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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 29, Operational Update

April 29, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:01):
Well, good morning, everybody, Wednesday, April the 29th. This is our daily operation status report, and I have a few updates for you. There's only a few days left of the spring semester, a couple of days of classes and finals next week. I know our students are working very hard and completing their semester, and I applaud them for their efforts. Also, we're finalizing a model to distribute CARES Act funding to students, and been in discussions with state and federal agencies and working with our team on creating and finalizing a plan to distribute those funds by next week. It might take us some time to get all the funds in the hands of students, but we plan to do that as expeditiously as possible. And we'll have more information once that plan is finalized soon.

President Feinstein (00:46):
We're also going to be issuing a timeline for our plans for making a decision about fall instruction very shortly. Our hope is that we can make a decision by June 1st and share that with the campus. And certainly as this is still a fluid situation, there may need to be some adjustments, but I believe we'll be in good shape on June 1st to make a decision on what we'll be doing in the fall, whether it will be online instruction or some modified form of in-person instruction, which is what I hope. Also, the Colorado Department of Higher Education has issued new guidelines for in-person instruction regarding teaching courses that are not conducive for online instruction. And I'll be at a webinar today with other CEOs from across the state to learn more about these guidelines. And hopefully they'll shed some light on what our plans can be over the summer and into the fall for teaching classes that may be in an art studio or a laboratory that might provide us some flexibility to do that in an in-person format. So that's what I have for right now. I'm now going to turn over the conversation to Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, to moderate conversations from our coronavirus task force leads. Dan.

Dan Maxey (02:00):
Thank you, President Feinstein, and I only know what day it is because you start your report out with it, so it's Wednesday. Good to be back with all of you here this morning. I know that since the beginning of this, the days have all blurred together. The cabinet and coronavirus task force will both meet today, and as the president indicated, we have a number of issues that we're working through, including a timeline for decisions about fall and CARES Act funding for students. As our daily panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. So first up today, as most days, is the chair of our coronavirus task force, associate vice president for administration, Blaine Nickeson, for our daily developing issues report. Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (02:43):
Good morning, Dan and Andy. Andy, you sort of stole my thunder there talking about the webinar this morning with higher education leaders. I was going to report on that as well. But we'll be participating and hoping to get some guidance about if there's a path forward for some limited in-person or on-campus type of presence. But we don't expect there to be significant changes in the way that UNC's currently responding to the pandemic during the safer at home model. The state has started to issue cease and desist letters to businesses in Weld County who are defying the executive order limitations and instead following Weld County safer at work guidance. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. And honestly, the place where we're most likely to see any impacts are going to be keeping an eye on our local case counts and hospitalizations. Cease and desist order only really works if you can take somebody to court, and the courts aren't open right now. So for the most part, that's going to be a challenge.

Blaine Nickeson (03:43):
For statewide data, there's 14,316 confirmed positive cases. That's up about 400 since yesterday, or 3%. That's the same growth rate that I reported yesterday. The current number of hospitalizations is 784. It's basically flat since yesterday. A little over 67,000 folks tested. That really fell off a cliff. It's only up about 700 tests. And that's disappointing because recent days that we've been reporting as high as 3,000 new tests. And that would be the lowest number of new tests since March 18th. And I honestly think it has to be a data issue because I know of at least three large-scale drive-in testing sites that are operating right now. And that seems to be an aberration, so we'll keep an eye on that.

Blaine Nickeson (04:32):
Colorado is currently reporting 736 deaths. That's up 30 since yesterday. Weld County, just shy of 1,700 positive cases. That's up about 5%. Deaths have climbed to 90, which is an increase of two. Yesterday, the President signed an executive order putting meat processing plants under the Defense Production Act, which designates them as essential infrastructure, and they're required to remain open. This will have impacts locally, as JBS employs over 6,000 folks here. And it's also been a hotspot for the virus to spread. Local public health officials will likely be unable to regulate the plant through things like ordering shutdowns that we saw before if the spread accelerates. We'll see what kind of impact this has on the spread of the virus, both in Greeley and Weld County. And a similar situation will be taking place out east of us in Fort Morgan, where they have some large meat processing plants as well. So those are my situational updates for today. Dan, I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you.

Dan Maxey (05:38):
Thank you, Blaine, and just to remind you that Friday is Hat Day, but we'll forgive Wednesday Hat Days too. Next-

Blaine Nickeson (05:45):
If Tuesday could be Barber Day, then Wednesday would be No-Hat Day.

Dan Maxey (05:50):
I'd loan you my clippers, just disinfect them [crosstalk 00:05:53].

President Feinstein (05:52):
I certainly need a haircut, too, so I'm looking forward to getting my hair cut very soon.

