Jump to main content

COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 27, Operational Update

April 27, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning, everybody. Monday, April the 27th, and this is our daily operation status report. I hope all of you had a nice weekend. I certainly did. Thanks to Stan Luger, our chair of the Faculty Senate. He was able to teach me how to make sourdough bread. Are you on the call, Stan? Maybe he's not, but I'll show you his handiwork over the phone, if you can see that. But this was fresh out of the oven this morning. I made one on Saturday morning that looked more like a cracker. But I think every day is a step in the right direction of making bread. So, that was my coronavirus quarantine project for the weekend. So, with that, I'm going to hand the conversation over to Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, to moderate conversations from the other coronavirus chair task forces. Dan.

Dan Maxey (01:03):
Nicely done, Andy. It's Monday, and I only know that because we're on the other less-nice side of the weekend. But I'm glad to be back with all of you here this morning. The Cabinet and Coronavirus Task Force both meet today and have a number of issues affecting our campus to discuss today. As our panel gives it's daily reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras or turn them off. First up to the plate, the chair of our Coronavirus Task Force, associate vice president for administration, Blaine Nickeson, for our daily developing issues report. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (01:40):
Good morning, everybody. And, Andy, that bread looks awesome. It's funny that everybody has become a baker all of a sudden, which is why you can't get flour, I guess. But good for you for giving it a try.

President Feinstein (01:50):
Actually, I could not find bread flour in Greeley. I actually had to go to Costco to find it. So, now I'm the proud owner of a commercial-size 25 pound bag of flour. We'll see how long that lasts me.

Blaine Nickeson (02:03):
You'll be glad you have it. Yeah. So, today is the first day of the new safer at home order from the governor. Outside of Metro Denver, this means that retail shops can open for curbside service and then eventually, a week from now, be able to have some limited in-person service. And some surgeries and dental appointments can resume, among a number of other things. Many Denver-area cities and counties have extended the stay at home order through at least May, including for me, I live in Adams County. For Coloradans older than 65 or those with underlying health conditions, the stay at home order continues. As the governor said in a meeting I attended on Saturday, for those folks, your May looks exactly like your April. If you're wondering how this new safer at home order impacts you as a UNC employee, the guidance we've gotten so far from the state personnel director is that, "If you are working from home, you'll continue to do so. If you're an employee who still reports to a work site, continue to maximize social distancing and wear appropriate face coverings."

Blaine Nickeson (03:08):
As I reported on Friday, Weld County is defying the governor's executive order and has issued guidance titled safer at work, suggesting that all businesses can reopen. Yesterday all the healthcare system and hospital leaders in Weld County actually sent a letter to the county commissioners expressing concern about their plan. To quote from that letter, "Opening too soon or without a staged plan will negate the community, individuals' and businesses' hard sacrifices to date and lead to widespread severe illness that our healthcare system cannot handle."

Blaine Nickeson (03:41):
In that meeting that I attended on Saturday that I mentioned, the governor addressed the situation with Weld County without identifying them by name. He said that local governments who refuse to comply with executive orders for safer at home guidance are breaking the law. And that businesses that open counter to that guidance will be sent cease and desist letters and could have their business licenses revoked from the state. He also said that local governments will lose their state grant funding. So, unfortunately, a bit of a standoff here.

Blaine Nickeson (04:14):
Of note, the City of Greeley has affirmed their support for the governor's safer home guidance. And they've actually announced that all city facilities will be closed through June 2nd. So, I assume that would include City Hall, recreation centers, things like that. For statewide data, there's 13,441 positive cases. That's up about 2,200 cases or 19% since my report on Friday. The current number of folks hospitalized for COVID-19 is 812. That's down just a tiny bit since Friday. A little bit over 63,000 tested. That's up over 10,000 or 21% since Friday. So, I'm really glad to see testing numbers at that level. I hope we can continue to see that sustained growth. Colorado is currently reporting 680 deaths, up from 552. If you'll recall from my report on Friday, Colorado is working through a backlog of death certificates and autopsies from prior deaths which is adding to those numbers as they find probable or identified cases.

Blaine Nickeson (05:17):
Here in Weld County, 1,527 positive cases. That's up about 200 or 14% since Friday. Deaths are at 80, which is two less than what I reported on Friday. Obviously, that doesn't make sense. But, on Friday, again they posted a number of fatalities that they believed were tied to prior deaths. And they must've had a data error in there. 80631 continues to be the leading zip code for case counts in Weld County. And again, there's pretty informative data tracking available on the Weld County website. So, Dan, I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you. Happy Monday, everybody.

Dan Maxey (05:58):
Thanks, Blaine. Next, I'll turn it over to Dean of Students Tuck Tucker for our morning report on impacts on student life. Tuck?

Gardiner Tucker (06:05):
Good morning, everyone. One of the student impacts that we have is the momentum to graduation is happening for all of our students, those in smaller communities and across campus. One of the strategies is to make sure we're providing support all the way through the end of the semester. And our example today is the Reisher Family Scholars Program. Sherri Frye, who is in charge of that program, and her team check in via video chat with all 60 Reisher Scholars one-to-one. They create a Canvas engagement process for students to continue to enjoy their lives outside of school.

