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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 24, Operational Update

April 24, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Good morning, everybody. Friday, April 24th and this is our daily operation status report. Happy Friday. Happy Hat Day for those of you are wearing hats today, I assume a lot of us on the call will be wearing hats. I have a few announcements before we get started. First of all, tomorrow is the 12th Annual UNC Women's Walk and I'll show you a picture of the website.

President Feinstein (00:28):
So this annual event raises awareness and crucial support for our female student athletes. It's going to be a virtual walk this year, which means that we'll all be walking on our own in our neighborhoods and taking photos and sharing them. And we already have about 220 cyber walkers registered from all across the country, which is a great testament to the continued strength and generosity of our Bear family. So please consider joining us tomorrow and going out on a walk in, in honor of our female student athletes. And if you want to know more about the event, please visit go.unco.edu/womenswalk. And the Feinsteins will be out there. We're part of the Bear Heinie club and we'll be enjoying, hopefully, a nice day and also supporting our female student athletes.

President Feinstein (01:16):
Also this morning, we're happy to have Heather Helm return to us. This is her second presentation on our show and we appreciate her expertise as she continues to help us navigate the psychological pressure and the strain these circumstances have placed on all of us. And if you recall last time, Heather spoke about emotional response to sudden change. Today, Heather will speak with us about the increased relationship tension we may be experiencing and how to manage that tension effectively. As you recall, she is a professor and chair in the Department of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education and also interim Director of the UNC Counseling Center. It's glad to have you back here, Heather.

Heather Helm (02:01):
Thank you. Thank you, Andy. Hello, everyone. I'm happy to be back with all of you again and thanks for having me. So I want to start the morning with a story. It's a story of two people, we'll call them Bert and Ernie. Both working from home and facing the uncertainty of a global pandemic. The story of Bert and Ernie starts with an argument over a garbage can. You see, Bert and Ernie have a fancy, hands-free, foot-free motion sensor garbage can. Unfortunately, the only place that makes sense for the garbage can to be in their kitchen, is where you pass to enter into the kitchen, thus causing the lid to open every time someone walks in there, which as you can imagine, happens frequently since they're home all day.

Heather Helm (02:45):
So this garbage can, while seemingly a neutral object in any home, is the source of some tension between Bert and Ernie. So Bert hates that the garbage can runs out of batteries quickly because it opens and closes so much and therefore opens the entire lid, exposing the trash so that it remains open during busy times in the kitchen, pretty much all, day as a solution to the battery problem. Ernie, however, does not see having to frequently change batteries as a big deal, but sees leaving the lid to the trashcan open annoying and unnecessary, not to mention slightly unsanitary. And in response to seeing it, open pushes it shut to which Bert responds by lifting it open again.

Heather Helm (03:30):
Well, while this was a very minor irritation in their daily routine, one evening when everything seemed calm, no obvious tension, suddenly the garbage can became a significant issue and the source of an argument and subsequent tension. After giving one another some space and agreeing to talk about the argument, Bert and Ernie started talking about the garbage can, but it became clear that it was a symbol of a different struggle. As Bert put it, "This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the garbage can, does it?"

Heather Helm (04:02):
You see both Bert and Ernie we're worried, stressed about work changes in demands, feeling out of control over their aspects in their lives and unconsciously trying to control things, anything they could. In this case, the garbage can lid. Additionally, they each had different responses to these stresses, creating a miss in understanding each other that resulted in an argument. Not to mention Bert and Ernie, like most of us, spend much more time internally with their feelings and reactions than they do expressing them.

Heather Helm (04:33):
So things like garbage can lids or how much toilet paper they should have in the house or whether they should wipe down the groceries before putting them away or how far distance is socially anyway? And others that minor differences may turn into arguments or full out fights.

Heather Helm (04:52):
So what can we do? Conflict is obviously inevitable in relationships. We all have expectations, needs, reactions and stressors that can create tension in relationship.

Heather Helm (05:03):
For example, when there's a gap between what we expect from the other person and what we're getting from them. When we have needs that we expect to be known but are not being met or when we're responding to stressors outside of the relationship that spill into it and create tension.

Heather Helm (05:20):
Now that we're staying home, things that might have been minor or even looked past before become sources of tension or fights in the relationship or things that were always a source of tension. Become even more significant and hurtful because our primary source of human contact right now is a small group of people, perhaps even just one other person in our home, creating higher expectation, need, and intensified reactions.

