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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 13, Operational Update

April 13, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning everybody. Monday, April the 13th, and this is our daily operation status report. As I'm sitting at my house in Greeley, I'm looking out the window, and there's lots of snow coming down, looks like a couple of inches have fallen since this morning, and it's beautiful outside.

President Feinstein (00:19):
On Friday we sent out a message to all of our students regarding commencement ceremonies for our spring graduates. I want to thank all the students who provided input and suggestions on what we're going to do, which is hold a separate and distinct commencement ceremony in December. So thank you again for all of your input, and also remember that we shared last week information on satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading, and if you need to change your mind throughout the semester, even after the first month when you receive your grades, you'll be able to do that. I strongly recommend, though, that you speak to an advisor before making that decision, and you can certainly wait until you see what your grades are before deciding whether or not you want to change those to satisfactory or unsatisfactory. So with that, I'm going to ask Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, to moderate conversations from our coronavirus task forces. Dan?

Dan Maxey (01:17):
Thank you, President Feinstein. It's Monday, which means the cabinet, the coronavirus task force, as well as several of the subcommittees, will meet today. Faculty Senate also has a virtual meeting this afternoon. As the President noted, after several days, a couple of days of beautiful weather here in Greeley, it snowed yesterday, and it's another snowy day today. I think this is nature's way of enforcing our stay at home order. I encourage everyone to look back at Thursday's presentation on the morning update call for some tips on how to stay active indoors. As our daily panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. We'll start things off as we usually do, with the chair of our coronavirus task force, Associate Vice President for Administration, Blaine Nickeson, for our developing issues report. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (02:01):
Good morning, Dan and Andy. I hope you both had a great weekend. I know we did, lots of baking yesterday with the cool weather and Easter, trying to make up some of the traditions. Locally, in the Greeley community, the JBS meat processing plant closed on Saturday, after recording their second death related to coronavirus. The plant will remain closed through Thursday or, I'm sorry, through Tuesday, for thorough cleaning and also allowing them to proceed with testing of all of the employees of the plant. Last I had read, there was 36 positive cases there, but obviously a big employer in the local area, and also a critical piece of national infrastructure with our food supply chain.

Blaine Nickeson (02:47):
On the positive side, there's a group in Greeley planning for a vehicle parade tonight around the hospitals in Greeley. Their Facebook page is Parade at Greeley Hospital, if you want to check it out, I think it's at 6:30. Also NCMC Hospital is now accepting homemade masks, so if you have the time, the materials or the skill, and would like to give back, that's an opportunity for folks.

Blaine Nickeson (03:09):
Colorado has eclipsed about 7,000 cases, or over 7,000 cases. Statewide, there's 7,303 positive cases. That's up 1,100 since my report on Friday. 1,417 have been hospitalized, that's up from 1,221 on Friday, or a 16% jump. 37,153 tested, that's up 19%. That's good. That's one of the few times I can recall that testing growth has outpaced positive cases and hospitalizations, so we really need that to continue in that direction.

Blaine Nickeson (03:42):
Colorado is reporting 290 deaths. That's up from 226, and that's a pretty significant jump. That's actually up 28% since Friday's numbers, so not a good report there. There's 68 outbreaks at facilities like nursing homes, a jump of 14%, or 14 homes since Friday, and I had read a statistic earlier that said that about 40% of Colorado's deaths are actually associated with those facilities like nursing homes. Weld County reported 784 cases yesterday, that's up 25% since Friday, and there's 51 deaths in the county, up 14 since Friday. Weld County has the most deaths of any Colorado County, up to over Denver, and I'd note that Weld County has less than half the population of Denver, so our unfortunate trend here in Northern Colorado is continuing. That's my report for this morning. I'll turn it back over to you, Dan.

Dan Maxey (04:42):
Thank you, Blaine, appreciate all of that, and appreciate the information about the hospital parade. I live about four doors down from the UC Health Greeley Hospital, and I missed the parade, somehow, the other night, with all of the sirens and the honking and everything else, and I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll check that out this evening. Next we'll turn it over to Dean of Students, Tuck Tucker, for our report on impacts to student life. Tuck?

