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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

March 20, Operational Update

March 20, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):

Good morning everybody and welcome to Friday, March 20th. And our daily update, it's been a busy day so far. I was on the radio on KFKA this morning at 7:00 AM. We'll be sharing that interview shortly on social media. We're working right now on communications to our students and staff regarding a number of issues that will provide them with updates and FAQ information as we go into next week. And we also at three o'clock have a conference call and a press conference regarding our new basketball, men's basketball coach. So we're excited about that. So I'm going to now turn over the conversation and Dan Maxey, who is going to start updating us on what's going on today. Dan.

Dan Maxey (00:49):

Thank you, President Feinstein. The President's extended cabinet our coronavirus Task Force and each of our tasks or subcommittees continues to meet daily and remotely by Microsoft Teams. Subcommittees continue to share information up to cabinet through the task force leadership, and the cabinet is receiving daily recommendations on decisions to be made at the cabinet level. We met again yesterday afternoon virtually for about an hour, hour and a half as we continue to work through some of the complicated decisions related to our response. I know that Marshall Parks will report on this a little bit later in the call. But we did share information yesterday with our student workers who are affected and their supervisors yesterday afternoon.

Dan Maxey (01:31):

As in the last couple of days, this call will follow a routine agenda every day except when we have sort of extenuating circumstances that require us to add new areas. We're going to start the call today with a report on developing issues from Blaine Nicholson. I do want to ask anybody who's speaking presenting today that if you do have the capability to use your video function, please unmute your videos. But also naturally make sure that you unmute your audio when your time comes up. So Blaine, why don't you go ahead and get started with a report on developing issues.

Blaine Nicholson (02:13):

Good morning, everybody. I'm happy to be with you this morning, I'll be very brief this morning. Latest case counts as of yesterday evening were 277 positives in Colorado, which is plus 61 or an increase of about 28%. So certainly, the ability be of testing and the cases themselves is ramping up. That's of about 3000 people that have been tested so far. 38 folks have been hospitalized and there four dead. There are nine positive cases at this point in Weld County, at least that is what the state is reporting. Although I know sometimes the state reporting can lag a little bit behind. Yesterday the governor ordered all salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and spas to be closed.

Blaine Nicholson (02:56):

And so obviously again, some more direct things about social distancing, where folks are very close or one-on-one with each other. And Andy and I have been involved in some conversations with healthcare leadership within Weld County, and trying to just all be on the same page and make sure that we're prepared if we can provide any support as UNC as this crisis develops. And so we'll be charging the task forces with trying to do some thinking around things like would we be able to reallocate spaces to be able to add surge capacity for sort of hospital or triage functions. So, Dan, that's all I have for updates this morning and I'll go and turn it back to you.

Dan Maxey (03:40):

Thanks Blaine, I appreciate those updates. Next, I'm going to ask Provost Mark Anderson to give his reports on impacts to the academic mission. Particularly in light of the fact that next week on Wednesday, we will transition to alternate delivery. Mark.

Mark Anderson (03:54):

Good morning. So I had a conversation yesterday after this call with Kirk Leichliter about the hard close for the University. And we are going to be discussing that with the Dean's council at 9:30. And we'll have a communication out to the faculty later today on process for hard close and timing for faculty to retrieve articles from their office and get ready for Wednesday, et cetera. There's also going to be provisions for faculty to or staff to get to materials that they've forgotten. So, if people are unable to get everything that they want before the hard close, there will be a process by which we can get people into their offices. But we don't want to use that very extensively, but in one-offs, that's fine.

Mark Anderson (05:01):

We'll also be having a conversation about the admissions deposit. The admissions office is seeing a decrease or a flattening of the rate at which students are depositing for coming to the University in the fall. Many universities are having these conversations. In fact, there's an article in The Chronicle today about admissions deposits. And so we'll be having that conversation as well with a recommendation, hopefully to the deans or sorry, the President's cabinet for the meeting this afternoon.

