Jump to main content

COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 14, Operational Update

April 14, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning everybody. Tuesday, April 14. This is our daily operation status report. It's a beautiful day here in Greeley. The sun's out, the snow is melting, and if you get a chance to take a walk around the block, I strongly suggest that you do so.

President Feinstein (00:16):
Many of you received an email from me yesterday inviting you to some small group discussions, students, faculty and staff, and I'm holding those for the next several weeks. In fact, I have a student discussion today and a staff discussion as well. So if you have time, I'd love to chat with you in Microsoft Teams, get to know you and ask some questions about how your day is going and how the transition to online instruction is working. So I look forward to you to respond to those, and having a chance to have a conversation with you in the coming weeks. And with that, I'll hand over the conversation to Dan Maxey, our Chief of Staff, to moderate conversations from our coronavirus task forces. Dan?

Dan Maxey (00:59):
Great. Thank you, President Feinstein, and those small group sessions have been filling up quickly, so we'll be adding more dates shortly, so please look for additional emails from the Office of the President with details about those small group meetings. It's Tuesday, which means that the cabinet coronavirus task force as well as most of the subcommittees have a day off of their meetings, but activity naturally still continues. As Andy noted, after a few days of snow, we have a little bit of sunshine today, although I think the weather forecast was calling for a little bit more snow later this week, so get out while you can. I want to turn things over first to Blaine Nickeson, Associate Vice President for Administration and chair of our coronavirus task force. As always, everyone please remember to unmute your microphones and turn off your cameras when you give your reports. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (01:51):
Good morning. Thanks. Thanks Dan, and thanks Dan Satriana for the great set this morning from Steely Dan. Starting my report off with some positive information, which I know that might be surprising, but I'd encourage you to check out coloradoproud.com. It lists small Colorado farms, ranches, and specialty food and beverage producers across the state, including how you can buy from them online, and I stumbled upon this yesterday and just thought, "What a great resource for those of us especially that are trying to have some great stuff shipped to our house."

Blaine Nickeson (02:25):
Speaking of food, but on not a positive note, the JBS plant in Greeley is closed for two weeks due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the plant. The Denver Post is reporting that there's hundreds of cases at the plant, which is Weld County's largest employer, with around 6,000 employees. Hopefully after that two-week shutdown, we can get that operation back up and running both for the importance of the local economy and the importance to the food chain supply.

Blaine Nickeson (02:54):
I've mentioned over many past meetings about the work that's happening out at The Ranch in Loveland, about building up an alternate care facility with 1,000 hospital beds, and I wanted to share a picture of that this morning. Here's the work in progress at the ranch currently, and you can see the Army Corps of Engineers is doing remarkable work in quick order. Other pictures that I had show areas of drywall already up, and the goal I believe is to have beds available in here by the 18th. So just wanted to share that picture. Shows some of the hard work that's going on around our neighboring areas to prepare and respond for any upcoming surges.

Blaine Nickeson (03:41):
For statewide data, there's 7,691 confirmed positive cases, just shy of 400 cases since yesterday, or 5%. Hospitalizations are also up 5% since yesterday, at just shy of 1,500. 38,742 tested, which is up 4%. Some cool news yesterday out of Rutgers University, they've developed a coronavirus test using saliva, and the patient only has to spit into a cup. It was granted emergency approval by the FDA yesterday, and they had the capability to do tens of thousands of tests a day. They're also sharing that with other labs across the country to hopefully spin that up in lots of other places. The great part is, it reduces the need for personal protective equipment for somebody administering the test, and the need for swabs. It's just really cool to see universities across our country leading against this enormous challenge that we face.

Blaine Nickeson (04:36):
Colorado's reporting 308 deaths, which is up 6% since yesterday. I reported a little over a week ago that men were disproportionately dying from the virus, and that continues to be the case. In Colorado, men are 47% of the positive cases, but 62% of the deaths. It appears that fatalities from COVID-19 are more likely among those with heart disease, something which men have a higher rate of, so that could be partially explaining the situation that we're seeing there.

Blaine Nickeson (05:05):
Here in Weld County, we're now reporting 822 cases, which is up 5% day over day, and there's 53 deaths in the county, which is up two. So that's my report this morning, and I'll turn it back over to you, Dan.

President Feinstein (05:18):
Hey Blaine, quick question for you.

Blaine Nickeson (05:20):
Yes, sir.

President Feinstein (05:20):
There were hundreds of possible cases at JBS, but they're not included in the numbers that you reported yet for Weld?

Blaine Nickeson (05:28):
I'm not certain if they're included. The reporting was that I believe they believed that there were 277 people that either had been tested positive or had visited emergency care facilities for respiratory-related illness. My understanding is that they were going to test everybody at JBS, but they started to see return rates suggesting that there was indeed an outbreak there, and so they just decided to shut the plant for two weeks to try to get it cleared up and hit the reset button there.

President Feinstein (06:03):
Great. Thank you.

Blaine Nickeson (06:04):
Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Maxey (06:06):
Thanks, Blaine. I appreciate those updates, and let's all keep those employees and community members in our thoughts. Next I'll turn things over to Dean of Students Tuck Tucker for our daily report on impacts to the student life. Tuck?

