Jump to main content

COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 30, Operational Update

April 30, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning everybody. Thursday, April 30th. This is our daily operation status report. The public health briefing webinar that I went to yesterday focused on post-secondary education. It did not shed much new light on the easing of restrictions for UNC. There is a little more clarity regarding delivering instruction for very specific types of programs, and I'll ask Blaine to fill us in. Yesterday, I was also able to watch the Facebook Premiere of Ed McCaffrey and Ed Werder talk football, family, and UNC Bears. The video is available on our Facebook webpage, and if you have 20 minutes and need a diversion from some of our challenges recently, I highly recommend that you watch it. It was quite remarkable. And yesterday, I was also presenting at the third virtual Discover UNC event this spring, for prospective and admitted students, and the work of our admission team and our student ambassadors is truly remarkable, and it was nice to have a conversation with so many potential students that will be coming hopefully here in the fall. And I think there's a few more this semester, and then we'll start doing virtual orientation sessions shortly as well.

President Feinstein (01:14):
So with that, I'm going to hand over the conversation to Dan Maxey, who's wearing a very nice brand-new Bear shirt he can tell us about, and he'll moderate conversations with the other coronavirus task force leads. Dan?

Dan Maxey (01:29):
Thank you, President Feinstein. Yeah, I got some new shirts embroidered, so I'll be rolling out some new Bear attire here just in time for our last couple of weeks of daily operational update calls. It is Thursday, and more importantly, almost Friday. So congratulations everyone, we are making our way to the end of another week. The cabinet and coronavirus task force both met yesterday, but will not meet today. As our daily panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. First up is chair of our coronavirus task force, associate vice president for administration, Blaine Nickeson, for our developing issues report. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (02:09):
Good morning Dan, and I think I might have a challenge with you about who has the brighter UNC shirt.

President Feinstein (02:15):
Oh, wow.

Blaine Nickeson (02:18):

Dan Maxey (02:18):
[inaudible 00:02:19].

Blaine Nickeson (02:19):
That's what my eight year old daughter said when I came downstairs was, "Daddy, you look bright."

Dan Maxey (02:25):
Avert your eyes, everyone.

Blaine Nickeson (02:27):

Dan Maxey (02:27):
It's too bright.

Blaine Nickeson (02:30):
So yesterday, the governor held one of his regular press conferences and talked quite a bit about testing. Colorado is currently running an average of about 3,000 tests a day, and their goal here in early May, is to get to an average of 5,000 a day, and to 8,500 by the end of the month. And the state's doing some targeted testing in senior living facilities, where they're going in and testing everybody in the facility, including the residents and staff, regardless of symptoms, to try to understand those critical outbreaks. With the four facilities that they just did, they tested about 1200 staff and residents. 99 people were positive, but the important thing for folks to take away from that, is that of the 99 that were positive, one third of those had no symptoms at all. And this illustrates why it's so important to wear a mask when you go out, and to limit those trips out, even if you feel great, or you're young and healthy.

Blaine Nickeson (03:25):
Yesterday, as Andy said, a number of UNC's leaders participated in a webinar with the Department of Higher Education of the Governor's Office, and as expected, we did get some guidance on how we might be able to commence some very limited on-campus learning for courses that are unable to be taught online, and lab work. The scope's pretty narrow, and there are a number of restrictions, such as a maximum group size of 10 people, appropriate social distancing, et cetera. But as that evolves, any updates would come out of the Provost's Office, and I assume would be shared as well by the provost in these calls.

Blaine Nickeson (04:01):
The guidance for that meeting also does shed a little bit of light on what we might expect in a new normal situation, as we consider what a return to campus will look like. Things like temperature or symptom checks for employees, distancing of furniture in classrooms and offices, universal mask wearing, and lots of intentional signage about staying safe. We have a team at UNC right now that's working on planning for all these issues.

