President Smatresk hosted a Reopening Update Town Hall for faculty and staff Aug. 4, which included information about the fall semester, how our UNT community is preparing campus and what processes we will follow to help keep our community safe and healthy.
In addition to President Smatresk, several university leaders shared updates about the plans for Fall 2020:
- Jennifer Cowley, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
- Elizabeth With, Vice President for Student Affairs
- Cynthia Hermann, Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Center
- Brandi Renton, Associate Vice President for Administrative Services
- Katy McDaniel, Senior Director for UNT Human Resources
- Jim Berscheidt, Vice President of University of Brand Strategy and Communications
Faculty and staff who would still like to submit a comment or question can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNT’s Reopening Update Town Hall Transcript - Aug. 4, 2020
Jim Berscheidt, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Communications: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the President's Reopening Update Town Hall. I'm Jim Berscheidt, Vice President of University Brand Strategy and Communications, and I will once again serve as the moderator for this event, which will be about an hour in length.
Today's town hall is similar to previous ones — we have several administrators who will be sharing information regarding further reopening and plans that have been developed over the last few months then we'll have a Q and A for about the last 30 minutes of our time together. The questions have been submitted in advance. You can also use the Q and A feature to submit questions, and we'll also have the ability for you to raise your hand. Many of you have probably done that during webinars and other meetings to be able to ask a live question, and if you do that then I will call on you and unmute you so that you can ask it live and then I'll re-mute your microphone when the answer is being given. If you have any questions about logging in or if you're having trouble logging in, any of your friends who have not made it in, be sure and let them know that you can watch the live stream on the UNT YouTube channel, and as a reminder, the captioned video and the PowerPoint slides will be posted later this week on the president's website. And finally, we also have an American Sign Language interpreter who is joining us today.
Our presenters are UNT President Neal Smatresk, Provost Jennifer Cowley, Vice President of Student Affairs Elizabeth With, Dr. Cynthia Hermann, Executive Director of the Student Health and Wellness Center, Brandi Renton, Associate Vice President for Administrative Services, and Dave Reynolds, Associate Vice President for Facilities. So now let's get started with the presentation. I'd like to turn it over to the president.
President Neal Smatresk: Well hello everybody, and welcome. I'm glad you're here and we have a lot to talk about. Quite a few things have changed since the last time that we ran this, and I just want to start with a simple statement. This next month may be the most important and challenging month in our history. We face uncertainties around enrollment, the next round of stimulus funding, and of course, the changing impacts of COVID and the pandemic here in North Texas. So we'll be talking about quite a few things here. If I could have the next slide, Jim.
So, first we'll talk a little bit about what's changed since our last town hall and we'll go over our reopening plans, our health alerts at unt.edu, which is where our plan is approved, and we'll talk a little bit about our approval process for the plan. I'll talk briefly about CARES Act funding, the new HEALS Act legislation, which we'll cover at the end of this, a little bit about UNT athletics, our enrollments as we're rolling into the fall, and just a brief — I won't be really delving into planning for spring 2021, it's too early to really register that information right now, but I just want you to know that we're already working on it. We're already looking at schedules and options for how we can run a safe spring, given the uncertainties that we face today. We have to make those decisions sometime in the next two months in order to get all the classes scheduled so we last discussed our reopening plans on July 17, and a lot has changed since then. Masks are now mandatory, research is in full swing, we've been offering face-to-face instruction in Summer II and we've completed our fall move-in and classroom plans. Today we're going to go over our capabilities and plans for things like testing and tracing, our Return to Learn plans for face-to-face instruction this fall, how we've worked operations at our physical plant as well as a discussion on residential life, dining and events. Now, as I said before, most of what you see today has been added to our updated reopening plan and you can access that at healthalerts.unt.edu. And it's important for you to know that the health alerts plan has been improved — approved by our advisory groups, and particularly by our Safety and Incident Management group and our Advisory Leads groups, the Cabinet and the UNT System Board of Regents just last Friday approved our return plans. But it's updated continuously as conditions evolve.
