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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 3, Operational Update

April 3, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning everybody. Friday, April the third, and we made it through another week. We're going to take a little break this weekend from the daily operation status reports for Saturday and Sunday, but we will be back in action on Monday morning and start with additional conversations then. So for now I'm going to ask Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, to moderate conversations from our coronavirus task forces. Dan, take it away.

Dan Maxey (00:34):
Thank you, President Feinstein. The sun's come out again in Greeley. So in addition to it being Friday, the sun is out just in time for the weekend. I hope that everyone's able to get outdoors a little bit this weekend. Just remember to observe social distancing and recreate close to home. The cabinet coronavirus task force as well as its various subcommittees meet again today, and we'll also take breaks over the weekend, although activity will continue over the next several days through the weekend. So daily panel gives reports, I'm going to ask everyone to unmute their microphones and turn on their cameras. I'm going to turn things over first to the chair of our coronavirus task force, assistant vice president for administration — associate vice president for administration, sorry, Blaine Nickeson, for our developing issues report.

Blaine Nickeson (01:18):
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate that. I'll be brief this morning, actually. Yesterday we saw a couple of school districts in the area of UNC announce that they won't resume classes in person for this school year. That includes Poudre School District and Thompson School District, and I widely expect that a number of other districts will make that same announcement today. The reality is that it's just, it's highly unlikely that folks are going to be able to return to that kind of normal life and in-person gathering within the month of May. And as I've shared with some of our prior updates as well, we know that for families and for students that brings some of the same losses and sacrifices that our students here at UNC are feeling, that lack of a commencement ceremony, that lack of culmination of traditions like prom. And so we know that that's impacting our families as well.

Blaine Nickeson (02:15):
So just important to know that that's happening, and we should see, again, some more of that today. On the case count side of things, we're up about 386 positive cases to a total of 3,728 — 3,728. 19 more deaths yesterday, up to 99 including a deputy sheriff in El Paso County, which is the first first responder, I believe, that we've had fall victim to COVID-19 in the state. 710 folks hospitalized, up 15%. We're over 20,000 for total of testing, 20,411, which is up about 11%, but detected cases are now in 51 counties here in Colorado.

Blaine Nickeson (02:57):
There was a news piece yesterday, I believe it was through 9NEWS, but sort of echoing what I've been talking about, and that's that Weld County really is sort of an outlier for the wrong kind of, for bad reasons. Weld County has the highest number of deaths in the state, tied with El Paso County, with El Paso County with 16 deaths. 376 positive cases here in the county. But day-over-day, the cases increased 21%. About 20% of those cases in Weld County are tied to nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. And there's at least seven of those in Weld County that have positive cases right now. So again, we continue to engage with our local emergency response and health partners and to support them in the important work that they're doing to try to keep everybody in Weld County and beyond safe. So that's the extent of my report this morning. Dan.

Dan Maxey (03:52):
Thank you, Blaine. Next up is Dean of Students, Gardiner Tucker, to give a report on impacts to student life. Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (03:59):
Good morning, Bears. The first thing I'd like to talk about is a story. So apparently there was a faculty member, and I do have the headphones for Andy, thank you Andy ... a faculty member happened to be searching through the bushes outside of one of the academic buildings ,and suddenly a window opened on the third floor of the building, and a person leaned out and called down, "No, no, it's behind the bush over there." So what happened was a faculty member had been using a document camera in their classroom, and they were so used to the document camera when we closed the buildings, and we started teaching from home, that person was so attached to their document camera and tried to use the new technologies, but struggled with them.

Gardiner Tucker (04:46):
So one of the staff said, "Well, I can help you. I'll bring one of those document cameras out from the building, and I'll hide it behind a bush. Then you come at this time and pick it up, and I won't be there so that we keep social distance." Well, the faculty member came and was searching through all the bushes and happened to have the wrong bush. So Chris Vegter, the director of MCB Technology, leaned out the third floor window and yelled down to her and said, "No, no, it's behind that bush."

Gardiner Tucker (05:12):
So she was able to get the document camera and teach from home. And I think this illustrates how we go about helping one another in times of need and that there's a lot of new things we're trying to learn, but sometimes you just need the thing that you're used to in order to teach your best. So well done Chris on that. So my next student impact is some students face obstacles to register for this coming summer or fall. So we need to find ways to remove those obstacles so that students can register. So to speak to us about this today is Geri Landwehr. Please welcome Geri.

