Jump to main content

COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

July 30, Operational Update

July 30 Update (Watch on Youtube


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning, everybody. It's Thursday, July 30th, and this is our weekly operational status update. We are a little more than three weeks away from the start of the fall semester. And throughout the summer months, a wide variety of efforts have been undertaken and decisions have been made in preparation for our return. Now a number of resources have been created to help our students, faculty and staff navigate UNC's response to COVID-19 and our return this fall. And I wanted to take a moment to remind you about these sites. First, the main site, the UNC coronavirus website, is accessible at www.unco.edu/coronavirus. And it's a good central hub to access all of our resources and find up-to-date information about our efforts. And we've also launched the UNC Spring Operations website, the weekly coronavirus digest email, our health alerts page, reopening guide geared towards campus operations, return to work website through human resources, a UNC move-in guide, a Bear Connect website with resources for students, and a new reentry video that debuted this week shares information about what campus will look like this fall.

Now, as we approach this fall, we are also wrapping up a series of town hall discussions that we have held with incoming students, continuing students, and their families throughout the summer. And I want to thank everyone who has supported these wide-ranging efforts to communicate our plans in order to prepare our students, faculty and staff for the fall semester. And with that, I'm going to turn this over to Associate Vice President for Administration Blaine Nickeson for a report on the current status of public health guidelines and conditions in Colorado, as well as an update from the logistics working group. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (01:57):
Good morning. Thank you, President Feinstein. We're just a few days from August, and we're working hard to dot the Is and cross the Ts on campus preparations. And there's a lot of people that are working hard to make sure the campus is ready to welcome our students back, and things'll look a little different when everyone comes back. We've got lots of signage to remind people about masking requirements, social distancing, giving other people space in hallways and restrooms, et cetera. While the staff member assisting our students might be behind a clear plexiglass barrier and wearing a mask, the smile will still be there though. Hand sanitizer will be available in lots of public places, and classrooms will have disinfecting supplies available in them. We've done a lot of reconfiguration of classrooms and lounge areas to help support distancing. One example is the University Center. We know we couldn't have as many people as usual using the computer lab as we could before COVID, so we spread out. We've reduced the number of computer workstations in the lab, but those extra computers, we've actually taken them and redeployed them throughout the University Center's common areas to allow for lots of room for students to study, and perhaps even take some of their classes.

Our dining facilities also look a little different when you return to campus. We're following all the guidelines and requirements from the state of Colorado. But our Dining Services staff are eager to welcome guests in whatever form that looks like. Grabbing a take-and-go meal or sitting down in one of our reconfigured seating areas. Colorado has continued to have an increase in COVID cases, but luckily the number of hospitalizations for serious symptoms has stayed relatively flat in the state. That's mostly attributable to the fact that the leading age group for cases is now the 20- to 29-year-old age range. Young people generally, but not always, have mild cases of COVID, and they may even be asymptomatic, but in order to keep our more vulnerable populations safe, it really is critical that younger people, including our student body, take prevention seriously, including wearing masks both on and off campus, avoiding large gatherings, practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Our community of Bears has a responsibility to take care of the campus as well as our larger Greeley community that we're part of. In the next few weeks, we'll roll out brief COVID training videos, uniquely tailored to each, to students, employees and supervisors. So keep your eyes on the weekly COVID update newsletter for additional information on that. Also the Student Health Center has taken steps to significantly ramp up their testing capacity for this fall. So we're excited about that. A reminder to the campus community that starting on this Monday, August 3rd, the campus will reopen for in-person business. Buildings will be open to the public, welcoming our students, faculty and staff as they prepare for the start of classes. A reminder that all workspaces and office suites on campus are limited in their capacity, by order of the state. Areas can't exceed 50% of their pre-COVID occupancy.

So that's going to require some creativity around staffing. Many of us that aren't directly delivering services to students or faculty or staff, many of us that aren't doing that will continue to work remotely in order to reduce density and allow for those critical services to continue. If you have questions about the capacity of your work area or really any of the things that I've talked about in this update this morning, feel free to reach out via email at our coronavirus@unco.edu email account. And we'll make sure that gets routed to the right person that can answer whatever question you may have. That's all I have for this morning, and I'll turn it back over to you, Andy.

President Feinstein (05:37):
Thanks, Blaine. And next, I'm going to turn the floor over to Provost Mark Anderson and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Tobias Guzmán for updates from our fall reentry task force. Mark and Tobias?

Mark Anderson (05:50):
Thank you very much, President Feinstein. As President Feinstein said, we are just over three weeks from the first day of the fall semester. So, and as Blaine indicated, the campus is open to the public beginning on Monday. So activity around campus will pick up. We ask everybody to follow the guidance from the signage that's all around campus, reminding everybody that you're to wear masks and appropriately socially distance. The Academic Affairs reentry task force published the final schedule, the modality of instruction for all of our courses, just about two weeks ago. And we would like to encourage all students to go to Ursa, look at their schedule, understand the modality of all the courses that they have registered for, and if they have any questions, to reach out to their advisors and their advisors can help them understand the differences in the teaching modalities, but also to help them change their schedule if needed so that they can get into an environment where they can feel comfortable learning.

We also encourage our students to reach out to the faculty of the courses they're taking, to learn more about the mixed hybrid teaching modality. Mixed hybrid is a mixture of face-to-face as well as online instruction. And the exact way that that will be implemented for each class is really up to the faculty person to meet the learning objectives of the course. So if you have questions about the modality of instruction, particularly mixed hybrid, we ask you to reach out to your faculty.

The task force is also accumulating all of the recommended policies and practices as a result of COVID-19 and putting them into a single place, and we're generating a handbook for faculty, and that will be published and finalized by August 17th when the faculty starts to come back to campus and get ready to teach their classes on Monday, August 24th. We're really excited for the campus to be reopening. We're really excited to have our faculty and students back on campus. And I'm going to turn it over to Tobias Guzmán, to talk a little bit about Student Affairs. Tobias?

Tobias Guzmán (08:11):
Thanks, Mark. And good morning, everyone. Student Affairs is diligently working with Academic Affairs in coordinating various aspects that overlap each other. Central to this is the student experience. This past week, the task force worked on better understanding the Campus Recreation Center and its competitive sports operation. The Campus Recreation has over 1500 students that participate in competitive sports such as football, adaptive sports in basketball, bouldering to virtual programming, such as runs and walks, and of course e-gaming. These types of activities will occur, however, with modifications that meet our new universal standards of physical distancing, how many teams and people are able to meet in one setting and overall safety protocols. Housing and Dining has, excuse me, Housing and Dining has had a lengthy to-do list since May, and most of the items on that list have been accomplished with several proposals for consideration that were advanced early on.
However, with the various changes happening in our nation, some of those decisions will need to be slightly adjusted to be sure we are meeting our universal safety standards. In addition, thoughtful consideration is taking place as it relates to requests by new students and their concerns about living on campus. We asked students to fill out a petition for release located on the Housing website if indeed a student has concerns about communal living and their health. Lastly, we are working on a standard operating protocol as we manage students who are in self-quarantine. A lot of our efforts as a UNC community will be about educating our students and very specifically what it means to be in a community and how each of our actions impact the whole. We appreciate working with Academic Affairs and look forward to the next three weeks. Thank you.

President Feinstein (10:24):
Well, thanks Mark and Tobias for your updates. Thanks to everyone who joined us today and listened in and as always stay safe, be healthy. And we'll see you here again next Thursday at 9:00 AM. Take care, everybody.