Mark Anderson (05:37):

We have just a quick shout out to Kathy Zellers and Lyda McCartin for their efforts for getting support to faculty who are transitioning their courses to all online. They've done a pretty heavy lift over the last week, and I think we're ready to go for that transition. Also a shout out to IMT, Bret Naber, for their efforts to make sure the technology is in place. So we feel good about moving to all online. Now the faculty have to execute. So that's all from Academic Affairs.

Dan Maxey (06:18):

Great. Thank you, Mark. And just to add on a little bit to your comments, the communication that will go out to students later today does include a wide variety of information about various student support services, including some of our academic services. That will be available still beginning next week, including things like tutoring services, laptop checkouts and the like. So we will provide additional guidance to our students this afternoon into about various impacts to the services that they depend on here on campus on a normal week. Next, I'm going to ask Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Kirk Leichliter, to give us a report on impacts to our facilities. Kirk.

Kirk Licklider (07:04):

Good morning. Staffing on campus is essentially the same as yesterday with the exception of grounds. They're working to get the snow off the top of the ice so it can go away. The information is rolling in from the vice presidents regarding essential staff after the lockdown, so that's good. And I don't believe I have any other updates at this point.

Dan Maxey (07:30):

Great, thank you, Kirk. Marshall Parks, Director of Human Resources, I'll ask you to give a report on Human Resources and personnel impacts.

Marshall Parks (07:40):

Dan, good morning. As Dan mentioned earlier, we shared yesterday with our students yesterday afternoon, that we'll continue pay our work-study students through the end of April. I suspect this will also be part of Andy's communication to our students that goes out today also, the details for the implementation will be shared on Monday. We shared it directly with all of the student employees. We have a way we contact them regularly and their supervisors and folks that enter time. So on Monday we'll be sharing more details for that implementation with them and also have ... We'll be able at that time to answer all of the kind of questions about minutiae that [inaudible 00:08:19] how we handle both work-study and non-work-study student employees.

Marshall Parks (08:22):

But thanks for everybody for good work on that got some a number of very nice responses from our students and are very appreciative of that financial safety net that we're helping provide them. On a similar note, one other item, I'd like to remind you that please remind your colleagues that in these difficult times we do continue to provide our employee assistance, programs services. Services are available through the Counseling Center, you can call their direct line at 351-2496 or by reaching out to them at email at UNCCounselingCenter@unco.edu.

Marshall Parks (08:55):

I'll be sharing that out more broadly with our employees, but keep that mind if you run into anyone that you work with closely or work with remotely that is struggling and we do have those services available. And thanks to Heather Helm and her team and the IT crew for being able to provide those services remotely and online, it was a pretty difficult lift. And they got that in place now and again to serve both our students and our employees. And that's it for me, Dan.

Dan Maxey (09:21):

Thank you, Marshall. We appreciate all of the work that you and others have done to address the student worker issues. Naturally, that's one of the main concerns we had been hearing with students. So we appreciate that you were able to put out guidance to our student workers and supervisors yesterday afternoon. Final report of the day is going to come from our Dean of Students Gardiner Tucker. Tuck, I'll hand the floor over to you.

Gardiner Tucker (09:47):

Hello, everyone. Glad to hear your voices on this snowy Friday. So a couple of impacts I wanted to review, one student impact was the elimination of the in-person commencement in May. So our strategy to address that impact was to prepare an alternative way to acknowledge commencement. So the examples we have for that is Lindsay sent out a survey to students, so we're getting feedback. Tobias asked for responses through social media and got a ton of feedback through that process. And Andy communicated compassionate understanding through social media and directed students to the survey. So that's how we've been collecting information on that impact.

Gardiner Tucker (10:32):

So involving the students in solution finding and finding a way to provide commencement help, that all helps address the student impact, that lets them know we care, that we're taking this very seriously and we're finding an alternative way to honor their accomplishments. So a second student impact is the confusion that students are having due to multiple simultaneous changes across the university. So the strategy there is to communicate back to students using multiple channels and websites in order to get them up to speed. So examples of how we're addressing that confusion is we're updating corona [inaudible 00:11:16]. Again, a shout out to IMT for all their work on that.

