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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

March 18, Operational Updates

March 18, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


Andy Feinstein (00:04):

Well, good morning, everybody. Let's get started. I just want to take a moment to thank all of you very much for all of your hard work, and addressing so many unknowns and so many challenges-

Andy Feinstein (00:18):

[crosstalk 00:00:18] having right now, and I greatly appreciate that. We're having these daily operation status reports at nine o'clock. We'll be doing that through the weekend into the foreseeable future. I know there's a lot of work to get done, but I believe that having these daily meetings in the morning at 9:00 will really help us come together and understand what the current challenges and issues are and work on those together.

Andy Feinstein (00:40):

So again, thank you for your hard work, and we will continue to make progress in addressing these challenges as they come in front of us. I'm going to allow Dan Maxey, our Chief of Staff, to talk a little bit about what the days look like for us and also share some insights into the organizational structure on campus of how we're addressing the coronavirus issue. So Dan, why don't you go ahead and get started.

Dan Maxey (01:05):

Great. Thank you, President Feinstein. And again, this is Dan Maxey, Chief of Staff in the Office of the President. We have a number of critical teams that are meeting across the university. Those various groups are helping us to coordinate efforts, our communications, and decision making. These groups are now convening remotely by teams on a daily basis, and many of them on the weekends. And I want to join Andy in thanking everyone across our university who's working diligently every day to coordinate our response and execute critical decisions. We are incredibly grateful for your contributions.

Dan Maxey (01:37):

Our main coordinating body managing the university-wide response is the UNC coronavirus task force. That group is led by Blaine Nickeson, Associate Vice President for Administration. In addition to participating in the daily task force activity, Blaine has joined an expanded president's cabinet and is meeting with us daily.

Dan Maxey (01:56):

The task force includes several subcommittees that are focusing on specific areas of our response. There is a communications and outreach subcommittee led by Director of News and Public Relations, Nate Haas, who serves as our public information officer. Nate is helping us to coordinate the outbound communications to various UNC constituencies and helping us to manage all of the inbound inquiries that are coming from the UNC community, media, and other interested parties. That includes our coronavirus resources and information page that's located at unco.edu/coronavirus.

Dan Maxey (02:30):

We have an International Impacts and UNC Travel Group led by Olga Baron, Executive Director of the Center for International Education, which is managing international compliance with federal visa standards and coordinating the academic and nonacademic reintegration to UNC by returning study abroad students who are coming back from affected countries. The Impacts on Students and Staff Subcommittee is a co-led by Dean of Students, Gardiner Tucker, and Director of Human Resources, Marshall Parks. They are working on the impact of work from home policies, student service, remote delivery, and the wellbeing of both groups, our personnel, and our students. They're also evaluating the implications of situational changes as changes emerge on students, faculty, and staff.

Dan Maxey (03:18):

The Academic and Distance Technology Group, led by Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Officer Bret Naber is working on technology support to support work from home needs to UNC, as well as the remote delivery of curriculum.

Dan Maxey (03:32):

We have a Logistics and Campus Infrastructure Group led by Chief of Police Dennis Pumphrey, which is working on the physical campus impacts of our coronavirus response and various operational disruptions, as well as the management of our emergency supply surplus.

Dan Maxey (03:48):

Finally, the Financial Impact Subcommittee, led by University Controller Ashley Bishop, is tracking and planning for the significant financial impacts that UNC will have because of coronavirus, including enrollment issues, debt, state funding, auxiliary revenues, and other issues.

Dan Maxey (04:04):

The university cabinet is also meeting once or twice a day now by teams rather than in person to discuss current information and make key decisions to direct the university's response. We've expanded the cabinet during this phase to include AVP Nickeson, faculty senate chair Stan Luger, the university's chief public information officer, Nate Haas, and Chief Information Officer Bret Naber. We've been inviting other key members of the task force to join on an as needed basis.

Dan Maxey (04:31):

We are in a daily communication with or receiving guidance from the task force, as well as external entities, the Centers for Disease Control, the governor's office, Colorado Department of Higher Education, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and state and local public health officials. In addition to the main task force and cabinet, each of the task force subcommittees and their wider memberships, comprised of personnel from across the university, are convening daily to organize information-gathering and sharing and to coordinate our efforts. Other units within the divisions across the university, including housing and residential, education, dining services, the university library, information management technology, the university police, facilities management, many others are working daily to ensure that we can sustain critical operations and meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff in these unprecedented times.

Dan Maxey (05:20):

There will be a daily agenda to this call, which will include routine updates from a number of of critical personnel, but the first briefing today will come from Associate Vice President for Administration, Blaine Nickeson, who serves as chair of the Coronavirus Task Force. He's going to start our call today with a report on developing issues. Blaine, you have the floor.

