UNC-Chapel Hill provides update on fall plans
UNC-Chapel Hill Provost Robert Blouin provides an update on the school's plan to resume classes on campus next week amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the first in a series of weekly briefings where I will share updates on the Carolina Road map and the fall semester A Z. You may know we we began this process, uh, of creating at the roadmap in advance of our return in in the in the in the fall sometime in May. And we've been working very hard, very diligently ever since, Uh, make sure that we can pursue the mission of this university, the mission of research, education and public service at this university. And it is our general belief that we can do that best when we come to campus and work together. Regarding yesterday's Orange County Health Department news, we have Ah, I had a very Colegio and very collaborative relationship with the Orange County Health Department. They have worked hand in glove with us throughout the creation of our road map, as well as providing significant advice and guidance to us along the way, and many some areas of specialization which say have great expertise in. And so our campus road map is the richer for our collaboration and a partnership. And while the letter that we received from them was not an order nor a mandate for the university. Take any specific action. We do take their recommendations on their advocacy very seriously. We have a several significant changes, consistent with many of the things that that letter has outlined, including working closely with UNC HEALTHCARE to try to significantly increase the availability of testing. We have AH, limited on campus in person, classroom occupancy debt supplying the classroom to only 30%. We have reduced residential capacity Teoh, as of this morning, 64%. And we're working closely with our town partners to increase transit options to accommodate reduced bus capacity. Um, and in addition to that, we're offering increased on campus parking to alleviate the number of people who need to take who may have issues with taking public transit to campus. So met many of the things that were included in the Orange County Public Health Letter to chance of Dust Bowl. Its way had been in the process of working on Andi. Continue Teoh, too, to make good progress in that regard. So I'm gonna stop there on see if we can open it up for questions. We have two questions from David Brown with Carolina alumni review. David, are you able to on you? Okay. Sorry. Um, chancellors Message of yesterday says you have reduced housing capacity to 64%. Is the 64 because the university closed some housing toe limit capacity, or is that the result? Cancellation of housing contracts And how many have cancelled housing contract? Yeah, that's a really nice distinction, David. Thank you for the question. So we we thought that it would be better if students made the determinations more on their own rather than being directed in one way or the other. We have certainly tried Teoh Ah, and encouraged identification of the campus Onda. Number of things have been happening over a real time period. Um, and particularly towards the end of the month of July. So there was a period between the first week in July and the third week in July in which students were limited in what they could do with the guards to registration. Part of that was we were still finalizing room assignments and classroom assignments or classes and courses to those rooms and making a determined attorney a determination from a pedagogical standpoint, whether not those classes would ultimately be offered in terms of face to face or remote or some form of a hybrid. Once that information was made available to all of our students at the end of July, then students would have once again an option to opt out of their campus lease if they chose to if they were not having a classroom schedule, um, in terms of the amount of face to face that they were expecting. And so I think some of the melt that we received from the um students over the last several weeks has come as a result of that. And I Allen is on the call on Alan. Maybe you could also offer some additional insight in terms of the motivation behind the students deciding Teoh up out of their polices at this stage. Sure, thanks for the opportunity. We don't track that specifically, but certainly a students have written tow us. There's been a variety of factors. Some are choosing to study remotely. Others are choosing other kinds of to stay at home or other places because of ah, because their comfort two of them and their families for their personal situation. And so But we don't track. I don't have numbers for you in terms of how many are in each one of those categories. I can't share a couple of numbers that off of our normal fall bed count. We took two buildings off line for isolation and quarantine that gives us a total capacity this year of 78 77. And as of right now, we are at 49 90 in our bed counts. You can see there's a significant gap there between the number of beds available and the number of current contracts that we have in hand. And as the Provo suggested, that was as the direct result of the campus making a strategic move. Teoh head in that direction. Also, David Way created a new program this year called Carolina Away and Carolina Away was especially developed, designed to really enhance the remote experience for our students in the form of ah, fairly targeted grouping of class offerings primarily tailored for our incoming first year students, Um, that would enable students who for various reasons, could not come to campus but would have ah many of the campus experiences built into this program. Beyond just the teaching, of course, is so that the popularity of that has really grown beyond our initial expectations. We were originally expecting that this would attract maybe a few 100 maybe up to 500 students. But the demand for that has really grown toe well over 1000 1500 students so that that program offering has become very popular. And I know that a number of our faculty have worked really very hard toe create this particular initiative. Our next question is from Kate Murphy with the News and Observer. Hi. Um, I, uh I'm kind of curious about mostly enforcement of I know you all have developed these community standards for on campus and a lot of the concern from students and faculty and town, um, residents and leaders are you know, what students are doing when they're off campus. And I'm curious how he will, um, there's been, you know, kind of a direct ask from, um, from those leaders. You know how you will enforce facemasks, social gatherings, physical distancing off campus, and if there is really any authority that you guys have to do that or process in place, Um, for that. Thank you very much, Kate. That that is a challenging question, uh, mainly because, as you may well know, that the university has some limitations in terms of how it can enforce some of this expectations upon a students we have. Ah, we do have, as you mentioned our community standards and and we have asked every student that's going to come onto this campus. Teoh attest to their commitment. Their pledged to uphold those community standards. We've also tried to emphasize to our students