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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 6, Operational Update

April 6, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Good morning everybody. Monday, April the sixth, and this is our daily operations status report. I hope all of you had a restful weekend, and I know that we have a lot of work going on this week. And as a reminder, these daily operation status reports occur every day Monday through Friday, at 9:00 AM. So there's a lot to talk about this morning. I'm interested in hearing about the possibility of a pass-fail, or satisfactory, unsatisfactory option for our students. This semester, as well as today is the first day of summer registration for summer school, and I'm sure our provost has updates on both of those items. So let's start it off by introducing Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, who's going to moderate these conversations. So Dan, let's get going.

Dan Maxey (00:44):
Thank you President Feinstein. I hope that everyone had a chance to rest and recharge over the weekend. The cabinet and Coronavirus Task Force as well as the various subcommittees will reconvene meetings today. As the pace of changes slow a little bit, the cabinet and several of the task force subcommittees are beginning to roll back their daily meetings and convene every other day on Teams. So we're starting to see some of the activity slow such that we can roll back some of these day-to-day meetings as we move ahead. As the panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. I'm going to turn things over to the chair of our Coronavirus Task Force, Associate Vice President for Administration, Blaine Nickeson for our developing issues report. Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (01:27):
Thanks Dan. Thanks Andy. Happy Monday everybody. I hope everybody had a restful weekend. As I expected on Friday and predicted, Denver Metro School Districts announced that they're not going to return to in-person learning this year. District 6 in Greeley has announced that they're not going to make that decision yet, that they're essentially hoping for the best, but fully recognize that they likely will have to take a similar step. At the end of last week, we also saw both the federal and state government give a recommendation that folks wear a mask when they leave their house. So my family was busy this weekend sewing some different kinds of masks.

Blaine Nickeson (02:08):
The CDC has guidance on how to make a no-sewing machine mask, not quite as fancy as ours. But I know this is an old dress shirt, and I have young kids, so I went to their donate pile and scavenged out all the elastic from the waist bands. So got creative and crafty this weekend. Scientists at the lab that I mentioned last week, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, updated their forecast this morning, and it actually has good news for Colorado. It's showing that our stay at home order has been working, and that Coloradans have been taking that seriously.

Blaine Nickeson (02:43):
A few days ago, when I reported on their forecast, they forecasted that Colorado's peak hospital usage could be on April 17th, and that we'd be short about 3,700 beds. As of today's update, they actually again, preliminary, think we may have hit our resource peak a couple days ago, at least statewide. So that's really good to see. Unfortunately the news isn't as good in some other states. That site, if folks are interested, is covid19.healthdata.org. I'm going to report on our cases, and various other statistics as a jump from Friday, because I think it's important to see what that three-day jump can really mean.

Blaine Nickeson (03:26):
So we're at 4,950 cases, up 33% since Friday. 924 hospitalized, which is up 30% since Friday. Three more counties, so we're in 54 counties with positive cases, 25,773 tested, which is up 26%. And it's important to note at this point, 90% of the tests are being conducted by private labs rather than the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment. 140 deaths up from 99, which is a 41% jump. We don't know why, but women make up 48% of the positive cases, but they make... Excuse me. Men make up 48% of the positive cases, but they make up 61% of the deaths. I know this is something that researchers will be trying to understand better, but unfortunately men are seeing a higher mortality rate from this.

Blaine Nickeson (04:18):
37 outbreaks at care facilities like nursing homes and rehab centers. Weld County has 482 cases, up 28% since Friday, and 25 deaths, which is up from 16, or a 56% increase. I talk about this daily, but Weld has had a higher case rate per 100,000 residents than many counties in Colorado. And to illustrate that, our positive case rate is actually more than triple that of Larimer County. So again, things that scientists and researchers will be trying to look at and understand why we have those sort of disparate results. That's all I have for this morning, Dan. I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you.

Dan Maxey (05:02):
Thank you Blaine. Next up is Dean of Students, Gardiner Tucker to give a report on impacts to student life. Tuck.

Gardiner Tucker (05:08):
Good morning. The first student impact that I would like to discuss is loss of in-person participation in academic ceremonies. So many of our colleges have had to cancel face to face or in-person academic ceremonies. The strategy to manage this is to provide recognition for academic achievement, student success and academic community. So of those colleges that had to cancel theirs, the Monfort College of Business, their academic excellence banquet was canceled, so they're mailing certificates, and if you want to receive it in the fall, they can give it to you in person in the fall. And their Beta Gamma Sigma induction, the National Business Honors Society, they'll be distributed, those certificates to students through the mail, or also in person in the fall.

Gardiner Tucker (05:56):
HSS had to cancel their honors convocation, so they're mailing certificates to students' home addresses, and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences had their honors convocation canceled, so they also mailed certificates to home addresses, and Edie Dolben, one of the senior administrative specialists there, shared a story that one of the students wrote back and said, "You do not know how much this recognition means to me." So it's great that we are getting those out so that people know that they matter to us, from an academic achievement perspective too.

Gardiner Tucker (06:31):
Now I have a new section called Rowing, not Drifting, for students, which is looking ahead to what's coming up for our year. So for major fall '20 events, the example we have today is the Student Organizations Fair, or Student Involvement Fair, is still on for Sunday, August 23rd, 2020. Now we'd like you to register your student organizations to participate, and new students, please come by the fair to find ways to get involved or organizations that meet your interests and needs. And returning students, you are also welcome to come.

