most clubs and organizations will continue to meet. I would say that certain things, obviously like club sports, or outdoor pursuits, those things I think are a little more up in the air in terms of how they would continue to operate with whatever the guidance is from the state at that time. So currently, for example, we can't do any outdoor pursuits, but other types of clubs are continuing to meet, continuing to socialize. I think we saw a great success with virtual fitness classes on Instagram video and YouTube, and we also saw quite a bit of, whether it was group meetings from student government and RHA or group Netflix nights. A lot of that has continued to happen.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:43:20):
We were discussing today the concept of still having a university center where students can find one another, find things in common, get support from one another. And again, plan to assign students to smaller groups so they can interact, get to know people, and have some support from a peer mentor facilitator to help with that process too.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:43:47):
So we really believe at UNC that relationships are important. They are key to a success. They just need to happen a little bit differently right now. I think coming into this experience, students have gotten a little bit used to that over the past few months, but we plan to provide more support and how that can happen. So, it'll look a little different than it used to, but we do have plans to make sure students have all those opportunities.
Leah Schultz (00:44:24):
Thank you. Is there a risk of students not getting a room? If all the rooms have to become single rooms, will they be allowed to live in our Arlington Park Apartments, or will we be using hotels? Or will we maybe extend our live-on requirement bubble?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:44:45):
I think all those options are on the table, but the one thing that we can guarantee is that all first year students will have housing. So whatever that looks like, whether that is at Arlington Park or other types of housing that we have, that will be our commitment to our first year students. And so right now we're trying to gauge how many students have confirmed, or at least have gone to the UNC portal to confirm that they are coming. So if you haven't done that, please make sure you do that. So then that gives us a good idea of how many students we're housing on campus as well.
Leah Schultz (00:45:35):
And does that extend to transfer students that used to live on campus as well?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:45:41):
Leah Schultz (00:45:44):
All right. Somebody had also asked about summer housing. They had originally planned to move in on the summer, but didn't think that was possible. Is that still possible because we do have students currently living on campus?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:45:59):
It is. We currently have summer school housing in Lawrenson Hall. So students would not be able to move into their assigned fall space, but we do have room for students at Lawrenson, which is an apartment style residence hall. And we are still also offering a meal plan starting June 6th, which is when our summer term starts.
Leah Schultz (00:46:28):
Yeah. I am not sure if this is for either of you, but there is a lot of questions about potentially testing students for coronavirus. Is this a possibility that we're looking at? What would the likelihood be, how often?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:46:45):
I think that's a really good question. Currently, we have a partnership with King Soopers and a testing site that goes from state to state. This one happens to be the one here in Colorado. And so we are capable of testing thousands of people this summer. So, why I mentioned that is because we're now looking at the possibility of that being here, that entity being here in the fall to be able to have that opportunity.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:47:27):
Now that is not set in stone right now, because we are wanting to assess to see how this goes for university and Greeley community members. And if that is the case, then having one specifically for students, new and returning, would be really ideal for us in August. And there, the drive up, pull into the big white tents type of setup. So right now, if you happen to live in the local area that is located by our athletic fields.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:48:07):
And students have also been able to be tested at our student health center. That health center will remain open during the summer. They have been seeing students in person. We had some students who were symptomatic and were waiting test results and in isolation. And we had our health center checks in with those students by phone every day just to see how they're doing. I always like to tell family, we're not a health care facility in terms of if someone is sick we can't provide a lot of direct support because we don't have that expertise, but we do have a health center that checks in with students, as well as our case management, our student outreach and support also checks in with students who aren't feeling well just to provide that extra support while they are self-isolating.
Leah Schultz (00:49:06):
Thank you. How will the placing of residential learning communities potentially be impacted by adjusting students?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:49:15):
We've made some of our residential learning communities a little bit smaller, just to give us a little bit greater flexibility with our space. So those assignments are still happening. I think we are going to be able to accommodate the students that have requested those residential learning communities. Again, that could change based on what we decide to do with some of our space, but that is the plan right now. We've reduced them a bit at this point. They could end up being reduced a little bit more.
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:49:54):
That being said, because we hire staff specifically to support our residential learning communities, and we are planning to move a lot of that support virtual, the support that is offered, for example, the tutoring from an RA that is from that major, those types of things will still happen. Interaction with faculty from that major will still happen. So we'll just do it a little bit differently than what we traditionally have done.
Leah Schultz (00:50:28):
All right. Thank you. Will first year students be able to choose to live at home?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:50:35):
I think that's a policy change that we're currently working on. We do know for instance, as Jenna mentioned, there is a housing petition release option. And so first of all, I think if students who are immune compromised or have pre-existing conditions, that is one reason to not live on campus, and so we would definitely like to honor that. The other piece, you may not fall into either of those two categories, and feeling as though living at home would be better for you. Obviously we know the many things that go through a student's nine months and that first time of leaving home, sometimes is very difficult.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:51:44):
So, the policy as it stands right now is that all first year students do live on campus unless you live within a certain area that surrounds the, or that's associated with the university, or you live within the local Greeley community. But because of this particular situation, we are more open to understanding those reasons of a student feeling more fear or more concerned about living on campus. So I feel more comfortable now with trying to better accommodate students that maybe fall into that category that don't have pre-existing conditions or health is compromised for other reasons. So, the answer is, is that I think we're still working on that and I hope to maybe get you more solid answers about what our plan is, at least within the next couple of weeks.
