In late October, I notified the university community that, because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in Weld County we were preparing for a probable change in our Safer at Home status based on the state’s COVID-19 dial. While the State has not yet moved Weld County to the next level, UNC has made the decision to take proactive measures for the health and well-being of our campus community. Beginning Monday, November 16, the university will officially begin to follow the state’s Safer at Home Orange guidance.
Throughout the fall semester, the university community has done a tremendous job taking appropriate precautions to protect our fellow Bears. We continue to work with public health officials, local hospital leaders, and epidemiologists to assess the ongoing situation. These important discussions help to inform our decisions as we work to limit the spread of COVID-19.
UNC must also be prepared that future restrictions may be implemented if the state moves the county to a new level or we determine that additional measures are needed to protect the health and safety of our campus community.
Campus Impacts for Safer at Home Orange
Since our last announcement, the Governor’s Office and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have adjusted some of the requirements for universities and colleges. As a result, this change will have relatively little impact on our current instructional modalities. Instead of limiting in-person and hybrid classes to 25, the new guidelines cap classes at 50 individuals. Students in courses of more than 50 people will be notified by their instructor of how modifications will be implemented. Virtual classes will remain unchanged. In our dining halls, seated dining will be limited to 50 individuals at one time, and Gourmet to Go options will continue to be available.
For faculty and staff, moving to the Orange level also means that campus offices will remain open but must reduce density from 50 to 25 percent occupancy. It is critical that we continue to provide important services to our students, such as housing, dining, Bear Central operations, registration, and advising even while we make these adjustments to on-campus staffing levels.
For a complete list of guidelines and changes as they may affect your classes or department including modifications to university operations, event capacity, and other campus impacts, see UNC’s COVID-19 Status webpage. Be sure to check the webpage on a regular basis as information may be updated. Employees will also receive more information from their supervisors regarding next steps.
Post-Thanksgiving Break Plans
As our community prepares for Thanksgiving break, we given careful consideration accommodating differences in course delivery post-Thanksgiving, from November 30 through December 11. Throughout the pandemic, our faculty have been working hard to build outstanding courses while helping students, addressing their concerns, and making accommodations for mitigating circumstances. Our classrooms continue to be safe places to learn. When we are seeing viral spread, it is usually associated with relaxed adherence to social distancing and masking guidelines.
As our faculty develop their post-Thanksgiving plans, we ask that they reach out to students by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 16 to share information about changes they may be instituting for the final two weeks of the semester, including course-by-course decisions to finish the final two weeks of the semester virtually. Provost Mark Anderson will be providing faculty with more detailed information and guidance later this week.
Campus and Residence Halls Will Remain Open
We recognize that many of our students rely on their on-campus housing as their primary residence and also know that many more prefer to remain on campus in order to access support and services through the end of the semester. Knowing this,UNC welcomes students to return to on-campus housing for the remainder of the academic year following Thanksgiving break. Dining will also remain open. Additionally, if you require winter break housing, please contact the Housing Office to arrange your plans by calling 970-351-2721.
COVID-19 continues to impact our students academically and emotionally due to uncertainty, changing learning modalities, or feelings of isolation. As they did last spring, Faculty Senate has voted to offer students the option to choose Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading for their Fall 2020 courses, with some limited exceptions. Students should check with their academic advisors to determine how S/U grading may affect them and whether it is the right decision for them at this time.The deadline for students to opt into S/U grading is December 23, 2020. More information is available online and an email will be sent by the Office of the Provost.
As the pandemic continues to require us to adapt to find new ways to be together, often not in person,it is critical that our Bears know we are here to help. Resources are in place to help students stay well and to succeed academically, and I encourage our students and faculty to visit our Student Outreach and Support webpage for more information. Please also continue to monitor our related Coronavirus websites for the latest news and information. Finally, I want to thank all of you for your continued efforts as a community. We will finish this semester strong, with student health and success at the heart of all we do.
Rowing, Not Drifting,