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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

April 9, Operational Update

April 9, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Good morning everybody. Thursday, April the 9th, and this is our daily operation status report. A little update from me. Yesterday I was able to meet with the classified staff council and University Center staff to learn about their challenges and concerns and also answer their questions. This morning I had breakfast with Roy Otto, our city manager, to discuss the impacts that the pandemic is having to our city and the local economy, what we're doing at UNC, and how we can continue to partner through this pandemic. It was a lively conversation, and I know the city is working very hard to support our community.

President Feinstein (00:38):
This afternoon I'll be meeting with a small group of faculty from across the colleges to learn how they are doing and ways in which I can help and our team can help. I'll provide you an update on how that went tomorrow. So I also want to thank our dean of students, Tuck Tucker, for providing us a wonderful guest speaker today. With our new routines, we are often challenged with maintaining our health at home or where we are living, to share ways to maintain our health during these unusual times. We've invited a UNC expert to help guide us with our nutrition and exercise, Dr. Dani Brittain.

President Feinstein (01:19):
Dr. Brittain holds a BS in applied health and occupational health and safety, an MS in departments of human nutrition and kinesiology, and a Ph.D. in kinesiology. She has done extensive research in health and identity, taught classes in epidemiology, and is currently a professor at UNC in the Department of Community Health Education. She also, if she doesn't have enough to do, is the interim associate dean in the College of Natural and Health Sciences. So I'd like to welcome Dr. Dani Brittain to the conversation. Dr Brittain.

Danielle Brittain (01:58):
Hi Andy. Thank you so much for inviting me and tech for inviting me to the President's Cabinet today. I sure appreciate it. It's so important that you all are focusing on everyone's health, so thank you again. During these challenging times we really need to make sure that we're taking care of ourselves because if we don't take care of ourselves, we certainly can't take care of others, and being a Bear means that we give to others. So taking care of yourself is important. I know many of you out there are in difficult situations, and some of my information may be the last thing on your mind, but I promise you that you need to take care of you. My hope is that each of you will be able to stay well during this time, mentally, physically, and socially distance for a while.

Danielle Brittain (02:46):
I should preface by saying that in relation to my expertise, I mostly am focused on physical activity and barriers to physical activity and getting people to be physically active. I also have a soft spot for being active in my life because it was through basketball and track scholarships that I was able to go to college. So I'm a huge fan of being active. And today I'm mostly going to focus on being physically active, but I'm going to throw in some of those other topics that Andy had talked about. So physical activity, what is this? Well, technically, if you give a Webster's Dictionary definition, it's any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure. But often we use the term exercise or sports and the like. So let me tell you that you are correct when you say this: exercise and sports, they are a form of physical activity. But so is housework, so is yard work and so is riding your bike to the store.

Danielle Brittain (03:44):
So how much physical activity do we need? My answer to that is any physical activity is a good thing. So no matter your situation, movement is good because physical activity, it results in many improved physical and mental health outcomes such as decreased heart disease, some cancers, stroke, type 2 diabetes. There's also improved functioning among individuals who have chronic pain. There's improved self-esteem, reduced symptoms of depression, increased focus, and improved academic outcomes, students, so keep that in mind. There's many more health and physical benefits, mental health and physical benefits. So as you can see, everyone needs to get moving and stay moving. I'm going to share my screen here really quick. So these are actually the physical activity recommendations for youth and adults. For children under 17, the recommendations are that these kids get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, with three of those days focusing on muscle- and bone-strengthening exercises.

Danielle Brittain (04:52):
So it can include a number of things. Jumping rope, playing soccer. I know soccer is kind of a team sport. So right now maybe just engaging in kicking the ball around with siblings or whoever's in your household. But getting active in that way on a cardio level. So when I say moderate physical activity, that's something that you do when you can carry on a conversation, but it's a little more difficult. So you kind of envision a bit of a heart rate increase, but breathing a little harder, but you can still talk to whoever you're engaging with. Now vigorous on the other hand is engaging in activity where you really can't carry on a conversation. So your heart rate, your breathing is up so high that it's not comfortable to carry on a conversation. So think about that in terms of moderate and vigorous activity.

Danielle Brittain (05:42):
So kids, 60 minutes of moderate and vigorous activity a day, adults 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous each day, and then older adults the same as well. So once again, I say that these are the recommendations that can result in a lot of health benefits, but also just doing something is so, so important. I'm going to actually share some different types of programs that you can do at home here in a minute. But what I want to tell you is that those of us who are working at home and who are doing our coursework at home, the research tells us that we should take a break at least once an hour. So why not put a little bit of physical activity into that break? Our top performers in business in our world take a break every 52 minutes. Why? Because you're more productive and you can focus better if you take breaks and are active.