the importance of the community standards that that have been identified by this university, to extend well beyond the low walls of this university and into the town of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and wherever they might be living. So we are expecting our students. Teoh, stay faithful to those standards. We're trying very hard to work with the towns, particularly town of Chapel Hill and the town of Scarborough and also with the Orange County Health Department, as we try to develop meaningful, enforceable ways to make sure that our students stay compliant as much as possible. So that is, Ah, work in progress on gear. There's some aspects of this that are easier than others, but we are working very closely with our community toe try to do better in that regard, there obviously are examples from situations in which there are there is evidence that individual students or student groups, you know are not complying with those standards. We do have, ah, mechanism by which our dean of students will will be can be notified and we will be investigating those particular campus violations or off campus violations. Our next question will be from Sara Krueger with WRL Hello, Thanks for taking my question. Thanks for doing this today, I am wondering. I have heard this morning from a U. N C parent who says that just as they were about to move into dorms today, they got notified that all of their daughters classes have been moved online. And they say they signed a contract saying they would not get a housing refund. Um, they say many others are in this position, and there is a concern that, you know, as more classes potentially move online, people will be paying for housing, whereas otherwise they would have preferred to stay home. They feel like it's a bit deceptive, and I wanted to give you all a chance to respond well first of all, thank you for that comment, and I would very much like Teoh be able to follow up with that particular student. We have extended the time in which students on families could opt out of their contracts, and I think that Alan might be able to comment on that as well. If this particular family and student wanted to opt out, I'm confident that we would be accommodating to them. The late notification of the class schedule and the uncertainty in terms of what percentage of classes would be online. It has been a moving target, I think, for most of our universities as a ZA landscape has been continuously changing with respects to the availability of rooms, the availability of back with the to teach those courses in a face to face manner. So I certainly understand the parents and the students expression of concern. And I will do everything that I can to make sure that not only this that this family is treated correctly, but also any other family that has a similar concern. And now in maybe you could comment on our willingness. Teoh, extend some of these notifications. I know that we've done that already. For many him. Yeah. So we, uh you said we have extended the deadline until August 7th. Really? For any student for any reason that wants to move off campus, sore move home or whatever they're changing circumstances are again. We're not even asking the reason. We're just asking for their student i d number. And we're canceling their contract with no financial penalty if a student's course availability in terms of whether they're offered remote face to face or hybrid changes even after the seventh. If it goes all online, we will cancel their housing contract with no penalty. All they need to do is make themselves known to us, and we will take care of that for them. Because clearly we want to give them an opportunity to reevaluate Aziz. Their schedule changes. And Alan, how they would work through student affairs in the housing division of Student Affairs toe. Make that contact, and you and you are the person in charge of that. I am. Yeah, they would just either email or call Carolina housing. Given the volume of calls, I would suggest emailing. Um and that's all on our Web site. There's a Web form on our student portal where they click. I wish to cancel, and we will reach out to them and make sure that that happens as quickly as possible. Sarah, based on your conversation with the students and the family, do you feel that that would be satisfactory to them? I have only had preliminary conversations with them. I was actually just on the phone with them before this meeting started, so I had to kind of cut my talk with them short. But yes, I I believe they were thinking through their options. And I just wanted to make sure that a refund was still possible. I believe they thought it was not so. I will pass along to them that it would be yes. Thank you. And our last question will come from Gloria Rodriguez with 80 see a weapon? Yes. I was wondering, with having as many students as you do and staff members. What will the protocol be if somebody tests positive for Kobe? 19 as faras cleaning, quarantining and all of that. If a student test positive. Is that was that? Yes, Yes. And again I will turn to Alan up in part for part of this answer. But we have a very strict protocol. Once a ah student is deemed to be positive. If the student is living on campus, uh, and they will be assigned to a room that that would be in isolation considered in the isolation dorm area, and and they would be their food would be managed separately that cleaning would be managed separately on, and they would maintain contact with our health care support staff throughout the time that they're in isolation. We then would also extend that Teoh their contacts. So once the contact tracing was performed, those individuals would be placed in quarantine until they were evaluated on. If they turned out to be negative, they would be released after a certain amount of time andan if they turned out to be positive and they too, would be placed in in isolation. And so these facilities are available and up and running. We, uh, posted the capacity of these facilities on our dashboard on a North Carolina on our, uh, Carolina Together website. And so, as a result that that should be information that is generally available to the public. It isn't outward facing dashboard and So I think that covers the majority of the point. SKorea. Allen, Did you want to add to that? I'll just extend a little bit on the wraparound care that the students receive when they're in either one of those facilities a zit was referred to. We will deliver meals to them. They will have ah, health monitoring from our health center. Our dean of students office will reach out to them. Obviously, if they have a face to face class, they're gonna need to not be present in that class for a period of time. On dso there really is Ah, high touch wraparound service that we will provide to these students because we know it is Ah, you know, a little disheartening Teoh to be in that situation. We certainly want to take care of them the best we can. And thank you, everyone for being here. We have to wind down. If we didn't get to your question today, please email us at media relations at UNC. Don't eat you Or if you have follow up questions, please email us there as well and we will get near the information that you need. Thank you so much. Thank you. All