Gardiner Tucker (06:42):
So, let me just show you an example of one of the programs that they are doing, which is Reisher Bingo. As you can see, there are several very interesting things here. And this is where you circle, you put in the initials of someone who this is true for. So, in the lower left we see, forgot about a meeting with Sherri, who is the director, which I like. And then, one I really like is the Weld Food Bank was your community service hours. So, we're continuing to add vitality to student life inside and outside of the classroom.

Gardiner Tucker (07:16):
And then, the next thing that they've been doing is they've been broadcasting self-care strategies for students, online learning strategies, virtual study hours, and they've extended their community engagement on Canvas through the end of finals week so that students can stay connected. Because as finals approach, students often get more isolated. And we need to continue to help them engage with other students.

Gardiner Tucker (07:42):
To enter the Reisher Scholar, you must be a Colorado resident, must be going into your second year at UNC, or be a transfer student from a Colorado community college, need a 3.0, have financial need. And next year, the deadline is March 1st. So, please keep that in mind.

Gardiner Tucker (07:58):
The next student impact is ongoing housing needs for students and to continue to provide housing and support throughout the end of the semester. To talk to us about that is Jenna Finley. Jenna, are you on the line?

Jenna Finley (08:12):
I am on the line. Good morning. That bread looks incredible, Andy. I have not tried to make an actual loaf of bread yet. My son intends to make sourdough pretzels this afternoon. In terms of housing, we had about 45 people move out over the weekend. We intend to see about that average number and that the weekends are the most popular time to move out. That brings us to about 1,509 students that have departed. We have roughly a little over 400 students who are on campus, most of them being in Arlington Park.

Jenna Finley (08:51):
Dining is continuing to feed students. And they also, as you know, Dining Services is one of the largest employers of students on campus. And they've been doing a wonderful job outreaching to their student employees who are at home, those who work both in the dining halls as well as retail and that do catering for us. And what we see each week is that students are hitting that wall of struggle a little bit. I think my favorite quote from Friday was, it felt like it was Groundhog's Day to them. I think that's important to remember that they're starting to feel the reality of missing out the normal end of the semester and when they normally have their biggest peak of stress before finals.

Jenna Finley (09:48):
So, reach out and support. I know the student employees have really appreciated the support that they have received from their supervisors and managers in Dining. And I appreciate their commitment to that outreach.

Jenna Finley (10:05):
We also are starting to get contracts for summer. So far, we have nine students indicating they need summer school housing. We also are starting to get questions about students who need housing for a short amount of time, such as the month of May, while they're waiting for their off-campus lease to start. And we do accommodate both types of summer housing. Just know that those summer school applications typically do come in at the last minute. So, we do anticipate to have a few more than nine living with us this summer.

Jenna Finley (10:43):
Arlington Park typically will see about 250 to 300 students who stay for summer. Now, we are also starting to hear from students who used to pay for their summer housing with summer employment. And a lot of those students are struggling with finding jobs or had lost their on campus job for summer. So, we anticipate having to work with quite a few students who have financial need around housing for the summer. I think that's all I have. Thank you.

Gardiner Tucker (11:17):
Thank you, Jenna. And I think it's important to remember to thank you, your team in Housing and Residential Education, and in Dining because, as we focus on wrapping up the semester in classes, it's the food, the housing, the support that allows students to stay focused on their own success. So, thank you very much. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (11:38):
Thank you, Tuck and Jenna. Next, I'll turn things over to Provost Mark Anderson for his morning report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (11:47):
Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Just a few things this morning. Just to reiterate what Tuck said, this is the last week of classes. And then, next week we have finals. We hope that people will follow the finals schedule that was originally posted. We recognize that some people are doing alternate types of assessments at the end of the spring semester, but those who are giving final exams, to be kind to the students, we want everybody to maintain the final exam schedule.

Mark Anderson (12:25):
We sent a letter out to the academic community over the weekend just really reiterating that we need to plan for the fall to at least start online. And I've got a lot of feedback from that. So, thank you for that.

Mark Anderson (12:41):
And then, finally, to follow up on what Blaine was talking about, the governor did provide a news conference over the weekend. And he opened the possibility of limited face-to-face courses being taught in higher education. There'll be additional guidance provided by the Department of Higher Education. And I'll be attending tomorrow an academic council meeting where hopefully we'll get some additional guidance on what we need to do to go about teaching some limited number of face-to-face classes. So, that window has been opened. We'll see where that leads. And that's all I have for this morning, Dan.

Dan Maxey (13:27):
Great. Thank you, Mark. We have no Facilities or Human Resources reports today, but before I turn it over to President Feinstein, I do want to say that I didn't bake a sourdough loaf, but I did make a few dozen chocolate chip cookies over the weekend. So, there's that. Remember, we'll be back here tomorrow at nine o'clock. I'll turn things back over to Andy.

President Feinstein (13:50):
Thanks, Dan. Yeah. I guess we're all becoming bakers now. So, I'm going to be trying a little bit more, I think, sourdough bread next week and to see if I can improve on the first round of recipes. Thanks very much for everybody presenting. Thanks all for watching. And, as always, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 A.M. Take care, everybody.