Danielle Brittain (06:38):
So this means everyone here on this call, and this means everyone out there, our students, our alumni, everyone paying attention. So make sure you take your breaks. Now I know that we live in Colorado and these are the times when we typically are getting in our last few runs of the season, maybe getting in some hikes in the mountains, and those types of activities that have been interrupted by closures or crowded national parks. We remember that governor Polis says that we can still be outdoors for essential exercise purposes. You can still engage in bike rides, runs, walks, yoga. There's a lot of good physical activity apps. Some of you might have a tracking device like a Fitbit or a Garmin, and maybe on those apps you can get involved in a virtual group where you're having people who help keep you accountable and going to help motivate you.

Danielle Brittain (07:30):
There's apps for yoga, like Down Dog. There's Strava for finding different running and cycling routes. Maybe Burkhart uses this one, I don't know. He's a very avid runner. Or maybe you can get funky and use an app like Zombies, Run! I don't know if any of you have ever used that, but literally it feels like zombies are running behind you and chasing you. So something to think about just to be active while being outdoors. You need to practice the safe physical distancing of six feet or more when you are outside. So don't forget that piece. And then also wear your hat, your sunscreen for some protection and of course have a mask on hand for when passing people. But you can also do things at home. So let's take a look at a few options that are free for you at home just by going to YouTube.

Danielle Brittain (08:21):
So POPSUGAR is a really, really popular fitness channel. POPSUGAR has a ton of videos as you can see down here. Cardio. There's some cardio wins. Let me go back to the home there. Cardio, different types of things related to fitness, beginner — my volume off there — beginner, more advanced type cardio options. There's also some yoga. There's Pilates. So all of these are free to you to use. There's also ones related to families. So if you have kids at home, and you want to do a fun cardio workout together, there's options for families. And then also, here's — I like dancing. All my Masters of Public Health students know that we take physical activity breaks to dance. So here's a hip hop dance and I'm just going to show an — Just play this so you can see it. Oh, well it didn't play. Hold on one second.

Danielle Brittain (09:39):
OK. That looks pretty intimidating, I'm sure. But just so you know that they give you the steps up to those movements and put them all together to do some dancing. So maybe that's interest to our students out there doing some hip hop dancing. Honestly, I think this is a good routine for Eugene to use when he's retired. So I hope he comes back and shows us that he can do that routine. Another good one is called Moovlee. This is for kids. This has a number of different options for getting kids to meditate, to do yoga, to be active. Here's an active video and this is called Space Run. Space Run is similar to Kinect.

President Feinstein (10:28):

Danielle Brittain (10:29):

President Feinstein (10:30):
I think this is more my speed than the previous hip hop video.

Danielle Brittain (10:34):
I was actually saying that in my notes here I have this is for the young at heart, like Andy. So I appreciate that. So for those of you who have the Kinect, you might have some games like this, but for those of you who don't, these are free options for kids. And then of course there's KIDZ BOP. So KIDZ BOP is really cool. What parent doesn't like KIDZ BOP. Good clean music with some different activities to engage in. And then finally I do think that this is a really good one. This is on the University of West Virginia's website. It's in relation to people with all ability statuses.

Danielle Brittain (11:34):
So as you can see some good types of videos available for everybody, and these are free for you. So I've only shown you a few, but you can certainly do some Google searches and you can also go outdoors. But remember, any amount of physical activity is good, and you're going to love the benefits. My second topic is about mindfulness and meditation. So mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn really helped to popularize the concept of mindfulness. It's the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we're doing and not really reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. So we are in some really intense, challenging times. We are still rushing through our daily lives, and we're forgetting to be mindful of what we have in front of us and what is wonderful and special around us. So ask yourself right now, how often do you engage in multiple tasks at one time?

Danielle Brittain (12:30):
I know we all do this, but then ask yourself, what am I missing when I'm not mindful of the one task in this moment? So meditation is exploring. It's not a fixed destination. Your head doesn't become vacuum free of thought or you're completely undistracted. It's a place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate, we venture into the workings of our minds. Maybe a sensation such as air blowing on our skin, or maybe we smell something in the room, maybe our emotions. Maybe we hate this. Maybe we love it. Maybe we crave it. Or maybe you're thinking about something funky. I often seem to go to the Golden Girls, I don't know why those episodes. So maybe your mind just goes somewhere. But mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind and approach our experiences with warmth and kindness to ourselves and others.