So, a few things that I'm going to get to before I start the reopening guide and talking about the restart groups, I just want to give you some good news. Our summer enrollment was up over 16 percent this year, a terrific increase in enrollment partly probably because we waived some fees, partly because students are looking, as they're in place, in home, in completing their academic assignments and graduating faster. So some good news around summer enrollment. Now, here's the real surprise. We anticipated fall enrollment would be deeply impacted by COVID, where right now we're bucking that trend. In fact, right now it looks like fall enrollment could be up as much as two or three percent based off same time next year. Now, there's still a hundred uncertainties. We're worried about melt, we're worried about a whole lot of things. We know that our first time in college enrollment's down significantly, our transfer enrollment is down quite significantly, but master’s enrollment is up dramatically and international enrollment is holding quite good — it’s at around 82, 83 right now, which is greater than we expected. The reason that's really important is because enrollment has a powerful impact on mitigating the budget reductions that we're currently facing, and so I just want a bit of good news in here. I really have to say our enrollment management group and our student accounting groups have done an absolutely terrific job recruiting in a virtual environment, and students still choose UNT as a top choice because of all that we have to offer and because of the plans that we've made for fall.
I also want to point out that we're supporting our athletes. They've been back on campus now for quite a while, most of them — the ones that will be appearing in the sports that start later in the fall and early in the spring — will all be back on campus in the next week or two. We won't be gearing up for competition until September, but I'm going to put a big asterisk by that. All the conferences are making major moves, a lot of them are playing conference-only play, and so without belaboring it, we're watching carefully to see if we will have a fall season. Right now the presumption is we will, and we're following all NCAA guidelines and CDC guidelines for how we run those events. So we're going to be continuing to work with our advisory groups and other partners on what the spring semester is going to look like. We want to be flexible to ensure that we're reopening in the safest way possible. We'll also continue to be flexible on how we open in the fall. I think it's really important for you to note we're tracking conditions literally daily. We're having daily conversations about things, and if we see something that surprises us we'll respond to it. We won't hesitate.
Finally, before I jump into the rest of the presentation, so many of you have worked so very hard, whether you've been telecommuting or whether you've been here on campus, whether you've been teaching courses remotely or face-to-face, as we've done in our last summer where we had 13 face-to-face classes, I want to give all of you a heartfelt thanks. You've been working really hard, and I appreciate our faculty and staff because you've managed so well through this pandemic. I want you to know that the five advisory groups that we've charged with getting us ready have done an amazing job and they've put in many overtime hours to get us to where we are today.
So with that, let's take a look at our reopening guiding committees, and I've covered this previously in board meetings. Would you flip back, please, Jim? Thank you. We have our Academic Affairs Restart Group, which is led—by the way, the acronym Academic Affairs Advisory Restart Group spells ‘AARG,’ something that many of us have felt at different times during this pandemic — led by Jennifer Cowley and Adam Fein, our Operations and Physical Plant Advisory Group is led by David Reynolds, our Research Advisory Group by Mark McClellan our Safety and Incident Management Group by Steve Maruszewski and Brandi Renton, and our Student Life Advisory Group by Deb Rohwer and Elizabeth With. Now the next slide. Thank you. Just so you know, the process by which everything that we do is approved is quite rigorous. Each advisory group meets weekly, some meet twice a week, to discuss issues and make recommendations. Those recommendations all get gathered by the advisory group leads, they discuss them, they come up with recommendations that come to me. I take those recommendations to Cabinet and, if we approve them, they’re then implemented. If there isn’t an agreement in the leads group the recommendation goes for further discussion to Cabinet, but generally the groups worked incredibly collaboratively and we've been embracing CDC guidelines and all of the relevant features of how we reopen our university. The next slide, Jim.
All right. So what have we done this past summer? Well, we began prepping for the reopening of all our major offices. Most major offices have a very limited schedule and telecommuting is still the rule of the day rather than the exception, although this varies from division to division because there's some things that can't be done remotely. Research laboratories have opened. Virtual orientations began. Individualized instruction spaces opened. Fall face—the fall face-to-face schedule is finalized. Coaches and student-athletes return to campus. Physical barriers have been put in place. We began to determine who can teach and be on campus in person. We've had training for remote and online continued—training for remote and online faculty continued. It turns out that, so far, over 1,400 faculty members have taken some form of training on how to improve remote and online delivery. Great shout out to the faculty who've gone the extra distance to make their courses great for our students even if they are remote. And we've launched a COVID 19 hotline June 10, and we have community members who understand the symptoms, testing information and results who can give you guidance if you have a question. Don't be afraid to call the number, it's listed on this slide: 844-366-5892, or email COVID at unt dot edu. Next slide.
