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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 20, Operational Update

April 20, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning everybody. Monday, April 20th, and this is our daily operation status report. As a reminder, tomorrow morning ... Excuse me, tomorrow at four to five o'clock, we're going to have an all faculty meeting. There should be an email to all faculty with access to the Zoom conference line. And then on Wednesday morning, April 22nd, from nine to 11 o'clock we'll have a board of trustees meeting in which we're going to discuss our budget and the financial implications of the coronavirus, and then after the board meeting, Michelle Quinn, our CFO, and I will stay on the line and answer questions from all of you. So I hope that you can join those two calls. More information will be forthcoming in UNC today, and let's get started. I'm going to ask Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, to moderate conversations with the other coronavirus task force leaders. Dan?

Dan Maxey (00:54):
Thank you President Feinstein. Happy Monday everyone. Here we are again. I hope you all had a good and restful weekend and were able to get outdoors a little bit. This is our 28th daily operational status report meeting, but who's counting? Appreciate everyone who continues to tune in for these reports. The cabinet coronavirus task force and the subcommittees will all meet today. As our daily panel gives reports, I ask that you please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. Going to turn first to the chair of our coronavirus task force, associate vice president for administration Blaine Nickeson for our daily developing issues report. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (01:36):
Thanks, Dan. Good morning, everybody. Thought I'd just take a quick moment to recognize that today is a sad anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, and with such uncertainty and trauma that we're all going through right now, it seems like we're not remembering some of these great moments, these terrible moments of our history. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing as well. So just take a moment out of your day to think about folks in those communities that are hurting today. On a positive note, I hope that many of you were able to get some joy from seeing the Air Force Thunderbirds sort of rocket over many of the Front Range's hospitals on Saturday. My family ventured out to a large open space under the flight path. It was actually the first time we've traveled in a car together in over a month.

Blaine Nickeson (02:30):
It was pretty strange. We saw other families doing the same thing, but we were all at a good distance from each other, but it was cool to feel like we were participating in a group activity even while being distanced. Governor Polis held a press conference on Friday afternoon where he announced a few items of notes. The first is that all essential employees that are out there working are ordered to wear masks, not the medical grade N95 or surgical mask, but a homemade cloth mask or bandana is fine. Also, the state's increasing its oversight of nursing homes given the high case counts and fatality rates among those vulnerable individuals.

Blaine Nickeson (03:09):
For state wide data, there's 8,675 confirmed positive cases. That's up about 1,100 since Friday, or 12%. A little, over 1800 have been hospitalized. That's up since Friday about 7%, and a little over 46,000 folks had been tested. That's up 10%. Testing's really stalled out. We're doing the same number of tests each day now that we were doing in late March, and without the ability to ramp up that testing, a relaxing of the stay at home order's going to be extremely difficult.

Blaine Nickeson (03:44):
Colorado's reporting 422 deaths, that's up 48 or 13% since Friday. To give you sort of a point-in-time comparison compared to my report a week ago today, at that time the case counts were up 18%, hospitalizations were up 16%, tests were up 19%, and deaths were up 28%. So in pretty much all of those areas, the percentage increases are down. The only one that isn't good is the test number. There's 111 outbreaks in contained facilities. That's up 18. Contained facilities, again, include nursing homes, factories and jails. Weld County's reporting little over 1,100 cases. That's up 14% since Friday, which is outpacing the state increased rate.

Blaine Nickeson (04:33):
There's 64 deaths in the county, up four, and Weld County has a new data visualization page on the weldgov.com website that has much more data about demographics of cases and location that just launched on Friday. But for interest, the leading zip code in Weld County for cases is 80631 with 388 cases followed by 80634 with 325, and then 80620 with 119, and then it tails off pretty significantly after that. Dan, those are my updates for this morning. I hope everybody enjoys their Monday and enjoys the nice weather it looks like we're going to have.

Dan Maxey (05:12):
Great. Thank you, Blaine. Next I'll turn it over to dean of students Tuck Tucker for a report on impacts on student life. Tuck?

Gardiner Tucker (05:18):
Good morning everyone. Let's see. On this Monday, I wanted to share some good news. Some of our students have financial challenges that have increased since the changes in how we do university education. And so one of our strategies is to help with funding when we can-

President Feinstein (05:36):
Hey Tuck? Oh there you are. 

Gardiner Tucker (05:39):
Sorry about that. -To help with funding when it's feasible. So for example, Parking Services and the Bursar have worked with all of the parking credits, so Geri Landwehr and the Bursar team and Stephanie Kostick and her Parking team have worked together to produce a total of 5,137 parking credits. So they've, out of that 5,000, they've processed 4,065 refunds from parking. 2,011 of those went to direct deposit refunds, and 2,054 are through checks that'll be mailed out today.

Gardiner Tucker (06:17):
So that's exciting news, so you can count on that money coming in soon. Then I wanted to share a story from ... That I think is relevant to what we're going through during this time, even though it happened before this. One time, Marcy, my partner, and I were driving up after a late movie up the highway, and there was a snowstorm happening. So we're driving along, barely staying awake at the time, trying to get back to our house, when we noticed that there was a car that had slid off the road to the side of the highway.