Danielle Brittain (13:26):
So I encourage all of you to really think about taking some time each day to meditate and be mindful of your presence in your moments. I've often heard people say they've tried to meditate. They just can't sit still, or maybe it's too noisy. I get it. I understand that. I also know that you deserve some time for being quiet. We hurry. We strive for achieving more, but we don't take enough time to slow down. I promise you that if you slow things down just a bit, you'll reduce the tension. Your body will have a reduction in the stress hormone called cortisol, and cortisol has been shown to be very damaging to our bodies in terms of physical health, including increased stroke and obesity. So just know that meditation takes practice. It should be judgment-free. When your mind wanders, know that it's not a bad thing because you'll notice that you're wandering, and you can come back and that's you being mindful.

Danielle Brittain (14:21):
So just take a couple minutes. I was going to have you practice on the call today, but I probably am going over time. But just take a couple of minutes to take some deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and allow the tension to decline. This is an example of a meditation app. They have three options for people. You can also subscribe to have a bit more, it's called Headspace. But I want you to know that there's been plenty of research, even Steve Jobs meditated. He was 56 when he passed, but he had the brain of a 27-year-old.

Danielle Brittain (14:58):
Because when you meditate, you can thicken the posterior cingulate, causing more focus and self confidence in yourself. You can thicken your left hippocampus, increasing the ability to regulate emotion, learn and remember. You can also increase your empathy, compassion, and perspective by thickening the temporal parietal junction. You can shrink the amygdala, decreasing stress and likelihood of fight or flight. So really consider meditating. I know you'll catch on and feel the benefits, especially when you go to sleep at night. But small steps and no judgment on yourself.

Danielle Brittain (15:35):
And then finally I wanted to talk slightly about nutrition. We know that physical activity and nutrition go hand-in-hand. We know that we must fill our body in healthy ways to function better both mentally and physically. So remind yourself that we should be striving for a few important reminders. These are the basics. Drink plenty of water. I often use ginger and lemon and a touch of honey in hot water to get some benefits of antioxidants and choose whatever makes you feel good. If you don't hydrate, you need to be creating some sort of accountability or chart maybe on your fridge to be mindful that you need to drink more water or maybe get a friend or someone in your household to remind you.

Danielle Brittain (16:19):
Second, really try to have a plant-based diet if possible. I myself, I eat meat and protein, but if you could have more plant-based options in your diet, that's the best. A colorful plate, we often talk about fewer browns. But also you can have beans and legumes and some nice curry sauces related to that and have some good foods that way. Beans are more economical. For some of you, meat might be more expensive right now, and this is an important way to get protein is through other sources such as beans and legumes. And also quinoa this is a really well pack protein. And then also try to reduce your sugar intake. Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it depletes our energy and focus. So if you have a lull in the afternoon, maybe grab a healthy snack, go for a walk or meditate, get your mind focused again, but take a break.

Danielle Brittain (17:15):
What I have here is about cooking. Cooking is fun. Kids, families, roommates, whoever. Cooking is fun together. So grab your partner, whoever's in your home, and look in the cabinet for those random items that you know are back there, but you haven't been eating and or create a masterpiece. The Domestic Geek. She is amazing. There's some really good recipes for you here. Of course this is just one YouTube channel to look at, to watch for recipe making. But also remember to use purposefully every part of your food. So don't throw away the stems of cilantro. These have good nutrients and the best taste of the cilantro. But if you bake a chicken, don't throw away the bones. Use those to make a chicken broth or a bone broth so that you can use that for another recipe. Finally, moderation, moderation, moderation. Most of us like snacks and drinks. Just remember moderation. Now go do something for yourself today. Take your break, be active, be mindful, drink your water, eat a healthy snack and get outside and maybe howl at 8:00 PM.

President Feinstein (18:25):
Thank you so much Dani. That was great. In fact I've been using the Headspace app and another app called Ten Percent Happier for a couple of years and it's been very helpful to assist me in relaxing and catching my breath from time to time. So I think it's great advice. So appreciate you being here, appreciate your contributions. Hope you have a great day too.

Danielle Brittain (18:47):
Thank you.

President Feinstein (18:48):
So now I'm going to ask Dan Maxey our chief of staff to moderate a couple of updates from our coronavirus task forces. Dan.

