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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

June 25, Operational Update

June 25 Update (View on Youtube)


Andy Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning, everybody. Thursday, June 25th. This is our weekly operation status update. Before we get started, I would like all of you to take a moment and send us some feedback on how these operation status updates are going. If there are things that we should be doing differently, if there are still a need to have these every week, if you find the information useful, we'd like to hear from you. And we welcome comments and suggestions for improving these as we move throughout the summer. And with that, I'm going to hand the conversation over to Dan Maxey, our Chief of Staff, who's going to moderate conversations from the other task force. Dan?

Dan Maxey (00:41):
Great, thank you, President Feinstein. As we reach the end of June, we're approaching decision milestones, and the work of the reentry task force, and still have some good material to report on today, and I anticipate in the next couple of weeks as the academic affairs and student affairs groups in particular reach some of their decisions that are key decision points for the fall. As our panel gives reports, please remember to unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. We're going to start today's call with a report on the current status of public health orders and conditions in Colorado, as well as an update from the logistics working group, from Associate Vice President for Administration Blaine Nickeson. Blaine?

Blaine Nickeson (01:20):
Thanks Dan. Good morning. I'm going to sort of blend those things together as I go through my report this morning, but I'd like to start off with some updates related to mask-wearing. As I mentioned last week, UNC will require cloth face coverings for all students, faculty and staff. That's consistent with guidance from CDC and the state, along with our peer institutions are doing the same things. We're currently working on clarifying circumstances where there will be exceptions such as when working out in the rec center, eating in our dining halls, or for faculty who are lecturing at an appropriate distance from their students.

Blaine Nickeson (01:55):
We're working really hard on that one to get the guidance about how far is the appropriate length to be able to have a faculty member remove their mask in order to facilitate that learning. We're also preparing for the situations that will inevitably come up where someone forgets their mask at home or in their car, or a mishap occurs such as dropping your mask in a puddle or a strap breaking or something along those lines. We plan to have a limited quantity of disposable masks available at a variety of offices around campus, as well as a small stock of reusable cloth masks available for students who aren't able to, for whatever reason, to provide their own. We also envision having masks available at Bear Pantry. More specific details will be shared in the weeks to come.

Blaine Nickeson (02:42):
Last week saw a slight increase in the state's case count, but we've not seen an increase in Weld County yet. This past week, we actually saw a very slight decrease. We averaged eight new cases per day, to give you some comparison at the peak in late April, we were averaging about 75 per day. Given the explosive growth that we're seeing in a number of states such as Texas and Arizona, we need to be very vigilant about appropriate distancing, mask wearing, hand-washing, all those things.

Blaine Nickeson (03:13):
The state's very concerned about the increase in cases among young people. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says that in June, people under the age of 30 have accounted for 40% of new cases. So again, under the age of 30, 40% of new cases. In Boulder, for example, the city's threatening to revoke rental licenses of a large number of houses on the Hill, including Greek houses. That would force the residents of those houses to move out. This is because of sort of their blatant disregard for the public health orders. I'm working with our staff in Greek Life and Student Affairs to prepare for how we communicate expectations and safety messaging for our students who live off campus. This will also be part of our required COVID-19 Awareness Training that we're developing for students, employees and supervisors.

Blaine Nickeson (04:03):
By the end of the week, we hope to post UNC's reopening plan. This is a detailed logistics guide to the nuts and bolts of reopening, including how we'll utilize and maintain our facilities and protocols around health and safety. We're also rolling out a signage package as part of our plans for the fall to reinforce messaging about appropriate distancing, personal responsibility and mask-wearing.

Blaine Nickeson (04:24):
Speaking about how we'll use our facilities this fall, you may see some unique classroom spaces on campus. Because of our need to set up rooms with six-foot distancing between desks, our classroom capacity is obviously decreased. So we've gotten creative. The Cniversity Center's ballrooms and event spaces will serve as classrooms during the day. We've even added two classrooms in the group fitness spaces in the Campus Rec center. So you can check out how you look on the mirror walls while you learn about economics. Our team and information management and technology is working hard to make sure that all of these spaces are configured with the technology that makes them great learning spaces. That's all I have for today. Dan, I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you.

Dan Maxey (05:06):
Great. Thank you Blaine. Next we'll turn reports over to the reentry task force to Provost Mark Anderson and Vice President for Student Affairs Katrina Rodriguez. I see Mark.