Gardiner Tucker (06:20):
Good morning everyone. It's great to connect with you all today. I keep wanting to use the word "see." So the first impact is that students are now connecting through the virtual world, and one of those areas on campus is the Center for Human Enrichment and the TRiO student support services, or CHE. So their mission is to provide comprehensive academics services to support the academic, professional and personal success of 200 first-generation students at UNC. So it's a really valuable program for our campus, and Shawanna Kimbrough is the director, and her team have moved to everything online. So each year the CHE program accepts approximately 70 first-generation students into the program, so now they're doing remote advising via Teams. They're in their peak advising session because first- and second-year students registered for class last week. They offer peer writing support via Zoom. They refer students to the Tutorial Services for continued academic support on different courses and specialty areas of their classes.

Gardiner Tucker (07:26):
The Academic Bridge program, which includes the Denver Scholarship Foundation students, Independent Youth, and the LEAP students are receiving advising via Teams. So Teams is very useful for all of our programs, and the mentoring program is connecting with students remotely as well. Now, their community, they're so used to in-person gathering that everyone misses the in-person contact, so they rely on their weekly virtual staff meetings to connect as best they can, and their saying is, for their department is, "Students are the sole purpose of our work." So great job Shawanna and team for getting that online.

Gardiner Tucker (08:03):
Then I have a final word that I want to show you all. So let's see here. We will go to Bear Connection, which you have seen before. Now, if we come down here, on Bear Connection, to Current Students, and then we go down here to the Office of Student Life, then you see down in the second part it says, "Digital Caricatures," and it gives you a website to go to. So last week we did the digital caricatures for students, so let me take you to that now, so our students were able to get their digital caricatures done. Here's an example with their permission. We're done, and the program is so popular, they're looking at bringing it back again, so stay tuned. You now know how to get to the website to see the caricatures, and these are some of the engaging activities we're doing online for our students. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (09:14):
Thank you, Tuck. Those look great. Really glad that we can continue offering some programming for our students even while we're all scattered about. Next, I'm going to turn to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (09:30):
Thank you, Dan, and I would also like to thank Shawanna for all the good work CHE has done both pre- and post-coronavirus, so it's really good that Tuck acknowledged the really good work that's going on over there. Don't have a lot to report this morning. We continue to monitor summer and fall 2020 enrollment. It started well, but it's tailed off just a little bit, so I think particularly we want to try to identify students who are within two or three classes of finishing and encourage them to enroll for classes in the summer so that they can finish up and be alums of the university.

Mark Anderson (10:17):
A lot of questions over the last week or so about fall, and this came up in Faculty Senate last night, and the short answer is we simply do not know what the fall is going to hold. We are hoping for the best. The best would be to be back face-to-face, teaching classes in a normal environment, but we're planning for all possible contingencies. We won't know, and we're going to be using folks like Blaine and our public health officials to inform us, so we can make the best decision for the safety of our community, but we're planning for all possible contingencies.

Mark Anderson (10:55):
The one thing we want to avoid as much as possible for the fall is making a last-minute decision, so we're looking at really understanding what the progression of the coronavirus is, what the public health officials are telling us, trying to make a decision well in advance so we can move our classes to whatever format we'll be delivering them so that it'll be a great experience for both our faculty as well as our students. So again, I want to thank everybody for all the good work that they're doing, and that's all I have this morning, Dan.

Dan Maxey (11:29):
All right. Thank you, Mark. Next up, I'm going to turn to Marshall Parks, Director of Human Resources, for a report, a very brief report here today on impacts to our employees at UNC. Marshall?

Marshall Parks (11:43):
I just want to take a minute this morning to remind all of our classified staff that today's the first day of the new benefits open enrollment period. Remember this is a positive, open enrollment. We have changed the primary health insurance provider to Cigna, and everyone must go in and enroll or they won't have any health insurance benefits effective 7/1, so today begins that. There's lots of good news in the offerings too. There are additional plans. Almost all the premiums have stayed the same or been reduced. Our team has sent out both electronic and hard copy enrollment materials to facilitate the enrollment while we're working remotely, so please call us at 351-2718 if you have any questions, and let's get in and get started on that today. The period extends for almost a month, but the earlier we get it done the better, and it gives us a chance to find mistakes and correct errors and make sure everyone has what they plan to have to be effective at the beginning of the new fiscal year. That's all I have. Thanks, Dan.

Dan Maxey (12:40):
Great. Thank you Marshall. Before I turn it back over to President Feinstein, I know that a lot of us made it out to the parade at the hospitals last night, and I just pulled up a video that I took last night. The Greeley Hospital's about four doors down from my house. I sat out on the corner and rang a cowbell for a good 45 minutes while cars drove by, and I'm going to try to share my screen here. Can everybody see this here?

Dan Maxey (13:24):
We had a good stream of cars come by Greeley Hospital. I hear there was pretty good turnout over at the Northern Colorado Medical Center hospital on the other side of town as well, and I also had a chance to have a quick selfie with the Feinstein family in the background here as they came by to thank our hospital workers as well. So I'd like to thank everyone who turned out from one of these two parades yesterday. I'm sure there will be more of these as our community finds its way through all of this.

Dan Maxey (13:58):
That's the end of our reports today. I'll turn it back over to President Feinstein.

President Feinstein (14:03):
Thanks, Dan. You looked a little cold out there when I drove by, but I really appreciated you being out there and recognizing all the hard work and dedication of our healthcare professionals in Greeley. It was a very nice thing to do. So with that, I just ask that you stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.