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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

March 23, Operational Update

March 23, 2020 Update (View on YouTube)


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well. Good morning everybody. It's Monday, March 23rd and this is our daily operational status report. It's going to be a very busy week for us. Faculty are back working on changing their classes to a different modality. Our students will be taking classes beginning on Wednesday online. I want to thank all of our faculty for their hard work in transforming their courses and their materials. I know it's going to be challenging and I appreciate your efforts. And I want to think the students for their patience and understanding and their flexibility as we make these significant changes and work with them to ensure they continue to get a wonderful education here at UNC. So with that, I'm going to hand over the conversation to Dan Maxey, our chief of staff, who's going to start with the updates. Dan.

Dan Maxey (00:48):
Thank you, President Feinstein. The Cabinet Coronavirus Task Force and subcommittees are reconvening remotely today after after taking a little bit of a break over the weekend. Each of these groups had activity that they were working on throughout the weekend, but were not formally meeting Saturday and Sunday. The task force is going to meet this morning at 11:00, and our extended cabinet meeting will convene at 1:00. I know that several of the other task force subcommittees have meetings throughout the day, including the communications team at 9:30 right after this call. The Faculty Senate is also going to reconvene its meetings beginning this afternoon by Teams, and the President's Leadership Council meets tomorrow morning. I know that Andy is also meeting today remotely with the Weld County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce and is engaging with the Student Senate tomorrow. As individuals give reports today, again, as usual, please unmute your microphones and turn on your cameras. I'm going to [inaudible 00:01:49] this morning as every morning with Blaine Nickeson, associate vice president for administration and chair of our Coronavirus Task Force for a report on our daily developing issues.

Blaine Nickeson (02:01):
Good morning. Good morning everybody. I'll jump right in. 591 positive cases reported by the state as of yesterday afternoon at around 4:00. That's up 116, or 24%. 5,436 people that have been tested. That's up about 19.5%. When you look at the positive rate over the test ... or positives over the number tested, that rate's now a 10.8%, which is creeping up a bit. As of about three days ago it was at 9.4%. There are 58 people hospitalized and now seven deaths, including two in Weld County. Weld County, despite being the ninth largest county in Colorado actually has the sixth highest count of cases, so it's a little bit of a surge point within the state. While the state reports that Weld County has 37 positive cases, again, that's a point-in-time count each day. Weld's latest reporting on their own is actually 48 cases. Yesterday afternoon, I'm not sure if other people watched, but Governor Polis held a press conference and took a lot of questions.

Blaine Nickeson (03:15):
He talked about, he expects that we currently have thousands of cases in Colorado and that if you have symptoms you don't necessarily need to seek out medical attention. Most folks will not need medical attention, but it's critical that they isolate at home and follow the guidelines that are on the CDC's webpage. I know in my house we took the time this weekend to prepare our guest room in the basement and bathroom to be sort of a quarantine area in case somebody in my family gets sick, and I'd encourage you to do the same thing.

Blaine Nickeson (03:48):
Medical professionals are telling the governor that we're going to need about 7,000 more ventilators than we have. And so that's why flattening the curve is so critical. The governor wants workplaces to go to 100% telework if they can, and is ordering noncritical workplaces to reduce their workforce and person below 50%. The governor did not issue a stay-in-place order, which some people expected him to do yesterday. We've seen a number of other states do that, but the governor was very stark in delivering messages about how important it is for people to practice social distancing and stay home. That's the update that I have today, Dan.

Dan Maxey (04:30):
Thank you, Blaine. I appreciate those updates. I'm going to ask Provost Mark Anderson to give his daily report on impacts to the academic mission. Mark.

Mark Anderson (04:40):
Good morning. Thank you Dan. So today and tomorrow are days, as the president indicated, to get ready and transition our courses to an alternate delivery format. Both CETL and IDD have done a lot of efforts over the spring break to put into play some training, both embedded within Canvas and through some other mechanisms to help people with that. I would also like to just reiterate that courses which prior to all of the coronavirus that had been online will continue to meet online on a regular schedule. It's only those classes which are transitioning their delivery type that are not being offered today and tomorrow. We want to encourage all of our faculty to reach out to students today and tomorrow to help them in the transition.

Mark Anderson (05:43):
And finally, just a reminder that this week, buildings will have normal key card access. We want faculty and staff to retrieve all the items they need so that they can work from home for the remainder of the semester. At 5:00 on Friday, March 27th, buildings will only be accessable by those who are designated as essential personnel. We're going to have a campus communication that Dan Maxey and myself and Allie have been working on to send to faculty and staff that will reiterate the time-frame over which faculty will have an opportunity to retrieve materials from their office. That's all that I had. Thanks, Dan.

President Feinstein (06:30):
I want to stop for a moment and ask Blaine a question, if I can, regarding our personal protective equipment supplies and what we've been able to do to help our community.

Blaine Nickeson (06:44):
Sure, Andy. So UNC's taken inventory of what we have for PPE on campus, and we're actually expanding that at this point. The governor's office has requested through the state EOC for all institutions to respond to a survey about what their institutions currently have. Small quantities of items, sort of less than 25 boxes of something, they're requesting that we work with our local public health partners to turn equipment over to them. And large quantities, they're requesting that we contact the state for them to put them into the state emergency cache. So we have provided some small amounts of N95 respirators to both the Banner hospital system and to UC Health. And I was on the phone this morning with Glenn Adams with Environmental Health and Safety and with Faye Hummel in the School of Nursing. They're looking at the materials that they have in Nursing that can be made available and will be responding to the state with those.

Blaine Nickeson (07:44):
We've also had great partnership, sort of the every little bit helps, Kiki, dean in PVA, worked this weekend with some of her staff to identify where they have some N95 respirators for things like construction work in set construction, and they've pulled those together and our staff will be collecting those to distribute it in the best way possible. So it's great that folks have been able to sort of grab everything they can and centralize it for our response.