Heather Helm (05:52):
An additional factor that isn't new to self quarantine and working from home but is certainly exacerbated by it, because information can be confusing or contradictory and fear and concern high at this time, is the feedback versus criticism dynamic. We are often trying to get the other person to care about or respond similarly to or have the same needs we're having so that we feel both in control and like our responses are acceptable and there we're not being paranoid or overly-cautious. So little statements masked as feedback or innocent questions can feel like criticism.

Heather Helm (06:29):
Why are you wearing your mask right now? No one's around. Why don't you go outside? It's nice. Why are you so paranoid? You're healthy. Though perhaps not meant as criticism, they can have the impact of being just that. And our [inaudible 00:06:42] of underlying fears, differences and responses to the situation and variation and need.

Heather Helm (06:49):
So we need to be listening during this time. We want to be advising, but we can't advise without first listening. We need to tap into our compassion and understanding with those we're living with, give them space to have their own reactions and [inaudible 00:07:05]. This includes our children. What are we really fighting about is the question, whenever we have an interpersonal conflict, that we should always be asking ourselves. And the only way to figure that out is to actually listen to one another.

Heather Helm (07:22):
So how do we do this? This is a skill that many of us are woefully poor at doing. We are often talking more than we're listening, waiting to respond, engaging in conversation with the intent of holding on to what we already believe rather than with the intent of learning something. So listen ... Listening, excuse me, telling you all to listen. Each of us have been given pointers about how to look like your listening. Make eye contact, nod, lean forward. These are all great things. And as I heard someone say recently, if you have to focus on how to look like you're listening, you may not actually be listening.

Heather Helm (08:02):
And listening is the cornerstone of a healing conversation. So some of the elements, though this is certainly not exhaustive of an effective conversation are. So the first one, avoid mind reading. Mind reading assumes you know the other person better than they know themselves. Open yourself up to learning something about them and let them tell you.

Heather Helm (08:25):
Number two, stop interrupting. If you're each providing time to listen to one another, your point will be made. But when you're actually listening, making your point often becomes less relevant. Similar, don't pontificate. A conversation is a chance to learn and grow, enter the conversation with this in mind.

Heather Helm (08:46):
Number three, avoid destructive non-verbals. You know the ones; crossed arms, eye rolls, audible sighs, could go on.

Heather Helm (08:56):
Four, don't multitask. Be in the moment. If you want out of the conversation, get out of it, but don't be half-in. Walk away and reschedule, if you can do this. Be curious. Seek understanding. Use open-ended question instead of closed-ended questions, closed-ended questions assume that you already know the answer. Are you feeling angry? Rather ask questions like, what was that like? Or I'm curious how that felt.

Heather Helm (09:30):
Slow down. Listen to understand. Your defenses will come up while you're listening. Try to let them go and stay open.

Heather Helm (09:40):
Number seven, go into the conversation with empathy. This is difficult when we're hurt or angry, but approach the conversation with the assumption that there is more to the dynamic than what appears on the surface. Like the garbage can lid. And with the assumption that the other person is likely doing the best that they can.

Heather Helm (10:00):
Eight, try to stay out of the weeds. Like how many times the lid was left open? Who said what when? Who walked away first? Who raised their voice first? Et cetera. It is the details that drive disagreement and disconnection. Stay away from them. They are often irrelevant in an argument.

Heather Helm (10:19):
Nine, finally in full circle, really listen. We'd all rather talk. When we're talking, we're in control and we talk much slower than we're capable of listening. The average person says about 225 words per minute, but we can listen to up to 500 words per minute, so when we're listening, we're often impatient and filling in information, forming responses, et cetera. Avoiding this and really listening can be exhausting and time consuming, but crucial to really understanding each other and the dynamics of the relationship. Truly listening and engaging in healthy conversation is not the only answer to every struggle in a relationship. However, I do know that trying to do even one of the things I noted when searching for connection, peace or a decrease in tension in a relationship will go a long way.

Heather Helm (11:14):
Finally, I'll ask all of you to fill in this sentence now and then other times maybe when you're feeling unsettled, I really need to hear blank from blank right now. Just think about that. So I really need to hear this from this person right now. So I'd be remiss not to mention that for some who are listening now or will listen to the recording, learning to listen or have a tough conversation may be irrelevant to their situation.

Heather Helm (11:42):
So if you're unsafe in your home, there are resources available to you and I encourage you to reach out to our ASAP office on campus. The number is 970-351-1490 or by emailing advocacy@unco.edu or to the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Thank you. I appreciate you all for listening.

President Feinstein (12:07):
Thanks, Heather. I appreciate you being on the show again and providing some insight. I wonder about Bert and Ernie and how they actually settled that argument, that's what I was thinking about.

Heather Helm (12:16):
[crosstalk 00:12:15].