Dan Maxey (05:57):
I'll turn it over next to dean of students, Tuck Tucker, for our report on the impacts to student life. Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (06:03):
Thank you, Dan. Good morning, Bear country. So as Dan mentioned, it is not Hat Day, but it is Denim Day. So I found a denim hat, Broncos, to wear, and I also have denim jeans on. So wanted to do a quick... Oh nice. Wanted to do a quick followup story. Yesterday I mentioned that post-graduation students who have graduated can utilize the Center for Career Readiness for three years. In addition, after three years, the Alumni Relations Office can work with you and the Alumni Association on your careers as well. So it never ends, your whole life you are connected to UNC and can get career assistance. And the Alumni Relations and Alumni Association can help you with your career now. So feel free to contact them and reach out for those needs, too, so we have a longterm plan for you and for your careers.

Gardiner Tucker (06:54):
One of the student impacts is staying in tune with what's happening on UNC social media. And we have several events happening. So I'd like to share that with you now. First, we have Denim Day, which is today. It's an internationally recognized day. And denim is worn to support survivors of sexual assault, sexual violence, because it's in defiance of an overturned rape conviction ruling in the Italian Supreme Court, because the justice felt the victim was wearing very tight jeans and that justified the assault, which we all know is not true.

Gardiner Tucker (07:33):
Then the second one that I want to share with you is an event happening today. It's an interview with Ed McCaffrey, our new football coach, with ESPN reporter Ed Werder, who is alumni. And that will be today at noon mountain time. So feel free to jump on that and join us for that interview.

Gardiner Tucker (07:53):
And then finally, the last thing I want to share is that the César Chávez and the other cultural centers are, in collaboration with cultural services, putting on an event to celebrate the graduation of LatinX students. And you can find that on Instagram, and it's Friday, May 8th at 5:00 PM. So feel free to tune in and celebrate along with us. So all the cultural centers are involved in that.

Gardiner Tucker (08:23):
And then finally, our vice president of Student Affairs, Dr. Katrina Rodriguez, had some words she'd like to share with us today. So Katrina, the floor is yours.

Katrina Rodriguez (08:36):
Good morning, everybody. So great to be here with you this morning. I want to share a couple of tidbits from the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. This book is by Daniel Pink, and I'll give a shout out to Renee Welch, our director of Center for Career Readiness. She reads a lot of Daniel Pink and he's got some really interesting books that are based on... He uses a lot of research and literature to talk about his topics. So this one's about time, because all of us feel like we have so much of it, and we're able to get everything done in the amount of time we said, right? So his whole notion is how do we unearth this science of timing and thinking about how the timing and time of things really impacts our lives? And we think about it, but not maybe in a scientific way.

Katrina Rodriguez (09:24):
So he talks about how each of us have a prototype or a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influence both our physiology and our psychology, so sort of the base of his book. He starts by talking about a Danish study of school children, and studying them that in their standardized tests, if they took the exams in the morning, they did better than those who took tests in the afternoon. Now, of course he goes on to talk about this, also why teens and maybe our college-age students, how their rhythms change so much and why additional sleep or sleep during the day and then wanting to be up a lot of the night is also based on these sort of prototypes and how they shift as we get older.

Katrina Rodriguez (10:08):
So a couple of things I want to talk about, so two topics, lunch breaks and naps. Anybody have a problem with that? [crosstalk 00:10:16].

Gardiner Tucker (10:16):
Sounds good to me.

Katrina Rodriguez (10:17):
Right? So lunch breaks, and a study in 2016 of 800 workers from I think 11 different companies, tech education, media areas, they studied folks who ate lunch at their desk and others who did not. The non-desk lunchers handled better workplace stress and also had less exhaustion for the rest of the day. And those who did not eat lunch at their desk as a regular habit also had better stress reduction and less exhaustion over time. So really that notion of getting away from the desk at lunchtime. There's really two factors there. For high performance, a person has to have autonomy over their lunch break, meaning that when they go, how they go, where they take lunch, that's a really critical aspect. Along with that is the notion of detachment, that you have to be able to psychologically and physically be able to move away from that workspace. And even staying connected on social media can intensify fatigue. So being detached from that workspace and also having some autonomy about the how and when really matters.

Katrina Rodriguez (11:36):
So he suggests that longer lunch breaks and lunch away are better for productivity, and we have happier personnel. And so it's perhaps a little bit... It might fly in the face of well longer break time means that there's less productivity. But when the person comes back and is more highly productive, that time really balances out versus I'm eating lunch at my desk, and I'm tired and then I might be not as highly motivated after lunchtime, which we all know, right? That afternoon slump.

Katrina Rodriguez (12:10):
The other thing is nap time, and that naps really have two key benefits during the day, if you nap during the day. It improves our cognitive performance, and it also boosts our mental and physical health. So for those hockey fans out there, the Big Zamboni, naps are like a Zamboni for our brains. They smooth out the nicks and scuffs and scratches a typical day leaves on our mental ice, according to Pink. And so the ideal nap time is 10 to 20 minutes during the day. If you take a longer nap than that, it really can cause adverse effects in terms of our productivity. It has to do with the sleep patterns and brainwaves and that. So I'll let you read the book for more detail on that. So during a regular, say, workday, to take a 10 to 20 minute nap would really do wonders for us. And so I think the notion of the warrior sitting at, I'm going to own myself, sitting at my desk, I've got to get stuff done, I have an hour of unscheduled time, let me eat and do things, is less productive. And so the notion of getting away and taking that nap, that's about enhancing our own power and productivity and feeling better overall.