Andy Feinstein (05:40):

Dan, I just want to stop for one second and say we're also in constant communication with the Colorado Department of Higher Education; the other Colorado university CEOs, presidents, and chancellors. I'm meeting regularly with the Greeley Chamber of Commerce. I'm in communications with the city manager and the mayor of Greeley, as well as the district superintendent of district six and also the president of [Aims 00:06:06] Community College. So, we are in regular contact and meetings throughout the state and our communities to assess what's happening and also make good decisions that impact not only UNC but our surrounding communities. Thank you.

Dan Maxey (06:21):

That's right. Thank you.

Blaine Nickeson (06:24):

Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Andy. I'll try to be brief this morning, folks. Again, this information comes rapidly, but I'll share what we've learned since our last call. Colorado experienced its second death from the corona virus. Unfortunately, that was also the first death here in Weld County, and that was a male in his seventies. And certainly tracking that with our local and state public health partners.

Blaine Nickeson (06:51):

Colorado has 183 positive cases at this point, including five in Weld County. That's a slight uptick in Weld County. Weld County Public Health and Environment issued guidance that mirrored what was coming out of the White House, that there should be no events larger than 10 people, and things like libraries and gymnasiums or gyms are being forced to close. Obviously, we've already done that.

Blaine Nickeson (07:15):

Kirk will report on this, but we have taken some impacts on building access as we wind down our physical operations on campus, or at least significantly narrow those. And if that all wasn't enough, we have a winter storm watch in effect for Northern Colorado. And luckily, I guess, we won't be having to call a snow day at this point, but we're planning to make sure that for the limited presence that we do have on campus, that we'll be taking good care of those folks. Dan, that's all I have at this point.

Andy Feinstein (07:45):

Blaine, just quick, do we have any coronavirus cases that have been announced in Greeley?

Blaine Nickeson (07:53):

Andy, I'm not certain about that right now. I believe that most of the Weld County cases had come from what they were described as Southwestern Weld County. That being said, the Health Department is not giving specific information about the statistics about these cases, and they've been pretty clear about that. But even anecdotally, I've not heard of any in Greeley yet.

Andy Feinstein (08:18):

Thank you.

Dan Maxey (08:19):

Thank you, Blaine. Next I'm going to ask Provost Mark Anderson to give a report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark?

Mark Anderson (08:27):

Oh, good morning. Can everybody hear me okay?

Dan Maxey (08:30):


Mark Anderson (08:31):

Good. So, the deans have been meeting fairly regularly, I'd say almost daily, and I just got off a call with them. And with respect to moving our instruction to online, all the deans are very confident that the majority, if not all the courses, can be moved online. There were some conversation about laboratory courses in PVA and NHS, but for the most part, it's not a problem to move online. It's just a change in the approach to meeting the learning objectives for the courses. And so, I would commend the faculty for thinking out of the box.

Mark Anderson (09:18):

And just as an example, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, students who have a course that involves photography, they've gone to using cell phones for photography as opposed to using equipment that is loaned out by the university.

Mark Anderson (09:40):

One area of concern was audiology, and they were concerned about students with hearing loss moving to an online environment. So that's something that we are continuing to investigate. But again, Burkhart thought that it was something that was not an insurmountable problem. But that illustrates something that we have to be very aware of, is that how do we give all students, particularly students who have some accommodation, the ability to achieve the learning objectives and to make sure that the content of the course is assessable. And so, I'd like to also acknowledge Bret Naber and IMT for all the work that they've done, particularly with canvas and teams to make sure that we have a robust environment that addresses the assessability needs for all of our students. So, thank you very much. Brett.

Mark Anderson (10:40):

Kim Black and Lydell McCartney from Siedel are doing a great job at putting up different trainings so that as faculty moved to different learning environments, that there's support through Siedel through an online portal. So that's really good.

Mark Anderson (10:59):

The academic council from CDHE met yesterday, and I think had a really good conversation. One of the things that I think is critically important that I learned from that conversation was as moving into an online environment, it's really critically important that we really be mindful of the isolation that students can oftentimes feel in an online environment and making sure that we're very upfront about how to maintain the connection between the students of the course. So, I think one thing we've talked about with the deans that we hope will translate down to the faculty is making sure that students understand how to be in touch with each other in an online environment, whether it be through chat, email, what have you, but maintaining that sort of classroom community connection.

Mark Anderson (11:53):

The other thing, talking to Charlie Couch via email, and I will have essentially a daily meeting with Charlie about enrollment. In the last week and a half or so, deposits have sort of taken a turn in the wrong direction. And so, our deposits are lagging behind where they were last year. Charlie and admissions seems to think this is a response to some of the economic concerns that families have moving forward. And so, Charlie has some good ideas I think for how we can stem that. And I'll talk about that with cabinet a little bit later this afternoon. So, that's all I have.