President Feinstein (12:19):
Yes. So have a wonderful day. Thank you.

Heather Helm (12:21):
Thank you.

President Feinstein (12:23):
Now I'm going to turn it over to Dan Maxey, our Chief of Staff, who's going to moderate conversations with our coronavirus task forces. Dan.

Dan Maxey (12:36):
Thank you, president Feinstein and TIF, everyone. I promised a dusty old hat. I think this one was probably found in some corner of campus. I think these were popular in the 90s so it's got the old logo on it and-

President Feinstein (12:55):
It does. Impressive.

Dan Maxey (12:56):
Really cool over here. So the Cabinet and Coronavirus Taskforce both meet today and I anticipate both have a number of large issues to weigh as we continue to navigate changing circumstances here in Colorado. As our daily panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. First up today is the Chair of our Coronavirus Taskforce, Associate Vice President for Administration, Blaine Nickeson, for Developing Daily Issues Report. Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (13:28):
Thanks, Dan. And good morning, everybody. Happy Friday. For my Friday Hat Day, I'm wearing a hat that reminds me of better times. This hat's from Aruba, one of my favorite places on this big planet and it's from the beer that they make in a Aruba called Balashi.

Blaine Nickeson (13:45):
For those of you that dig science, just a few miles from my house here in Brighton at the Adams County fairgrounds, the federal government has deployed a Battelle critical care decontamination system that can disinfect N95 masks that have already been used. This remarkable machine is about the size of a semi-trailer, but it can decontaminate 80,000 yes, eight zero thousand masks per day. And each N95 mask can be put through this process and reused 20 times. Think about the big increase in the PPE supply through being able to reuse them. UNC, through our health center and our environmental health and safety folks, we plan to take advantage of this service and I know that all of our hospital and public health partners will as well.

Blaine Nickeson (14:32):
You'll see a jump in the total number of deaths that I'm reporting today and that's because the state has changed some of the way that they account for people who may have passed away from probable cases in the past when testing was harder to come by. And so they're essentially reconciling those working with the coroners around the state. Weld County has issued its own guidance in conflict with that from the state. They're calling it safer at work rather than the state's safer at home guidance. It's not clear they have the legal authority to do this as counties and municipalities can enact restrictions that are more strict than the governor's order, but not less strict. So for example, Denver and the other Metro area cities are expected to announce this morning that they're going to continue a state home order through at least May 8th, so we'll see what develops there.

Blaine Nickeson (15:24):
For statewide data, there are 11,262 confirmed positive cases. That's up about 400, the same as yesterday's report. Current number of people hospitalized at 873, that's up a few since yesterday. Just over 52,000 folks tested shy of 1,700 new tests and Colorado is currently reporting 552 deaths. Weld County reported 1,339 cases. That's up 79 are about 6% since yesterday. That's the biggest single day jump in Weld County in quite a while. Deaths are up to 82, up from 69 yesterday. But as I mentioned earlier, the number of deaths in some cases being revised upward based on reviewing prior deaths.

Blaine Nickeson (16:14):
And regarding information earlier about the conflict in public health orders, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that Weld County still has the third highest rate for positive cases and deaths in the state. So it's important that we all take our safety very seriously and continue to stay at home as much as you can and when you do have to go out, where a mask. So I'm going to turn it back over to you, Dan, and try not to laugh at your hat.

Dan Maxey (16:39):
Thanks, Blaine. This hat is so cool that Jayne Blodgett from the libraries has asked if we can archive it.

President Feinstein (16:45):
She may have meant to archive you, Dan. I'm not sure.

Dan Maxey (16:55):
I come with the hat. So next, I'll turn it over to Dean of Students, Tuck Tucker for our morning report on impacts of student life, Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (17:04):
Thank you. Blaine, you did a great job of not laughing at Dan's hat. Very well done. And thank you to Heather. I know that I've also been trained in listening and often I catch myself or others catch me not listening. So it definitely takes practice and it's important to remember under these conditions that we should put more emphasis on listening to one another. So thank you, Heather.

Gardiner Tucker (17:26):
So the first report, happy Hat Day on Friday, everybody. One of the student impacts that we have is the extra support that students need through the end of semester finals. So what many of our areas are doing is putting on study sessions for our students. So today's example is Demarcus Garvey who's tweeting out a lot of these different study opportunities. And so on Thursdays, you can find the virtual study tables happening 5:30 to 7:30 and they are tweeting out the code and all the cultural centers are working together to put on these study tables. So that's an important resource to have during this time.