Geri Landwehr (05:49):
Morning all. So I wanted to definitely thank the president and cabinet for accepting our proposal to lift past due holds for students who are registered for spring and still had a balance. We removed 1,151 holds, sent out updated emails to students letting them know what we were doing and what this meant to them. We also manually removed 118 holds from students who owed prior to spring, but they might be VA students or have a third party paying. So we also worked with them as well.

Geri Landwehr (06:22):
I cannot thank IM&T enough for helping us identify the students, helping us put those holds on. It will be a great asset to these students and it's very helpful for our office as well so that we're not going through individually as they call and trying to assess each individual situation. As long as the students pay their balance, including the credit that they might have from dining and housing, we'll take that into account. As long as they have those balances paid to below $200 by the time summer or fall classes start, they'll be good to go, and we won't drop classes or anything. I'm sure that we'll have some situations where we may have to work with students individually at that point in time, and we're more than happy to do that. But again, thank you so much. I know the students definitely appreciate it.

Gardiner Tucker (07:14):
Thank you, Geri. This is a great breakthrough too and helps keep our students momentum and focused on their goals. So this is a great teamwork effort. The next student impact, there are two actually in a row here, students because of lost jobs or income or other factors may be facing housing insecurity, which means they don't know where they're going to sleep or stay or are struggling in other ways is one student impact. So we need to find alternatives for housing. And the second one is students that are living on campus in the halls are far more isolated, often away from family, friends and fellow students, than they were before. And so there are fewer staff in the residence halls to assist. So we need to find ways to add support for those students. So here to talk to us about both of these student impacts is Dr. Colleen Sonnentag, the Assistant Dean of Students. Colleen.

Colleen Sonnentag (08:09):
Morning everyone. Thanks for having me. So as Tuck mentioned, we will have students who are continuing to experience food and housing insecurity. And unfortunately those are circumstances that our students face outside of a pandemic. So what our office has done with the Student Outreach and Support area is set up a process with Housing and Residential Education. And so if students, faculty or staff are aware of a student who needs to explore an alternative living situation, please have them submit a student of concern report which can be found on the Dean of Students website. And so that will allow us to have a case manager reach out to assist them with, again, alternative housing options, whether those are in the community or through Housing and Residential Education here on campus. And so we can help students in that process and hopefully also provide some support for the underlying issue that's causing that housing insecurity.

Colleen Sonnentag (09:08):
Student of concern reports, many of you are familiar with those. We take those throughout the year all the time for students in crisis. And so again, food and housing insecurity, if a student is ill or injured or if they have a friend or family member who has an illness or someone close to them has passed away, please continue to submit those share concern reports with us, and we will continue to do outreach remotely from a safe social distance.

Colleen Sonnentag (09:37):
Then Tuck, you had mentioned social isolation that students may be experiencing in the residence halls. So our team is working on a coordinated outreach plan involving members of the Division of Student Affairs as well as other campus partners. And so our goal is next week to contact, via phone or video call, every residential student that we have on campus just to check in, see how they're doing, see if their needs are being met, and provide some human connection in case something has come up and they just sort of don't know where to share that. So I'm excited for us to connect with our students who are here in person right now, and just provide some friendly face maybe.

Gardiner Tucker (10:27):
Excellent. So both of those programs are ongoing to help our students who may be struggling at this time. I think the key is that oftentimes we think, "Oh, we're done with the struggles, so now let's move on." And a lot of our students continue to find themselves in difficult situations, so both of those programs should help our students throughout the end of the semester. Thank you, Colleen.

Gardiner Tucker (10:50):
OK. The final word here for my report is a picture that I'm going to share my screen. This is Colleen's dog, you just heard from Colleen, Granger, and he's showing his support for Northern Colorado, UNC. So wanted to show you that image on a Friday and, again, it reminds us of how we're integrating our work lives, our pride for UNC and our personal lives during this time. So thank you for sharing that picture, Colleen. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (11:27):
Thanks Tuck, Geri and Colleen for those reports. Next I'm going to turn to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (11:37):
Thank you very much and good morning. I will point out that there is mechanisms through police dispatch for faculty to get into their offices if they need to retrieve some essential equipment, and maybe Kirk can can touch on that a little bit. We don't have to hide things behind bushes. Anyway, Faculty Senate is, and the faculty really have had a robust discussion about pass-fail. There'll be taking a vote on changing the grading options for the spring. I want to thank all the faculty who've been engaged in that conversation. I've been included in a lot of email exchanges, a lot of great questions, a lot of concerns, and I really appreciate the thought that's gone into this because it's not quite as simple as a lot of people would believe just to change the grading option to a pass-fail. The deans have also been engaging their faculty leadership in talking about summer and preparing for the summer. And so one of the things that the deans and I have been doing, and the deans have been engaging their faculty in, is planning for the future.