Blaine Nickeson (04:26):
For state-wide data, there's 14,758 confirmed positive cases. As I've reported pretty much this entire week, that's up about 400 cases or 3% since yesterday, so we've been on a roll, sort of steady trajectory right now. The number of people hospitalized is the same, is having the same type of experience, it's 782, and it's been hovering within a couple up or down throughout the whole week. 69,449 tested, that's up 2,400, or 3.5% since yesterday, and as I reported just a moment ago, the state has plans to really ramp up that testing within the next month. Colorado's reporting an increase of 30 deaths, up to 766. That's similar growth that we saw yesterday.

Blaine Nickeson (05:15):
Here In Weld County, just shy of 1800 positive cases. That's up a little bit over 6% since yesterday, and deaths are up four at 94. Some of that spike in Weld County cases is associated with the JBS plant. They're now reporting right around 250 positive cases at the plant. So those are all the updates that I have for you this morning. It's going to be nice and hot out there, maybe record-breaking today, and I'm sure that my shirt isn't helping, so I'll turn it back over to you, Dan.

Dan Maxey (05:44):
Thanks, Blaine. Next, I'll turn it over to Dean of Students, Tuck Tucker for our report on impacts to student life. Tuck?

Gardiner Tucker (05:50):
Good morning, Bear community. Luckily, Andy and I are wearing shirts that are less vibrant to balance out the spectrum there. As Laura Connolly put in the chat, this is the end of classes this week, and exams begin next week, and one of the student impacts is that as people finish up, they'll have their textbooks, some of which they'll want to return. So our strategy is to set up a method for students to return textbooks, for example, from the UNC bookstore. So here to help explain the process is Jay Dinges, director of the University Center and Campus Commons, and a UNC alum. Jay, you have the floor.

Jay Dinges (06:31):
Good morning, everyone. As is always the case, textbook buyback and rental returns can be completed both online and in-person at the campus bookstore and fan shop. For online buyback and rental returns, and for textbook rentals, students will be sent an email reminder 15, seven, and three days out, which will include a free shipping return label. Students can also log onto their account on the bookstore website at any time to download the free shipping return label. The current rental return due date is May 8th, however, Follett, who manages our bookstore, is allowing the students an extra 15 days for materials to arrive in-store before any purchase chargebacks are processed. We still recommend that students do get their materials in the mail by that due date in order for those to arrive on time, and allow adequate shipping.

Jay Dinges (07:20):
For online buyback, students can find the link in the footer of the bookstore's website, which will link them directly to ValoreBooks. Students choosing this option will have 14 days to ship their textbooks back free of charge again, after receiving their buyback quote, and funds will be provided to students via their choice of check or PayPal.

Jay Dinges (07:40):
For in-person buyback and rental returns, I'm going to share my screen here, and show you our map. All right, so the week after next, May 12th, 13th, and 14th, which is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM, we will have a physical, in-person buyback and rental return location. As you can see, line queuing will take place in the Boettcher Quad, located between the UC and the Commons, with the line forming at the UC fire pit, and proceeding along next to Sushi With Gusto, up to the southwest corner of the UC, where the back door of the bookstore is located.

Jay Dinges (08:18):
At this location, we will have some additional safety precautions in place. Included will be single file, outdoor line queuing with marked social distance indicators and no switchbacks, restricted interface service counter using a clear shield for the upper half of the doorway to protect both the students and the store staff. At no point will students be entering the store or the University Center. Staff working the counter will wear face masks. As you can see, the transaction exit pathway will direct students away from those still in line, and have them proceed down the ramp that leads out of the Commons, and away from the University Center. Default payment option will be gift cards, but students can still select cash, and potentially checks will also be an option. After all this, we still encourage students to use the university bookstore website to order their textbooks for summer sessions and fall, when it's available.

Gardiner Tucker (09:20):
Excellent. Jay, thanks so much for the information. So you say go to the fire pit outside, and if you can't remember anything else, just go there and you'll-

Jay Dinges (09:27):
Go to the fire pit, yup.