Gardiner Tucker (11:20):

We're adding to and revising FAQs every day so that students have a reliable place to find information. We're creating specialized FAQs for select departments such as for student clubs and orgs. So they know how to handle this change to online. And letters are coming from Andy on a regular basis to inform students of the latest developments. So for the student impact of confusion, we're using multiple means to address that [inaudible 00:11:50]. One thing that we've already planned to [inaudible 00:11:56]. I don't know how many [inaudible 00:12:01] in Facebook page you can see [inaudible 00:12:06]. To decide on how to approach student employment concerns. But to [inaudible 00:12:22] to help them out. And the example is that in the approved move to paid students through April 30th, cabinet was involved in that and the task force.

Gardiner Tucker (12:32):

So there was a lot of support for that, it's a great decision. That's their fear and uncertainty. A final student impact is disruption of a few incident of the student senate electoral process, so a strategy to deal with that student impact is to find alternative means to win the elections. And so all of that has been moving online as the candidate profiles are online. So that's the way that we're addressing that student impact. Finally, I wanted to share a Facebook post from one of our students who is an education major.

Gardiner Tucker (13:08):

During this move online she posted, while you're homeschooling remotely, digitally educating your kids, if you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned for your child, or if you need more resources, please don't hesitate to reach out. I've studied elementary education for three years at University of Northern Colorado, and I'll be more than happy to put my training and knowledge to use to support your child's academic journey. It shows the kind of students we have and they're adapting [inaudible 00:13:43]. So thank you and [inaudible 00:13:48].

Dan Maxey (13:50):

Thank you Tuck. I appreciate those updates. And I appreciate the creativity that members of our community are showing as they seek various ways, not only to ensure that we can provide support to our students here at UNC, but to everyone else in our communities who are affected right now. So thank you for those words. I will say that our student worker FAQs and information about our dorm sort of expedited move out process and the sign up for that, are all available online and through our FAQs on the Coronavirus Task Force website. Again, those are also issues that we will link to and communicate about in today's communication to students.

Dan Maxey (14:37):

So we'll share additional information with students about how to access all of those various processes as well. And appreciate the work that Tuck, you and your team and others in Student Affairs and across the University are doing to help our students out with those questions and issues. I'm going to ask President Feinstein to say some final words before we wrap up today's call.

President Feinstein (14:58):

Thank you, Dan. Graduation commencement is such a vitally and important part of a student's life and their experiences here. And I know we need to make sure that we find a way to recognize our students, their families and support groups somehow, and that's why it's so vitally important we get the feedback from students about what are some ways to really recognize their accomplishments here at UNC. And we will do that and we will have a way of celebrating those accomplishments. I also want to shout out to all of our wonderful grounds crew and our custodial team who are still working very hard and deep cleaning our campus and as you know we had some snow last night. And I looked outside and they're out there working and making sure that our walkways and roads are clear for emergency personnel if necessary, or just to get around campus for essential personnel who are still on campus.

President Feinstein (15:55):

So just want to thank everybody, for all their hard continued hard work on this campus. And again, three o'clock there'll be a press conference for our new men's basketball coach. I hope you can join us for that. We'll hope that the technology works, and we'll have a little bit of fun this afternoon. So, enjoy the rest of your Friday. And we'll be talking again tomorrow morning. Thank you all again for your hard work.

Dan Maxey (16:19):

Great, thank you. That ends today's reports. We appreciate again, everyone who tunes in either live or to the recording every day. The circumstances naturally continue to change. We appreciate everyone's patience as we work through the variety of issues that come up on a daily basis. And all of the work that's happening to prepare us for alternate delivery of instruction beginning next week. So with that, thank you again, and go Bears.