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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

September 10, Operational Update

September 10 Update (Watch on YouTube


President Feinstein (00:00):
Well, good morning, everybody. Thursday, September 10th and this is our weekly operation status update call. I want to thank all of you for joining us this morning. Yesterday afternoon, I delivered the state of the university address and I want to thank everyone who tuned-in for my remarks. If you missed the live stream, we will also be posting a recording of that this morning. I am also very grateful to student body president, Teresa Castro, CSC chair, Lindsey Snyder, outgoing past chair, Bryson Kelly, incoming past chair, Lisa Grimes and faculty senate chair, Oscar Levin, for joining me on the stage. I'm very proud to work alongside all of you, and thank you again for being a part of that. Also, want to thank all the folks behind the scenes who contributed to yesterday's event.

President Feinstein (00:50):
So, we are well into the third week of school, and so far we have managed to navigate the fall semester with only a handful of COVID-19 cases. And this is no accident. I want to thank everyone, students, faculty, and staff, who have taken all the right precautions to protect our collective health and safety. Thank you very much for wearing your masks, practicing responsible behavior and looking out for one another. We've got to keep this up, but our actions so far this semester, give me confidence that we can manage this. So, keep it up everyone.

President Feinstein (01:24):
And with that, I'm going to turn the floor over to associate vice-president for administration Blaine Nickeson, who's going to talk about what the current status and public health guidelines are, and conditions in Colorado. Blaine.

Blaine Nickeson (01:38):
Thank you, President Feinstein. Good morning, everyone. As you said, we're approaching the end of the third week of the fall semester and the impacts of COVID upon the UNC campus remain manageable. They're not nonexistent, but they're manageable. That's not to say we haven't been impacted, sure, but rather than the planning we did over the summer and through the summer has been effective thus far in managing our campus impacts. And as you said, the choices that individuals are making and the responsibility that they're taking has made a difference. We sent out the weekly newsletter yesterday evening, with detailed updates on our COVID status at UNC. While these numbers change frequently as new test results come back and people complete quarantines and all those types of things. For the last week's reporting period, we had four members of the campus community test positive for COVID-19. That was among the 64 tests conducted at the student health center, plus a number conducted by off campus healthcare providers. Many of our folks choose to go to their personal doctor, if they're feeling under the weather.

Blaine Nickeson (02:40):
Of the approximately 80 isolation and quarantine rooms, we have set aside in our residence hall system, nine were being utilized. Only one of those was due to isolation for a positive case, the remaining rooms were being used for quarantine. As a reminder, because I know this can get confusing if you're not speaking the lingo every day, like I am. Isolation is what you do when you've been confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. So, isolation is your a confirmed case. Quarantine as a preventative measure, if you had close contact with a known positive case or you're symptomatic and awaiting test results. Across the campus community, including faculty, staff, and students, both living on campus and off, we had 40 people that were either in isolation due to a positive case or undergoing the quarantine because they had been in close contact with a positive case or they were symptomatic and waiting for those test results.

Blaine Nickeson (03:33):
A piece of good news, is that PCR test results that we've been doing at the health center have been coming back quickly, usually as fast as 24-hours, but definitely within two days, it seems like. And that's due to get even better as we're working to bring rapid test capabilities online, in the very close future. Last week, I mentioned the proposed new dial tiering system for activity restrictions from the governor's office, and the state public health department. Due to some of the concerns from President Feinstein and his peers about the impacts upon higher education, there was a small working group convened last Friday, with just a few representatives from higher education, myself included as UNC's rep, as well as staff from the governor's office, the CDPHE, and the Colorado Department of Higher Ed.

Blaine Nickeson (04:21):
And based upon that meeting, we came up with draft higher ed language that would allow us the flexibility to deliver certain classes in person, even if we have to go back to a much more restrictive set of state guidelines. We know there are just some classes that don't make sense for remote delivery and our peers in that meeting from the CU system echoed the same thing. It's really hard to teach med school or dental school via Zoom. One of the points I was making in that meeting was, that holding classes is one of the lower risk activities that we actually do on a college campus. We're all wearing masks, we're distancing six feet apart. We're in rooms that we at UNC, have set up with a limited capacity and that we're cleaning frequently. So, these are pretty low risk activities compared to some of the other things that happen on or around the campus. I hope everyone had a relaxing yet responsible labor day weekend. I saw a few concerning examples in my own neighborhood of people making poor choices, having large barbecues and get togethers and masking and distancing were not a part of that.

Blaine Nickeson (05:27):
State leaders are really worried about holiday weekends and other major events occurring through the fall. These can be super spreader type of events or time periods. And if you think about it, in the fall here, we've got Halloween, election day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, all happening before 2020 ends. So, we're going to have to remain disciplined as hard as it is. Related to labor day, it'll take about another week from today before we would see any trend impacts in case counts, but we'll be watching that closely, as we do with the data frequently. I'll go ahead and turn it back over to you, President Feinstein. That's all I have this morning.

President Feinstein (06:08):
Thanks Blaine, and now let's hear from Katrina Rodriguez, our vice-president for student affairs, Katrina.

Katrina Rodriguez (06:14):
Good morning, everybody, hope you're doing well. The weather's clearing up a little, so that's always nice. I have a number of items I want to share this morning. Yesterday, the student newsletter went out, sent to all UNC students with events and important dates and a great video about Bears wearing masks. So, we'll show that at the end of my report here. So, tonight at six o'clock, I think this is a cool program from Outdoor Pursuits, and they talk about leave your computer behind and grab your hammock or rent one from Outdoor Pursuits. And they're going to do some in-person discussions and guest speakers and stuff. So, I think that sounds really relaxing. And now that the weather's better, that should be a lot of fun. So tonight, if folks want to contact Outdoor Pursuits, they can be a part of that.