Leah Schultz (00:53:03):
Okay. Thank you. So if there is a second wave, will housing and dining be refunded?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:53:15):
Just talked with our president this morning about this particular topic. As most of folks know, we're in probably the same situation as many other universities, colleges and universities across the country where we offer credit for those that did choose to go home. Our on campus housing and dining facilities still operated and students had the ability to stay on campus. That situation was that COVID, the pandemic surprised us, in terms of as a nation. It's not something that we knew about, if that makes sense. We know about this now, and we know that that is a possibility of a second wave. And so our desire would be that again, nobody would be forced to move back home. We heard some horrible stories about some colleges and universities forcing students home, and that would not be the case. We would always be available and open.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:54:33):
However, if a second wave were to hit, we would want to make sure that if a student does go home, that we would have an institutional policy that would either allow a refund, or that would be something that would ultimately be a choice that a student would have. So again, I put a caveat and an asterisk next to that to say that we would like to have solid details about what that looks like. But to give you a canned answer of yes we would, or no we wouldn't, wouldn't be authentic and wouldn't be transparent. And so I think it's helpful as a parent to know what are we talking about and what are the discussions. And so that is the honest answer, is that we're toying with those ideas and also recognize that there could be a second wave and we don't want to hurt people financially. That is not our desire, nor is it our goal. And so we would want to make sure we do what is in the best interest of our students and their families.
Leah Schultz (00:55:53):
All right. So we just have a couple of more minutes. So I will just ask maybe one or two more questions. Again, for everybody, we will have a meeting as well on Wednesday with some of our UNC leadership, including President Feinstein. So, if your question has not been directly answered in this meeting, we will do our best to reach out to you and send you that answer. And we also invite you to join us on Wednesday for our other webinar with some other UNC leaders. But a few more questions that we definitely have been getting are about, how do I submit a request to be in a solo room if I've already done my housing application? I know we talked about when will the new room assignments be, if they're changed due to social distancing, we talked about that being mid June. And then what would families visiting students or students visiting students look like?
Dr. Jenna Finley (00:56:54):
We do anticipate that we limit or not have any guests coming into the residence halls. So I think that is something to keep in mind and something that is different than past. And I think when we think about what happened in the state and the recommendations about not traveling great distances, we're also going to really encourage students that once they're on campus to stay on campus, and not visit a lot of different communities or even go back and forth to home, just because that does increase the chances of community transmission. And so that limiting unnecessary travel we anticipate really still being in effect. We will not be allowing guests into residence halls, families will be able to come up and visit, but those visits will have to take place off of ... not in the residence hall itself. And that's what we're anticipating right now. Again, that could change as things change in the summer, but that is something that we're expecting to be a policy.
Leah Schultz (00:58:11):
Yeah. Anything else you'd like to add, Dr. Guzmán?
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:58:18):
When first year students arrive to campus, one of those feelings of freedom obviously overwhelms them. And then it's not until about maybe two weeks where you either want more food in your refrigerator, or you want more money deposited in your bank account, or perhaps you want some added extra love from your family and support people. And so what we know is that all those things do happen. We also know that this pandemic is not necessarily going to change unless there is a cure and a vaccine. So what we, really I think, try to make sure that you understand and recognize is that perhaps this is temporary. Temporary could be for a year or two years, whatever. We don't know. But this is something that everyone is dealing with and everyone has different aspects to it that they have to deal with. And our most and greatest concern is that we protect those around us.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (00:59:45):
So when Jenna talks about relationships as being a fundamental aspect of UNC, that's absolutely correct, is that relationships really do matter. They help build a network of people, they help with getting jobs after graduation, it's endless. So, we hope that during this time that we're continuing to build relationships, it's going to just have to be different, it's going to have to look different, perhaps feel a little bit different, but I do want to encourage everyone to know that UNC is really taking care of its people first.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (01:00:29):
We're trying to educate our faculty and our staff on how to best take care of our students when they come back in the fall. We're also making sure that we have all the necessary resources, from PPE, to just simply the knowledge. Jenna talked about having the experts coming in and walking our residence halls and our dining areas. Those are the extra measures that we take to make sure that we're giving you the confidence that UNC is a place that is wanting to do the best it possibly can.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (01:01:07):
We also don't want to hesitate from answering future questions. You may be sitting at home tonight and thinking, "Gosh, I should have asked that question." Both Jenna and myself are available. You can take my first name that's on the screen there, tobias.guzman, and just add in @unco.edu, the same with firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can ask us any questions that you would like, also personal phone calls. That's just what we do here at UNC. Even if we get hundreds of those, I think it's important for you to understand how serious we are taking this and how much we care for your students.
Dr. Tobias Guzmán (01:01:55):
So, I hope that I shed some light and, again, I want to underscore Leah's prompting of joining other UNC leadership and a webinar on Wednesday, May 13th at 4:00 PM featuring President Feinstein, our provost, Mark Anderson, you might have lots of questions about the classroom, which he can answer. As well as Katrina Rodriguez, our vice president for student affairs. So, continue to learn more about UNC and we really look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Leah Schultz (01:02:35):
Yeah. Thank you everybody for joining us. We want to be respectful of your time. I know we've gone a few minutes over, but we will do our best again to connect with you. We hope to see you on Wednesday at 4:00 PM as well during that. And I hope you all have a great rest of your evening. If you have any questions about admissions, you can email us at email@example.com. And then we also have our UNC Coronavirus website, which is unco.edu/coronavirus, where you can also find multiple frequently asked questions on there as well. Thank you all for joining us and I hope you all have a great night.
- Campus Updates and Information - July 30, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - July 14, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - June 29, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - June 23, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - June 16, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - June 9, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - May 21, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - May 18, 2020
- Campus Updates and Information - May 13, 2020
- Living on Campus Open House - May 11, 2020