Gardiner Tucker (07:04):
So final word, the United to Nurture Our Community, a card campaign, a UNC card campaign, has now been able to... They have their first... Hold on just a second here. They have their first 100 cards ready to go to an assisted living facility and nursing home. So that's exciting. And then another final word, there have been contributions to, total donors, to Bear Pantry, and UNC Disaster Relief Fund, 54. UNC Disaster Relief Fund contributions, $1,705. And total dollars raised for Bear Pantry, $2,278.

Gardiner Tucker (07:53):
So all of these are signs of the times of us giving and helping each other out during difficult times. Thank you for your contributions and all that you do to help students be successful. And that concludes my report.

Dan Maxey (08:08):
Thank you Tuck, and thank you for highlighting the contributions that we've received to date to the Bear Pantry and to the Disaster Relief Fund. I also want to make a note on commencement. As you all know, we did have a commencement survey that we conducted, and the cabinet should receive some data on the survey that we produced, as well as options for commencement activity. So we expect to have a decision on how we will proceed with commencement shortly. Next, I'm going to turn to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark.

Mark Anderson (08:43):
Thank you, Dan. Good morning everyone. It's been a busy week to 10 days for Academic Affairs. A couple of things that President Feinstein touched on a little bit earlier. Academic Affairs, based upon feedback coming from students and faculty, generated and talking to Faculty Senate and the leadership, generated a proposal to give students an option for a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grade. That proposal was vetted by Faculty Senate last week, and I would like to thank all the members of the Faculty Senate, but also all of the faculty. I was included on a very robust conversation that Faculty Senate were having with their constituent faculty about the advantages and disadvantages of going to a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grading option for students.

Mark Anderson (09:42):
Ultimately Faculty Senate voted in favor of adopting a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grading option, and we're in the process right now of generating a communication out to students. Just for clarity, satisfactory, unsatisfactory is very similar but not exactly the same as a pass-fail option. We are maintaining the prerequisite structures for individual courses as well as programs, and so if a program has student maintaining or earning a C letter grade in courses to advance, that will be maintained. And the way that's being maintained is that faculty will enter in a letter grade, and it's in the system where the satisfactory, unsatisfactory grade is applied.

Mark Anderson (10:36):
And so I'd like to thank Charlie Couch, our registrar, as well as Bret Naber and the IMT folks, for working really hard behind the scenes to get the student information system up to speed, so that we can implement this behind the scenes for students. The other advantage of a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grade option relative to pass-fail, is an unsatisfactory grade does not count against a student's overall GPA. A satisfactory grade also does not help a student's overall GPA. Really we need students to be engaged with their advisors so that they understand the implications of a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grade option.

Mark Anderson (11:27):
For students who are on academic probation, it doesn't hurt, but it also does not help. For students who are student athletes, we have to be aware of NCAA requirements. So we're really asking students to be very mindful of the implications that going to this grade option has upon their individual situation. Because it has implications on individual students, we're giving the student an opportunity to switch back and forth. Hopefully they're not doing it very often, but if they switch to a satisfactory, unsatisfactory grade option, they subsequently determine that it actually is going to hurt them with respect to being a student athlete for example, they have an option to go back to the normal A-F grading option. 

Mark Anderson (12:15):
So we want students to be very actively engaged with their advisors. We'll be sending around the proposal to the professional advisors as well as faculty advisors, so that they can be really aware of what's going on, but also I'd encourage people to reach out to either myself or Nancy Matchett, to get additional information, if you're so inclined. We also sent around an email this morning to all faculty and students about summer school. Again, in consultation with our faculty and leadership, we've decided to put all of our summer school online for this summer.

Mark Anderson (12:59):
The majority of classes before any of this were scheduled to be online. So this isn't a gigantic shift, but by making this choice now, those classes which weren't originally scheduled to be online can have some longer lead up time so that they can move their material to online in a little bit longer than the week that we provided for the remainder of the spring semester. We're holding out some hope for the second six-week session, which begins on June 29th. And so some courses, particularly field courses, or courses which were scheduled to be hybrid but had a very short and intensive face-to-face meeting, we're hoping that we can get that in in the July, early August timeframe, generally in the second six-week period.

Mark Anderson (13:46):
Bret Naber indicated to me this morning, and others, that there was an uptick in student Ursa usage. We don't know exactly what that means, but given that summer registration began today, we are hoping that it's an indication that students are beginning to register for the summer. I believe that is all I had. Did you have anything else you wanted me to say Andy?

President Feinstein (14:11):
No, I think that was a great update. Thank you very much, Mark.

Mark Anderson (14:13):
Thank you, and I'd be happy to answer any questions, but also please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have specific questions about the SU grading option. Very much appreciate really the robust conversation that went into it. It's not a perfect solution, but I think it is a good solution that will hopefully give some students — to relieve some of the anxiety that many of our students are feeling about grades, given the switch that happened over spring break. That's all I have, Dan.

Dan Maxey (14:48):
Thank you, Mark. I appreciate those updates. Last week, we transitioned our Facilities and Human Resources reports off, and I have notes from both Kirk and Marshall this morning, that they don't have any substantial updates, although Kirk notes that some limited internal construction projects are beginning to resume on campus, so you may see a little bit of increased activity in limited areas on campus in the next few days. Those are all of our updates today. I'll turn the floor back over to President Feinstein for some final words.

President Feinstein (15:24):
Thanks Dan, and I'd like to thank the presenters very much for their updates, and as always, stay safe, be healthy, and we will see you here tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care everybody.