Gardiner Tucker (05:07):
Good morning, everyone. Hope you're enjoying the snow. The first impact that I wanted to review was the Veterans Services on campus, and so students who are military, and who are veteran and military affiliated, have a unique set of challenges on campus, which can be difficult during this crisis. If you remember, the federal government passed legislation to allow housing vouchers to stay at the same level even though we've moved online, which was a great breakthrough. Now the Veteran Services on campus is doing some things to help veterans be successful as well. For example, they do a veterans, Bears, faculty, staff spotlight. What that is, is show casting the faculty and staff who have served, or are currently serving, that are UNC faculty and staff, to the veterans and military affiliated community. And what they do is they put on a regular podcast, where it shows what it was like to serve when the faculty and staff served, and then what it was like to go to school after serving, or during service.

Gardiner Tucker (06:12):
And they highlight resources and support available to veterans on campus, and military affiliated students on campus, at UNC. So it's a great service for our students. In addition, they continue to work with the Dean of Students office on case management involving vets, when they need support. Their social media platforms currently are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So, good job to Veteran Services.

Gardiner Tucker (06:35):
Now the second student impact that I wanted to address is, campus diversity is a high priority at UNC. And so our smaller communities on campus have been altered in so many ways, and they've moved online. So today's example is GOAL, which means UNC's Go On And Learn program, which is an inclusive higher education program for cognitive diversity. Christina Ruffatti and her team are leading this program, and to be accepted into the program, students must have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Gardiner Tucker (07:10):
So, in-person contact with students is one of the cornerstones of success, so moving online has been particularly challenging for this group. So they've created alternative programming and services. So they're recruiting through Zoom interviews; they have 10 incoming students next year. Their Facebook group for parents has been established. They have virtual peer meetings, regular webinars, exam proctoring online, registration advising, cooking classes, and Netflix watch parties. So we may all want to join in, because those are fantastic alternative education programs and the fact she, Christina, has said that the faculty have been compassionate, adapting assignments for GOAL students, the Bear spirit truly shines.

Gardiner Tucker (07:55):
Finally, student impact, housing situations and dining are in constant change for many of our students, and this impacts all of our students. So I'd like to welcome Jenna Finley to discuss Housing updates. Jenna?

Jenna Finley (08:10):
Good morning, everyone. We have continued to have a busy week and weekend. We had around 50 students move out of the residence halls over the weekend. So we're out about 1,300 students have completed their move out. Dining Services continues to feed a range of, I would say 75 to 120 students on a daily basis, and they have been able to add a hot meal option, and also do things that acknowledge the holidays and religiously significant events over the past few weeks. So they added meals to honor both Passover and Easter, for example, in the past week. And we've gotten a lot of positive feedback about that.

Jenna Finley (09:05):
As we continue to support students in the residence halls, we've had over 220 students reached by Division of Student Affairs to do an individual check-in to see how students are doing with a sense of isolation, and have found that most students feel really good about the support and the response that UNC has had during COVID, and I think that's been nice to hear, and although they are feeling isolated, they are also, for the most part, doing okay with this change.

Jenna Finley (09:43):
As we're continuing to house people, we're also turning our thoughts to summer. We are, even though classes are online, going to be offering summer school housing, that will be in Hansen-Willis Hall. That application is now up. We've already had a couple of students apply, and it's only been up for a day. We are anticipating that a lot of the students that had housing needs from us from the spring will continue to have housing needs through the summer.

Jenna Finley (10:13):
So one thing that is changing for us, we've always let students who aren't enrolled in summer classes stay at Arlington Park, because that's a 12-month lease. For our summer school housing in the summer, we are going to allow students who are registered in the spring semester to continue to live in summer school housing in Hansen-Willis during the summer, even if they are not registered for classes. We are doing this because we know we have some students who are housing insecure, so please, if you hear of someone in your interactions that needs a place to stay, please let them know that the application is live, it's very reasonably priced, and we will adjust our occupancy and spacing as needed to accommodate students. We will also, of course, encourage students to take online classes, but they will not need to do so in order to stay with us.

Jenna Finley (11:12):
That's all I have to report today. Thank you very much.

Gardiner Tucker (11:16):
Great news, Jenna. Thank you for that update. And I love how we're looking forward to summer and taking care of the student needs so they can be successful academically. And now my final word, one of the challenges we have is, oftentimes we are working to help with the crisis around campus or managing emergencies. And yet we also have a home life that is part of our world. So I've asked Blaine if he could share with us a picture from what he may have been doing with his family this weekend. Blaine, do you have a picture for us?