Katrina Rodriguez (07:02):
The other thing that's really exciting is, our dining services has launched a UNC dining passport contest. We want students to know what the array of dining options are here on campus, where there are hot meals, where they're grab and go. And so, they're have a contest for students to swipe into all of the different locations, and then there will be a drawing for various prizes for students to receive. So, I think that's really neat. So, swipe in a chow down Bears, that's going to be fun. Okay. Also tomorrow, Friday, there's a virtual part-time student employment fair. So we invite employers, both on campus and off campus to have positions available. Students can talk to the employers directly. It's virtual of course, but be able to have appointments to talk with various employers. And employers might take applications, conduct the interviews. They might extend job offers right on the spot.

Katrina Rodriguez (08:02):
So students who want to be a part of that, please check in with Career Readiness Center. Also, you can go through Handshake, which is an app we use here. They also will be looking at some work study positions as well. So for those who have work study, that's a great opportunity. Friends and family weekend will be happening on September 25th through the 27th. It will be virtual this year, just to again, safety reasons. So, some of the events are that you can find on the UNC calendar, are trivia night, there's a workshop on gratitude, which sounds really neat. Another one on learning the 10 competencies for maximizing communication skills, again, another really good workshop. And then there'll be an improv performance via a group called Chaos, which is a group of ... it's a student troop that does improv. So I bet that's really cool.

Katrina Rodriguez (08:59):
The other thing is on October 1, so just less than a month away, the FASFA will open on the first, that's the free application for federal student aid. And so, we would ask students to submit as early as possible. It just increases your ... getting your aid all packaged for next year and seeing those kinds of things. So October 1, is when that starts. The other thing, I think that's really so important right now, as we head into election season in I don't know, eight weeks or so, that the voter registration campaign that we are working with the [inaudible 00:09:40] County Recorder. And this year, our campaign is called Make Your Vote Count.

Katrina Rodriguez (09:45):
So student athletes, and a number of other interested students, will be launching a voter registration challenge, so, that information will be forthcoming. Folks can go to govotecolorado.gov, and see what all the ... make sure your address is updated and make sure you're registered to vote on that site. There are also some pay temporary positions as election judges. So, if folks are interested in that sort of part-time opportunity, please go ahead and check govotecolorado.gov.

Katrina Rodriguez (10:22):
So finally, I want to share a video with you all. (https://unc.link/bearscare) This was created by students for students and it lives on our UNC YouTube website. And I think you'll enjoy what students have to say. So Dan, if you could cue us up.

Speaker 4 (10:45):
Hey Bears, be ready to mask up this semester. For me, I'm wearing a mask to protect anybody that has an auto suppressant or underlying health conditions that would make it hard for them to stay protected from the virus. Stay healthy and stay safe.

Speaker 5 (11:00):
You can look at it like this, wearing is caring. Thank you.

Speaker 6 (11:03):
I wear my mask not only to protect myself, but to protect other people and to care for people.

Speaker 7 (11:10):
The reason I wear a mask, is because I care about everyone around me. When you see me out in public on campus, wearing my colorful mask and keeping my social distance, that means that I'm saying that I care about each and every one of you. Additionally, many studies show that consistently wearing your mask in public and keeping your social distance, reduces the rate of coronavirus transmission significantly. And finally, I wear my mask, because it's yet another way that I can express my individuality.

Speaker 8 (11:38):
Hey y'all, I'm here to tell you that wearing a mask is caring about others.

Speaker 9 (11:43):
I'm just here to remind you all to wear your mask. And the reason that I wear my mask, is not only to protect myself, but to protect others around me and [inaudible 00:11:52] maybe compromised.

Speaker 10 (11:54):
One of the reasons that I like to wear a mask, one to protect myself because I'm at risk, I have asthma. And the second reason is, because I want to take care of my fellow Bears and do my part in making sure that our community is safe and healthy. Thank you.

Speaker 11 (12:11):
Hi Bears, as we go back to school, I just want to raise awareness of how important it is for us to wear our masks. I am wearing my mask, because I think it's important to help stop the spread of the virus. I think not only does it benefit us, it benefits everyone around us. We don't know everyone's health conditions, we don't know necessarily what they've been through with this virus. So, if we can do our part in wearing our masks, we could get back to being able to see each other smiles one day. Thanks, Bears.

Speaker 12 (12:40):
Slow down the virus together. And wear a mask.

Speaker 13 (12:43):
I wear a mask in public to be able to protect the health of those who may be immuno suppressant or have underlying health conditions that may put them more at risk for contracting the virus.

Speaker 14 (12:53):
I show love and respect to others by wearing a mask. If we all wore masks, we would see a decline of COVID-19 cases every day. When I wear a mask, I'm telling people I care that they are safe. And when others wear a mask, I know that they're taking my life seriously. So, how about we put on our mask today and every day, until we can finally bring it into this pandemic once and for all. Put on your mask and let's show our fellow Bears that we care. So you on campus.

Katrina Rodriguez (13:29):
Thank you to our students and staff who put that together and sharing how they care for themselves and others. So, back to you, Andy.

President Feinstein (13:41):
Thanks, Katrina. And I loved all the creativity, those masks that we saw, there was some really interesting ones that I guess I got to up my game on my mask. I just have the plain old light blue one. But thank you for the presentation. Thank you all for joining us today. And as always stay safe, be healthy and we'll see you here again next Thursday. Take care, everybody.