Dan Maxey (18:56):
Thank you, President Feinstein, and thank you, Dani, for that useful advice. I'm going to try to start implementing all of that today. I haven't been doing as good a job at taking those breaks. It is Thursday though. So there will be no formal cabinet or coronavirus task force meetings today. Giving us a little bit of time for some important breaks and some physical activity. As our daily panel gives reports, I want to remind everyone to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. We have some limited reports today. I'm going to turn things over first to the chair of coronavirus task force, associate vice president for administration Blaine Nickeson, for our developing issues report. Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (19:35):
Good morning Dan, and thank you, Dani, for that update and reminder that even in these frantic times, sometimes we need to check on ourselves a little bit too. Yesterday, Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction had a student pass away from coronavirus. They were 21 years old, and they're now Colorado's youngest victim. They were a seemingly healthy young man that played on the club baseball team there at Mesa. While this terrible virus impacts our elderly the hardest, it doesn't care how old you are. I know our condolences go out to the entire Maverick family at Colorado Mesa and as they're getting through this tough time. For statewide data, there's a 5,655 positive confirmed cases here in Colorado, up 4% since yesterday. 1,162 had been hospitalized, which is an 8% jump from the day before. Unfortunately, the numbers that Colorado publishes related to hospitalizations are the cumulative number, but not necessarily the active number.

Blaine Nickeson (20:48):
We don't know if all of those folks are still hospitalized, if the number includes those that have passed away, et cetera. 29,199 have been tested. That's up 4%. 193 deaths up from 179. The Colorado Sun, which is a great journalism outlet that I recommend, is reporting that at least 64 of those deaths are from nursing homes, and there's currently 44 outbreaks at facilities like nursing homes right now. Yesterday I was hopeful in my report that Weld County was perhaps flattening the curve as the only reported increase of 11 cases from Tuesday. But unfortunately from looking at the newest data, that's not the case. Weld County reported 607 cases yesterday up from 545, which is up 11%, and they had six more deaths for a 20% increase. So we're still in the thick of this, and everybody just stay home, stay safe, and that's the end of my report. I'll turn it back over to you, Dan.

Dan Maxey (21:55):
Thanks Blaine. Appreciate those updates and the reminder of the impact of this pandemic on our community. There are no new student impact reports today. But I want to echo Andy in thanking Tuck Tucker for inviting Dani Brittain to join us today again. Next I'm going to turn to Provost Mark Anderson to give his report on the impacts to the academic mission. Mark.

Mark Anderson (22:16):
Thank you, Dan. Good morning everyone. I'd also like to think Dani for a really informative but also entertaining presentation. Dani, as Andy said, also serves as associate dean in the College of Natural and Health Sciences and is really doing a great job in that role as well. I'm sure when she took the position she didn't realize what exactly she was getting into, particularly with all that's been going on recently. So yesterday we sent an email to the campus community in the morning about the SU, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, grade option. We've had 92 students who've already taken advantage of that. Our advising group led by Stephanie Torrez is really paying attention to those students and reaching out to some of them to make sure that that is the right option for them. So we're being very proactive in talking to students from an advising perspective to make sure that they understand all the implications and the policy is flexible enough so that students can opt back into an A/F if that is the best option for them.

Mark Anderson (23:33):
We also on Monday opened registration for summer classes. Again, we have moved all summer classes to an online delivery. We are hopeful, but realistic in thinking that we might be able to have some face-to-face in the second half of the summer, particularly the second six weeks. We have contingencies in place, but we're hopeful that by then we'll have some limited ability to have face-to-face classes.

Mark Anderson (24:02):
Point-in-time enrollments for the summer are lagging behind summer of 2019. So I would encourage faculty who are listening to reach out to your students, encourage them if it's appropriate for them to take classes in the summer. We'll be talking with the deans about that. But I'd like to thank Dani and all the faculty for all the really wonderful work you're doing. I really think it's critically important to stay connected to each other and to stay connected with your own health. So thank you for the nutrition advice as well as the exercise advice. I think the nutrition piece is something I have to pay much better attention to. So thank you, Dani, and that's all I have for this morning, Dan.

Dan Maxey (24:49):
Thank you, Mark. I appreciate those updates. We have no reports from Facilities or Human Resources this morning. So I'm going to turn the floor back over to President Feinstein.

President Feinstein (24:57):
I want to thank you, Dan, for moderating today and thank the presenters and particularly Dani for that information. As always, stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.