Blaine Nickeson (11:46):
I do, Tuck. Let me find it and put it up. So here's my kids, enjoying the very different weather that we had on Saturday, getting some good reading in whilst social distancing from everybody, but enjoying that weather, while I did some chores. And then, on the right is my son, and he's made up a Thank You sign to put on our front door. We feel very privileged to be able to be in a position to have things delivered to our house, like restaurant food, or groceries, or things that we've purchased from Amazon, and don't want to take for granted the folks that are putting themselves at it may be a higher risk in order to allow us that privilege. So he wanted to make a sign and hang it on the front door. So that's my home life, and even today, with them getting ready to go back to school, constantly having plenty to do throughout the day.

Gardiner Tucker (12:57):
And I think it's great how you give us the reality check on the news, what's happening, so that we're ready to do the best we can to support our community. And at home you're doing the same thing, you're building your family, you're working on giving back to the community, and I think that's symbolic of UNC and our Bear community. So, thank you so much for sharing that, Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (13:17):
Thanks, Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (13:18):
That concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (13:23):
Thank you, Tuck, Jenna and Blaine. Home life in my household looked a little bit like this, this morning. My assistant refused to get out of bed for breakfast-

Gardiner Tucker (13:35):
Smart assistant.

Dan Maxey (13:36):
For about five minutes. Normally they're bugging me to get up, and this morning they decided that they're over me being home every day. Next I'm going to turn to Provost Mark Anderson, to give his report on the impacts to the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (13:50):
Thank you, Dan. Good morning, everyone. I just want to reiterate what President Feinstein said about satisfactory/unsatisfactory. We've had just about a hundred students select that option already. It is a good opportunity for students to take some of the pressure off, particularly as we've transitioned into a different way of instructing our courses, but it is critically important that students know what the consequences of potentially changing the grade is. And so, we really want to reiterate, as much as we possibly can, to speak to your advisor about that.

Mark Anderson (14:32):
Along with satisfactory/unsatisfactory, we, we changed the date for withdrawing from individual courses, and that date for withdrawing from individual courses is this Friday. So the deadline to withdraw from courses, or to withdraw from your entire schedule, is this Friday. Given the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade option, we really think that it's best for you to stay in your classes, to learn as much as you possibly can, and make an informed decision about your grade option once final grades have been posted.

Mark Anderson (15:07):
We're monitoring registration, both new first-time students, summer registration, and then fall registration. Based upon deposits for applicants for fall of next year, new first-time students were down about 224, point in time, compared to fall of 2019. The student behaviors have changed, and almost everybody is down, so we're paying close attention to that.

Mark Anderson (15:40):
For summer registration, the good news is we're fairly consistent with where we've been in the last several years. We're effectively even with where we were in 2018, 2017 and 2016, and a little behind where we were for summer of 2019. Summer of 2019 had a lot of early registrations, and then it flattened out over time. Typically after one week of registration, we are about 60% of the total summer registration. We're very consistent with where we've been in the last several years.

Mark Anderson (16:16):
Likewise, fall registration has started, and it's very early, but we're fairly consistent with where we were, point in time, for 2018, 2017 and 2016 as well. So we're paying very close attention to registration. We're paying very close attention to students who choose the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option. For those students, we're reaching out to make sure that they've made the best decision for themselves, and we always encourage students to reach out to their advisors, to get the appropriate advice so that they can make good decisions for their academic progress. So that's what I have for this morning, Dan. Thank you very much.

Dan Maxey (16:59):
Thank you, Mark. Kirk Leichliter has no official formal report today on impacts or Facilities, but did report to me this morning that grounds crews are clearing the snow on campus this morning, and I understand that the new grounds crew manager starts today. I can't imagine what it's like to start that job on a snowy day like this when nobody is on campus, but welcome all the same. We also have no Human Resources report this morning from Marshall Parks, so I'll turn it back over to Andy.

President Feinstein (17:37):
Thanks, Dan. And good news about summer school registration. Certainly a little bit concerned about fall enrollment, but as Mark said, I think we're seeing some softness in registration across Colorado, certainly as I've spoken to other CEOs. You also heard about the parade today at 6:30, and the Feinsteins will be in their car, not getting out of their car, but going by both hospitals and honking their horns and recognizing all the tremendous work that our healthcare workers in Greeley are doing to support our community. So with that, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.