Mark Anderson (05:18):
Thank you, Dan. And thank you Blaine. The public health standards are an evolving situation, it's good to get those updates from Blaine. As he indicated, there was some loosening of some restrictions, which allow for some different changes with respect to mask wearing. And so that really has enhanced some of our ability to teach classes, which are really dependent upon not just hearing, but seeing the facial expressions of some of our faculty, particularly in programs like American Sign Language and Interpretive Studies, teaching of languages, et cetera. Excuse me. We're working diligently to finalize the fall schedule. My apologies.

Andy Feinstein (06:09):
Hang in there, Mark.

Mark Anderson (06:11):
Doing the best I can, Andy. And we are on track to have that completed by the units, the academic colleges, and the schools and departments, by the middle of next week. And then we'll begin the process of entering any changes into the system. Preliminary data indicates that about 45 to 50% of all of our instruction will have a face-to-face component, either entirely face-to-face or some mixed hybrid face-to-face. Some programs like music are going to have a little bit smaller percentage of classes face-to-face because of the nature of the instruction and the nature of the disciplines, but we're feeling pretty good.

Mark Anderson (06:58):
And with some of the changes in the public health, with respect to mask wearing, some of the different rooms that we're bringing online, we expect that there might be an increase in the amount of face-to-face that we can do in the next week or so. Once the schedule has been set by the academic units, we have to do some behind-the-scenes work to implement the changes into the system so that we can accurately reflect the modality of instruction.

Mark Anderson (07:30):
When we do that, and that'll take about a week to 10 days to get the system up-to-date, we're going to begin a process of communicating out to our students what has happened and what they can do to understand the modality of the instruction of the classes they've enrolled in, and if there is some change to their schedule that they would like to address, the process by which they can reach out to their academic advisors and either change their schedule or get more information. Part of the communication is to make sure that our advisors, our faculty, our staff, are getting the same information in advance of the students so that we can be on point and consistent in our communications. But we are on track to have a final fall schedule completed, and all the back office materials done before or by about the 6th of July and begin to communicate out to students.

Mark Anderson (08:28):
I believe Blaine talked a little bit about the opening of campus. We're preparing some areas to coincide with the opening of campus so faculty can have access to recording studios. So if they want to record lectures in advance, that that will be available. We're working with IMT to make sure those resources are available to faculty. And we'll have some more information about that in the coming weeks, in terms of signing up and scheduling times to record materials for their instruction, for the fall. With that, I will turn it over to Katrina.

Katrina Rodriguez (09:02):
Thank you, Mark. Let's see, updates for this week. We have approved for Dining Services to have seated dining in our dining rooms, and so that was exciting. We also will be providing some outdoor seating so that during the nice weather season, we'll have some opportunities for students to be outdoors with their lunch or whatever meals they would like. We will have our grab-and-go options. It'll have a large variety of items students can pick up, and they'll also be able to pick up multiple grab-and-go, and/or frozen meals if they would like to take several at a time, put those meals into the refrigerator and then heat them up at another time. And so I'm excited about that option for students.

Katrina Rodriguez (09:53):
We will not have buffets, again, just based on making sure that we're looking at all of the guidelines from state and local governments or guidance, as also looking at our restaurant associations and being in line with the guidance there. Similarly, we will be operating our catering services, which will be open to the local community. We have a lot of opportunities with community partners who utilize our catering. So we will be able to do that beginning right away. And so community partners are excited to get all that settled and ready to go.

Katrina Rodriguez (10:40):
And then finally something I know lots of people have been waiting for. And so finally we have our very sophisticated process for move in. As I've said before, getting folks up and down stairwells, and elevators, and trying to social distance as best as possible. We have created a strategy. Beginning August 14th, students can move in. They will be assigned a day and a time, that will go out with housing assignments, or some housing assignments have been sent, so additional information will be sent regarding move in, and if folks are feeling like that day and time is just prohibitive in some way, there'll be instruction as to how to shift that time and day. And we'll have a lot of communication going out about that. That is also ready to go. So truly just as we speak, that is being set up and those will all be sent out by June 30th.

Katrina Rodriguez (11:43):
So we're excited for the fall. We're excited for all of these processes to have a little more definition to them as we have utilized the guidance and creative ways to both support and provide students with an excellent experience. So that is my report for today. Thank you.

Dan Maxey (12:06):
Great. Thank you, Mark and Katrina for those updates, and to Blaine for updates from the logistics working group. With that, I'll turn it back over to President Feinstein.

Andy Feinstein (12:15):
Thanks, Dan. And thanks to everybody for tuning in today, and as always stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again next week. Take care, everybody.