Gardiner Tucker (06:51):
So I pulled over and got out, and there were two people, and it was one of those old huge cars where it looks more like a tank than a car. And I went across the street and I started helping them to push and they said, "Oh, thank you for stopping." And they seemed so grateful. And so we kept pushing but could hardly move it. Well then four or five other cars pulled off, people got out and came over and started to push. And finally we got the tank out of the snow and they were able to get going. So I started to say goodbye and they say, "You have no idea. We were pushing for over 30 minutes, and you're the first person that stopped. And then everyone else came too." And so I think that made me happy that we were willing to reach out.

Gardiner Tucker (07:36):
Sometimes you have to be the first one to reach out and offer help for others to realize that help is needed. So during this time, please keep an eye out for those who are stuck in the metaphoric storm and give a helping hand. So some other people who are giving a helping hand as well are our librarians. So I'd like to share my screen here. So this is the library Twitter feed and I'd like to point out in the corner they have different librarians highlighted. So here we have Darren Ilett who is supporting CHE and world languages, and then we have ... Sorry.

Gardiner Tucker (08:15):
Then we have Jay Trask who does history and archives. So he loves the working with the building blocks of history and his hobbies are comics, space opera, gaming and much more. And finally Wendy's site is up too, Africana studies, anthropology, gender studies, Mexican American studies. So all of these librarians are here to help students who have topics with exams coming and papers due. Please work with the librarians to get that extra help on doing your research or finding content areas to make your papers excellent. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (09:00):
Great. Thank you Tuck. Next I'm going to turn things over to provost Mark Anderson to give his report on the impacts on the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (09:08):
Thank you Dan, and good morning. Blaine reminded me that last Thursday, April 16th was the anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech, tragic time, and one that I remember every year. We've had an uptick in students registering for New Student Orientation. So that's good news for the summer. We're probably going to have to move essentially all of our New Student Orientations to an online environment, so we want to thank Erin and her crew for really working hard to reach out to students to encourage them to sign up for New Student Orientation and for transitioning it into a new environment. Had a lot of questions about the impacts that the coronavirus has had on graduate programs. So I wanted to share my screen, which I'm not that talented at that, so bear with me here. This is the graduates. Can everybody see that?

Mark Anderson (10:17):
Thank you. This is the Graduate School website, and they've moved all of their operations to online. So I've had the privilege of attending a couple of thesis defenses held via Zoom, and programs have really stepped up and given students a great opportunity to defend their thesis and dissertations in a Zoom environment. Here you can see in the Graduate School calendar that they have virtual meetings for comprehensive exams as well as oral exams. They also have an FAQ that answers many of the questions. So dissertations defenses, thesis defenses had been going all online. The forms which need to be filled out are, are being handled by electronic signature. So the operation of the Graduate School is normal. And so the students are doing a great job, faculty are doing a great job continuing to mentor students.

Mark Anderson (11:19):
We also have to acknowledge that graduate students serve a very vital and important teaching role at the university. Like all of our faculty, the graduate students have stepped up to teach their classes in an online environment. And one of the challenges that graduate students are facing, and Tuck mentioned the university library as a resource, is continuing their research projects. Some research projects are a little easier to continue just through university library resources. Others are more difficult to continue because you need access to laboratory environments. Many of our graduate students were identified as essential personnel to keep their research operational because they were working with live animals, and they had to care for the live animals and continue their studies. Others were not so fortunate. And so we've had to readjust how they're engaging with their faculty mentors to continue their research.

Mark Anderson (12:17):
Finally, I want to, talking about research, point out that our faculty continue to engage in research as well. And just over the weekend we were notified of a new award from the NSF to Chelsie Romulo and Steve Anderson. And so the government continues to operate in a research environment, as do we. So want to congratulate Chelsie and Steve on the new NSF award, but also all of our faculty are continuing to do research and develop new projects and continue to seek external funding to support that work. So Dan, that's all I have this morning.

Dan Maxey (12:56):
Thank you, Mark, and I can't let it go unsaid that we love those headphones. Glad to see that you got a good pair for your report.

Mark Anderson (13:07):
My wife asked me to stop sharing the reports with the entire family.

Dan Maxey (13:16):
Well, I can appreciate that. We have no Facilities or Human Resources reports today. I do want to put in a plug for tomorrow's daily operational status update call. We'll be joined by Matt Farber, an assistant professor in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. He's lined up to give a presentation on game-based learning, and we'll have some tips for how people with kids at home can navigate this space and ensure that their children continue to remain engaged and learn while they're there at home rather than in the classroom. So we really look forward to having Matt Farber join us tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who's tuned in live or to the recording. I'll turn the floor back over to President Feinstein.

President Feinstein (14:01):
Thanks Dan. And again, thank you all the presenters today and those that are tuned in and listening to us, and as always, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care everybody.