Dan Maxey (12:39):

Great. Thank you, mark. Next, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Kirk Leichliter will give a report on impacts to our facilities. Kirk, you have the floor. And Kirk, make sure you're unmuted, please.

Kirk Leichliter (12:57):

My button's being weird today. Is that okay?

Dan Maxey (13:00):

We can hear you. Thank you.

Kirk Leichliter (13:02):

Okay. As Blaine mentioned, all of the buildings that have card access are now in card only mode. So anybody that had a valid card should be able to get in. Next week, we will consider moving to a tighter lockdown. That's to be determined. Custodial last night got trash everywhere and that kind of thing, so hopefully the buildings are in a clean condition as they close down. We don't want to get insects and odors and such going on.

Kirk Leichliter (13:35):

We're winding down spring break tasks, mostly with contractors, generator maintenance, fire pump testing, that kind of thing, and starting our more abbreviated building rounds to make sure unforeseen things aren't happening in the buildings. I believe that covers it.

Dan Maxey (13:55):

Great. Thank you, Kirk. Marshall Parks, Director of Human Resources, will now give a report on current essential personnel reporting to campus. Marshall, the floor is yours.

Marshall Parks (14:05):

Good morning, all. Today we're going to be making a recommendation to cabinet on the use of administrative leave pay for our student employees and other hourly employees. We'll have that discussion this afternoon. Recently, we've created an essential personnel policy to have in place for the duration of the coronavirus shutdown. We're working with supervisors to identify essential personnel in their areas and should have most of that complete by the end of this week. And that's it in the area of essential personnel at this point.

Dan Maxey (14:36):

Great. Thank you Marshall. Our final report today comes from Dean of Students Gardiner Tucker. Tuck, you have the floor.

Gardiner Tucker (14:42):

Hello, everyone. We're collecting what people are doing with student-facing services. So at this point, almost every service has moved online. The health center is still going to see students face to face this week and next week. For example, in student affairs, the rec center is looking at putting exercise programs online. The counseling center is going to do counseling virtually. Really a shout out to IMT for helping them get their advanced technology online so counselors can work from home.

Gardiner Tucker (15:16):

And then, as Katrina mentioned in the notes, the disability resource center is working with their students online, but sometimes they'll have to meet in other conditions. And they've provided guidance for faculty and students about how to put accommodations online. And academic affairs has moved online as well. For example, tutoring. They're going to tutor via video online.

Gardiner Tucker (15:42):

And then, like you were saying, Mark, about isolation. One of the things, the biggest impacts is students becoming isolated when they're used to having communities that they can be in face to face. So, all the units like CHE are looking at ways to put workshops and other visual things online. So what's interesting is all the different ways we're moving, which is through email, phone, Teams, Zoom, Skype, and even YouTube. So there's a concerted effort to connect the students and address the impacts of [inaudible 00:16:13] Well, that's all I have.

Blaine Nickeson (16:17):

I'd like to add, thanks Tuck, Stephanie Torrez has been working with the professional advisors to ensure that advising will continue in an online environment. It's critically important, particularly as we move towards registration for the fall semester. So, Stephanie's done a great job with that, as have the professional advisors.

Gardiner Tucker (16:41):

Yeah, thank you to Stephanie. She's been helping us as well. And then also, because housing is such a priority, I'd like Jenna to speak quickly on housing.

Jenna (16:53):

Good morning. We'll be sending a letter to all students who have housing contracts with us today, letting them know what their options are. We anticipate a significant number of students who do not have another place to go that we will continue to house, and also a significant number of students who wish to do their online coursework at home. So, we will have an expedited checkout process that has to take into consideration social distancing. So, this letter will contain instructions on what they want to do. If they want to stay, will I be asked to register, as well as what they do, do I need to sign up if... What they need to do if they wish to check out.

Jenna (17:44):

We will have a change in our staffing structure during this time, a reduced staff. But most of the hall directors, resident assistants are essential staff and will be providing support to students. Because of the social isolation issue, anyone that's living in the residence halls will have a daily check in virtually with someone just to make sure people are doing okay. I think that's all I have for now.

Dan Maxey (18:19):

Great. Tuck, are there any other reports on student impacts?

Gardiner Tucker (18:25):

Not at this time. Thank you.

Dan Maxey (18:27):

Great. Thank you, Tuck. That ends today's reports. We will host this call daily seven days a week at 9:00 AM, and we are recording these calls starting today.

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Dan Maxey (18:39):

The recording will get posted on our coronavirus information and resources page. We'll also push it out through various communications channels. I appreciate, again, everybody who's tuned in live or who's viewing this by recording. Please continue to take care of yourselves, your colleagues, and your loved ones as we all seek to respond to the evolving pandemic. And last but not least, go Bears. Thank you, everyone.

Andy Feinstein (19:03):

Thank you all.

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