Mark Anderson (12:47):
What's going to happen in the summer? It looks like based upon the conversation, we'll finalize this, that we'll have to go to continuing to be an online format for summer instruction, with the possibility of having some face-to-face later in the summer, but planning for any contingency that might happen. And finally I want to give a shout out to Lyda McCartin in CETL. Throughout all this, CETL has really been a great asset for the campus. And just to point out a few things that CETL has done. They've been offering a lot of webinars and video presentations, first and foremost about prioritizing curriculum during a remote teaching situation. It's been offered three times, and it's been recorded. So if you weren't able to participate in that a webinar, you can go to their website and see the recording. They've also done webinars about how to record lectures for asynchronous delivery, and Lyda is setting up a system for individual meetings with faculty who might need some one-on-one consultation on their instruction and improving their instruction in this environment.

Mark Anderson (14:04):
In addition to some support for moving instruction into online environments, CETL has continued to offer seminars on just regular instructional practice. Things like how to create equity-minded syllabi. And they continue to plan for the future in new faculty orientation for the fall, getting ready for onboarding our new colleagues that we've hired over the course of this academic year. So I think it's really important to acknowledge CETL, Lyda McCartin, Kim Black for all the efforts that they've put forward in helping us to transition our instruction from a traditional mode to the new mode, but also helping us recognize that we need to get ready for the future, and being prepared for the summer and in the fall. So I very much appreciate that. And that's all I have this morning, Dan.

Dan Maxey (14:59):
Great. Thank you, Mark. The final two reports that we normally host each day, we are going to start transitioning to reports as necessary. Kirk Leichliter wasn't planned to give a report this morning, but in light of technology behind bushes, I will ask Kirk if you can jump in and just remind everybody of what the protocol is for gaining access to facilities if you are a part of the lockdown.

Kirk Leichliter (15:28):
Sure. Good morning everyone. Mark's exactly right, for those one off access needs for things that were forgotten or remembered late, calling the police department is the way to go. They've been helping folks as necessary. We do believe that we have completed the card access system reprogramming necessary to match up to the list that we've been provided, so those one-offs would be through the police department.

Dan Maxey (15:57):
Great. Thank you, Kirk, and in the meantime I hope your grounds crews will be careful about mowing around MCB.

Kirk Leichliter (16:04):
No, I'll ask them to watch.

Dan Maxey (16:07):
The human resources report is one of the other reports that we'll move to an as needed basis, but Marshall Park does have a brief update this morning from one of our insurance providers and their plans for providing coverage related to COVID-19. Marshall.

Marshall Parks (16:23):
Yeah, thanks Dan. I do have an update this morning for our faculty and exempt staff who are on our health insurance plan that I obviously hope they never have to use, but last evening Anthem announced that their members will not have to pay anything out of pocket if they get care for COVID-19 from doctors, hospitals, other healthcare professionals between April 1st and May 31st, and that includes testing. So no out-of-pocket costs for any of our faculty or staff on our health insurance if unfortunately they end up in that situation. They also extended through June 14th what I had announced last week, I believe it was, or early this week, that there's no charge for a telehealth visit with any doctor in their plan. So I think some really nice updates and good things for our faculty and staff who are on our insurance plans. So if anybody has any questions about that, feel free to call our office, and that's all I have today, Dan. Thanks.

Dan Maxey (17:24):
Great. Thank you, Marshall. Appreciate that update from our insurance providers. Thank you to everyone who's tuned in live and to the recording today. Going to turn the floor back over to President Feinstein. Andy.

President Feinstein (17:34):
Thanks, Dan. And I'd also like to thank everyone who presented today and provided updates. And as a reminder, we will not be meeting tomorrow or on Sunday, but we'll be back on Monday for another update. So stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again on Monday morning. Take care everybody.