Katrina Rodriguez (13:27):
So those are just a couple of pieces from Pink. I want to share one last quote from him that I found really powerful, and this is something Andy does so well. Email response time is the single best predictor of whether employees are satisfied with their boss, according to a Columbia study, he's a researcher for Microsoft. The longer it takes for a boss to respond to their emails, the less satisfied people are with their leader. And that's one piece of it, but I know that some of us are really tremendous that even just, "Hey, thanks for the email, got it." Some of us want to think a little bit more before responding. And so I don't know what the balance is there, but I thought that was an interesting piece from the book When. So, turn it back over to you, Tuck. If anybody wants to have a book club on this, I will be happy to be a part of that. I think he's got some interesting things to talk over.

President Feinstein (14:26):
Katrina, two of my favorite subjects, lunch and naps.

Katrina Rodriguez (14:29):
See? I thought it would be appropriate.

Gardiner Tucker (14:29):
It's time to practice.

Katrina Rodriguez (14:36):
So take a nap this afternoon.

Gardiner Tucker (14:38):
Exactly. You have to practice what you preach.

Katrina Rodriguez (14:41):
Well, that's the truth there.

Gardiner Tucker (14:45):
Yeah. Thank you, Katrina. Because we often get so into our work, and now the boundaries are less clear, and it's good to have those helpful habits for us. And just want to follow up with that on the Ed McCaffrey interview, Lyndsay Crum, thank you for setting that up. [inaudible 00:15:01] put that in the chat. And we have a link in the chat for being able to view that interview on TV. So thank you, Katrina, our vice president of Student Affairs, for those great words of health and wisdom. That concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (15:15):
Thank you, Tuck and Katrina. I don't nap well. And I wonder if Daniel Pink has any advice for those of us who are eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. I ate one in the kitchen and one at my desk.

Katrina Rodriguez (15:26):
He has some sad news about coffee drinkers first thing in the morning, but I didn't want to share that.

President Feinstein (15:34):
I read that about coffee. You have to have filtered coffee or it's not as good for you, right?

Katrina Rodriguez (15:38):
Yeah. And wait an hour and a half after you wake up.

Dan Maxey (15:43):
Well, too late for that.

Katrina Rodriguez (15:44):
That's right.

Dan Maxey (15:48):
Next, I'll turn things over to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on impacts to our academic mission. Mark.

Mark Anderson (15:55):
Thank you, Dan, and thank you Katrina. I sort of heard an implicit approval that I could take a three-week lunch. Right, Andy? Anyway, thanks for that.

President Feinstein (16:12):
No comment.

Mark Anderson (16:15):
Last week of the semester, so again, I'd just really like to acknowledge all of our faculty for the really excellent work that they've done over the last six weeks to provide a great experience for our students. We recognize that it's not ideal, but we've really stepped up, our faculty have stepped up, as have our students, to finish out the semester strong. A reminder that we did introduce a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade option. That's for students, and students will have the opportunity to see what letter grade they would receive, and then have the option of choosing satisfactory/unsatisfactory after those have been posted. So that time is coming up.

Mark Anderson (17:01):
Andy referred earlier to the possibility of some guidance that would allow us to do some limited face-to-face. So there's going to be a webinar about that a little bit earlier. I was at CDHE yesterday at this time, CDHE virtually, and we talked about this a little bit. And there's going to be a process by which we can affirm that we're maintaining social distancing and that some of our activities require a face-to-face interaction. Access to specialized equipment, etc., is the one example that has been given in the past. I asked them very specifically about thesis and dissertation research, and that was an area that they said yes, that would fall under these guidelines. So there's going to be a process, and I think that will be talked about during the webinar. We'll talk with the deans about developing an internal process as well.

Mark Anderson (17:59):
Many faculty have been asking about access to offices, and we've been collecting a list of those who would like to get access to offices. As one might imagine, that's that's a fairly significant number as we transition from spring teaching into summer teaching and people want access to materials so they can teach their classes, or access to materials as they prepare to do their research and scholarship over the summer. The library has established times for accessing or retrieving materials from the library. We talked about that previously. But we'll be developing a plan for getting people into offices over the next period of time based upon the volume of people that have asked for access. And we'll have that just as quickly as we possibly can, working with Blaine and Kirk Leichliter and campus security to make sure that we can do that in a way that is safe with respect to the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students, but also gets people the access that they would like and need as we transition into the summer. And that is all I have for today, Dan. Thank you very much. And thanks, Katrina, loved the presentation.

Dan Maxey (19:20):
Thank you, Mark.

Katrina Rodriguez (19:20):
Thank you, Mark.

Dan Maxey (19:21):
We have no Facilities or Human Resources reports today, so I will turn things back over to President Feinstein.

President Feinstein (19:29):
Thanks, Dan. And thanks everybody for the presentations today. I too am wearing denim for Denim Day. And I appreciate Tuck bringing up the César Chávez Cultural Center activities. In fact, I'm wearing my César Chávez cultural center shirt as well. So as always, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.