Gardiner Tucker (18:13):
And then the next thing I'd like to share for our Friday Spirit Day experience is our Student Senate because they're trying to keep up their ... Let's see, they're trying to keep up the spirit of the times. So I'm still getting my audio here. Sorry. Here we go. I'd like to play this for you.

Speaker 6 (18:43):
On down the field we go to victory.

Speaker 7 (18:45):
On down the field we go to victory.

Speaker 9 (18:46):
The colors navy, blue and gold.

Speaker 10 (18:49):
And to our fighting team we hold our spirit high.

Speaker 11 (18:52):
The mighty Bears are we.

Speaker 9 (18:54):
Go Bears!

Speaker 12 (18:55):
Go Bears!

Speaker 13 (18:57):
Fight, fight to win each battle fairly.

Speaker 11 (19:00):
The only way we e'er shall be.

Speaker 14 (19:04):
We shout out the name-

Speaker 15 (19:06):
-to keep the same fame and glory to old UNC.

Speaker 16 (19:09):
Go Bears!

Speaker 17 (19:10):
Go Bears!

Speaker 13 (19:10):
Go Bears!

Speaker 18 (19:11):
Go Bears!

Speaker 19 (19:13):
Go Bears!

Speaker 13 (19:15):
Go Bears.

Gardiner Tucker (19:25):
So hopefully that lifts your spirits today. [inaudible 00:19:33]

Dan Maxey (19:32):
Tuck, you were breaking up there a little bit at the end. I think that you were turning it back over to us. So, I have to question, Tuck, whether you can hear as well and listen as well without those sweet headphones. I hope you bring them back soon.

Dan Maxey (19:45):
Next I'm going to turn things over to provost Mark Anderson for his daily report on impacts to our economic mission. Mark.

Mark Anderson (19:53):
Thank you, Dan. And good morning, everybody. I'd also like to thank Heather for a really super presentation. As Dan revealed his hat ... I've been watching the ESPN documentary about the Chicago bowls, the last dance and Dan really revealed his hat, I could only think of two things. One, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Jordan. So congratulations, Dan.

Mark Anderson (20:22):
We've had a lot of people, as we're gearing up for summer classes online and gearing up to prepare for the fall with the expectation and really planning for classes to be online in the fall. We haven't made that determination yet, but it's for planning purposes, I think we need to be there. You like my shirt, Dan, good for you.

Mark Anderson (20:46):
And we have ... [inaudible 00:20:50] has provided a lot of great resources to faculty. IDD has provided a lot of good resources to faculty. Another resource which I think we should all take advantage of is LinkedIn Learning and you can access LinkedIn Learning through the Ursa Portal and there's a lot of really good resources in LinkedIn Learning about teaching online, assessing students online, but also learning online. And so I'd encourage everybody to utilize that resource, particularly over the summer as we are preparing courses for the fall so that we can really ensure that the students have a great robust learning experience moving into the summer and fall.

Mark Anderson (21:33):
As I mentioned yesterday, the library is having opportunities to return laptops beginning May the fourth and continuing through finals, but then through the week after finals so students can maintain the laptops that we've loaned out to them, but we can collect them and redistribute to other students over the summer who may need that.

Mark Anderson (21:54):
Extended campus has been working with the local economic development arm for Greeley and Weld County. Really looking for opportunities to support our local businesses through educational opportunities to understand how the impact of the public health crisis can be mitigated and how we can safely transition from a stay at home to a more open economy.

Mark Anderson (22:25):
And then finally, Governor Polis, a couple of weeks ago provided an executive order that allowed nursing students to graduate this spring by allowing students to complete their clinical portion through simulation. And our nursing program has been very active in that. The executive order was for limited time and so our nursing program continues to be active in this state to advocate for an extension of that executive order so that students who need clinical over the summer and moving into the fall as we're preparing for whatever the coronavirus allows us in our instruction so that we will be able to meet the needs of students in a clinical setting.

Mark Anderson (23:06):
And I would just like to shout out to Kay Hommel or [Fey Hommel 00:23:09] the nursing folks for really advocating for our students locally, but also statewide. So that's all I have for today. Sam.

Dan Maxey (23:24):
Thank you, [inaudible 00:23:25]. I'm glad to be in good company [inaudible 00:23:27] being compared to this morning, and I love those bold, blue and gold stripes this morning, Mark. We have no facilities or human resources reports today, so I will turn it back over to President Feinstein.

President Feinstein (23:42):
Thanks Dan, and thanks Heather again for your presentation. Thank you all for being on the call and for all of our ... Everyone that's watching this show. So stay safe, be healthy.

President Feinstein (23:53):
We'll see you here on Monday morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.