President Feinstein (08:13):
Thank you.

Blaine Nickeson (08:14):

Dan Maxey (08:16):
Great. Thank you. Next I'm going to ask assistant vice president for Facilities Management, Kirk Leichliter, to give a report on impacts to our facilities this week. Kirk.

Kirk Leichliter (08:27):
Good morning. Don't have a lot to report, like to remind people that warehouse and mail services are staffed and available to contact for package pickup, and they'll be letting you know if you receive anything. Mail drop off and pickup can occur as well. That's been a frequent concern for folks. We'll be continuing our building walks. Custodial is in mostly the residence halls at this point in time. We'll refine that staff as we learn with a little more certainty where our on-campus students are located. I'll be talking to Glenn a little further related to the PPE. I think there are some other departments that we should check with and he's probably already on top of it, but we'll verify some of those kinds of things. And I believe that's all I have today.

Dan Maxey (09:16):
Great. Thank you, Kirk. Next up is Marshall Parks, director of Human Resources, to discuss HR-related impacts.

Marshall Parks (09:24):
Morning Dan. This week we're beginning an important week for our classified employees that are just beginning an open enrollment period that includes a change in our insurance providers. This requires that all of our employees to actively make a selection or they'll lose their existing insurance coverage. Traditionally, this entails a lot of in-person department meetings and all campus open forum meeting, and a lot of one-on-one counseling. And so in our new reality, we'll be providing remotely our open enrollment meetings to share information and answer questions, though completing the enrollment does require a computer access and not all of our classified employees have that access. So we're working to distribute hard copy materials to home addresses and establish a timeline to have our HR staff available to make the necessary electronic entries. We'll be reaching out this week to all of our classified employees with instructions to make sure we don't put anyone's access to health insurance at risk. And that's all I have today, Dan.

Dan Maxey (10:25):
Great. Thank you, Marshall. Our final report today comes from Dean of Students, Gardiner Tucker. Tuck, I'll turn the floor over to you.

Gardiner Tucker (10:34):
Good morning everyone. Can you hear me?

Dan Maxey (10:35):

President Feinstein (10:37):

Gardiner Tucker (10:38):
My mic said it was not working this morning, so I'm glad to hear that. So I have three student impacts that I'd like to focus on today. The first one is the student impact that our advocates for the Assault Survivors Advocacy Program are not meeting in person now, whereas we used to. So that's an impact on students who have to report sexual misconduct of some kind. So that unavailability is to respond in person or to go with them, the victim, to UNC PD or for hospital visits or to meet them in the residence halls. So all of that is moving online is what our strategy is. And there'll be phone and video support as a response to the residence halls and to the hospitals. So we'll still provide that support, just not in person. Now I want to emphasize that UNC PD continues to respond in person to reports when they are notified by a student. So they will still respond in person. Our ASAP advocates will do that remotely.

Gardiner Tucker (11:44):
So the impact is that they don't have the in-person response, and we're providing that online and UNC PD is continuing to follow up. So that's student impact number one. Student impact number two is the elimination of in-person advising at the Monfort College of Business. And it's especially impactful to first-year students who have a declared major of Seeking Business. So they're not in the Business school yet, but they're Seeking Business because they need extra advising support during the spring. So the strategy is to inform all the students who are Seeking Business and other Business students of alternative means of advising. So the Monfort College of Business has put all their advising appointments to video and phone, and they've sent out email communications to all their students along with registration information. So that's how we're accommodating that student impact of moving advising online.

Gardiner Tucker (12:43):
The last student impact I'd like to emphasize is a recent one. The way the vet students who are veterans is set up is they get a housing allowance from the federal government in order to ... when they're going to school with in-person classes. When you shift those classes to online classes only, the housing allowance from the federal government decreases because they can work from anywhere or go to school from anywhere. So on Saturday, POTUS signed legislation to allow the vets to go to online-only education and still receive their current housing allowance. So that's a great breakthrough for our veteran students. So those are the three impacts that I wanted to emphasize. And just a note that the housing stats are in the chat on the right-hand side of your screen. And then that ends my report.

Dan Maxey (13:36):
Tuck, can we go ahead and read those housing stats for anybody who's not actively monitoring the chat?

Gardiner Tucker (13:42):
Yes. So Jenna posted that 359 students are returning to the residence halls. 188 are in Arlington Park, which if you know our residence hall system are more independent units. 18 students have service animals, ESAs or pets. So if you need pet therapy, go Lawrenson Hall. Dining Services served 32 students yesterday and they're mostly ... yeah, 32 people, mostly students yesterday, and we have processed 300 move outs. So housing has 300 people moved out so far. 1,451 students have responded to the survey they sent on housing plans. So that's the housing statistics. Those are the housing statistics. Thank you, Dan.

Dan Maxey (14:33):
Great, thank you, Tuck. I do want to stress that today and tomorrow, the 23rd and 24th, the university is open, albeit sort of remotely and virtually. Most personnel are working from home, and many services have been transitioned online already. We did send a message to all of our students on Friday that emphasized how a variety of critical services are being administered remotely, so students have information about how to access those services and forms of support. We're also finalizing a communication to all faculty and staff this morning, so I ask any faculty and staff who are on the line or watching a recording to look out for that a little bit later today. We're just wrapping up some final details on that. I want to thank everyone who's tuned in live or to the recording. I'm going to ask President Feinstein to close this out.

President Feinstein (15:31):
Thank you, Dan. It's a busy week at UNC. I want to thank our entire UNC community for their continued hard work. Stay safe, be healthy, and we'll see you here again tomorrow at 9:00 AM. Take care.