Gardiner Tucker (09:28):
Excellent. Thank you so much.

Jay Dinges (09:30):
You bet.

Gardiner Tucker (09:32):
So now our next student impact is recognition, and this recognition of student achievement is important, especially during these times, and we can't do that in person like we could before, at this time. So we've had a recent announcement of two Student Employees of the Year. So Student Employee of the Year, we had a competition across campus, and there were 56 nominees. Now, if you get selected, the award is $250, UNC mugs, and an official letter of congratulations from Andy. Now, this year, we have two award winners. Our first award winner is majoring in International Affairs, minoring in Anthropology, and works in UNC's Creative Services Department, and her name is Camille Foster, so congratulate her if you see her. The second award winner is a graduate student in Accounting and works in UNC's Office of Financial Aid, and that person is Derek Pierce, and please congratulate them if you see them. And again, this is symbolic of our community and the way we appreciate our students, so congratulate them if you can, and that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (10:48):
Great, thank you, Tuck. And Jay, next, I'm going to turn things over to Provost Mark Anderson for his report on impacts to our academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (10:58):
Good morning, and thank you Dan. Just a couple of things. Blaine mentioned the meeting yesterday with the Colorado Department of Higher Education. They have opened the window a little bit for some limited face-to-face, and we'll be working with the deans to identify those programs and those courses that fit and meet those restrictions. One of the requirements is that as a university, we verify that any face-to-face activities that we institute need to meet appropriate social distancing and public health requirements. Blaine went through a few of those, but we think that there are opportunities for some of our courses, some of our research laboratories, and potentially, some of our field kind of experiences to meet those exceptions. Andy also mentioned about meeting students virtually in online recruiting events, and I would also like to acknowledge our Admissions and recruiting folks for the really hard work they've been putting in to recruit students for next fall.

Mark Anderson (12:13):
One of the things we're doing internally is we just introduced a survey to Canvas for our current students, asking them about registering for the fall. And those who have not yet registered for the fall, we're using the survey as an opportunity to reach out to them, to encourage that they register, or find out why they haven't registered, and provide some information to help them make their decisions on the fall a little bit easier. And so, that went live this morning.

Mark Anderson (12:52):
I would also like to say that we've been gathering information from faculty with respect to access to offices for the summer, to collect materials for teaching over the summer, to collect materials for their research that they want to conduct over the summer. And even though there's limited opportunity for face-to-face activities, one of the guidance from the CDHE is that if you currently are working from home, you should continue to work from home. So we're not opening up the offices, but we are going to provide a limited opportunity for faculty to get into their offices to collect additional materials that they want. So I'm working with Blaine, Kirk Leichliter, and Chief Pumphrey to develop a schedule for allowing people into offices, and hopefully, early part of next week, we will have that finalized and publicized.

Mark Anderson (13:44):
So it is the last for classes that are meeting Tuesday, Thursday, this is the last day of class for this semester for those courses. For those meeting Monday, Wednesday, Friday, tomorrow's the last day, and we'll be moving into finals. And I'd be remiss if I didn't again, acknowledge the really excellent work that our faculty have done in accommodating the new normal, and moving their courses to an online environment. And really, if we think back six weeks when we pivoted, I'd say that we've done a remarkable job, our faculty have done a remarkable job at really giving our students a great, robust educational experience, and I would like to, at the end of the semester, acknowledge all of our faculty and thank them for everything they've done this semester. And with that, that's the end of my report, Dan. Thank you.

Dan Maxey (14:36):
Thank you, Mark. We have no Facilities or Human Resources reports today. Remember that tomorrow is Hat Day. I am not wearing this one again, but will have another UNC hat to share tomorrow. We have one more day left this week, everyone. I'll turn things over to Andy.

President Feinstein (14:56):
Thank you, Dan, and thanks everyone for being on the call. And as always, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.