So, it's August, and as we move into the fall semester we'll have a Board of Regents meeting kicking off this, just the Thursday and Friday prior to getting ready to embrace our students as they come onto campus. Division plans for each office should be complete, including virtual and in-person services where needed. Some people have said, why do we have anybody coming back on campus? Well the big difference between spring and fall and now is that we'll have students on campus, and students on campus require some care and some attention. And so where it's and needed where it's necessary, we'll have students on our campus, or — excuse me, we'll have faculty and staff members on our campus to help address students’ questions live as needed, in a safe way. We're ready for student move-in to residence halls and we're scaling dining services to support the expected campus population. Our classes are going to commence August 24 at this time. All group events are currently on hold, and I think this is important to note. We don't approve any unauthorized large-scale events. We don't approve gathering of our Greek society in large scale. We’re following the governor's guidelines. Classes will meet, limited activities in the residence halls will meet, and aside from that, we won't be holding group events or mass events. Sports attendance is going to depend on guidance provided by the CUSA and the State of Texas, and classes will all go remote after Thanksgiving. Next slide.
I've talked a lot about the Safety and Incident Management Group, ably led by Steve Maruszewski and Brandi Renton, and I think now it's important for you to get an update from them for what's been going on. And so I thank you for this, and I turn it over now to Brandi Renton. Thank you all.
Brandi Renton, Associate Vice President for Administrative Services: President Smatresk, thank you for the opportunity to participate In today's town hall. Our advisory group has been working incredibly diligently to develop protocols and practices to support a safe return for our campus this fall. It's been a multifaceted approach and has required incredible collaboration among all of our groups, all of our advisory groups and all of our colleagues across the institution and across the system. In addition to following health guidelines and CDC and our state guidelines, we've asked you — all of you on the on the town hall, many of you have provided feedback to help us address a safe return this fall. We will continue to do that and we want to thank you for providing ideas and feedback.
I'm going to walk you through just a couple key initiatives that we have and then we're going to talk a little bit about face coverings. So our Safety and Incident Management Group has reviewed over 120 campus reopening plans, and what I can tell you from looking at all of those plans is that all of our colleagues across this institution have been very thoughtful in developing the plans that they've put together to ensure a safe return. It's very clear to us that they have safety in the forefront of their mind and have been very responsive and supportive in any of our feedback and any of our requests as we've gone back and worked with them. We've also, as the president mentions, we've launched two COVID-19 training modules for all of our employees — that’s faculty, staff, student employees and graduate assistants. As of this past weekend, our student training is live in Canvas and we ask that all of our students take that before returning this fall. We are in the process of developing supervisor-specific COVID training in the future. We've heard you—we've heard a lot of questions, specifically from supervisors, and we're working with our partners in HR and in the Office of Disability Access—that there are supervisors asking very specific questions around how do they address return to work and reopening and PPE and very specific things. So we want to make sure that we provide a solution that best supports them as well. If you, your staff, your employees or anybody has questions about our training please feel free to email asktrainingunt.edu and I guarantee that Jerri and Ashley would be happy to help you through anything, any questions you have.
President Smatresk just addressed events and mentioned that we don't have any events in the very near future that we've approved at this point. But what our committee went ahead and did is we took a proactive approach. In the in the future, when we do have events, we've developed an event safety form and that's to allow the facilitator or the originator of the event to put forth their plan to ensure proper social distancing, face covering, PPE, ingress/egress into buildings, all — anything you would imagine during an activity or event. So we've asked, we've got that out there. That's going to work very much in conjunction with the Student Life Group as they oversee events that are submitted for the future.
And last but certainly not least, this is a very new initiative that's launching in the next week and it's our COVID dashboard. So on the next slide you're going to see a snapshot of what our dashboard looks like — and this is really to support transparency and for you to be able to see how we're tracking active COVID-19 cases, those cases relating to a student or an employee that either directly impact our campus community or indirectly impact our campus community. So be on the lookout — this is going to launch in the next week or so, and I suspect we'll probably get that in UNT Today so you can take a look at it on our health alert site.
All right: face coverings. So, as the president mentioned, the last time we saw you, face coverings weren't required, they were strongly recommended. That did change shortly afterwards because of the changing climate. So face coverings are now required at UNT in all buildings and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. They're also required in most situations in the classroom. So we have distributed hundreds of the different types of face coverings, including face shields where they're appropriately — where they can appropriately be utilized, to all the colleges and all the variety of departments across campus. So they should be out there. We have plenty on hand for our students as well. If you do not have one or you're in need of one, please feel free to notify your supervisor, or if you're in an academic unit please notify your department chair or your college PPE officer and they can email AskRMS@unt.edu and they would be happy to make sure that we get you the accommodations that you need for face coverings.
Let me mention the appropriate use of face shields. So the face shields are generally not recommended by the CDC as a replacement for face coverings. However, we do have some very unique situations on campus that would not allow individuals to wear a face mask or face covering at all, so a face shield has been recommended. On the right-hand side of your screen you'll see a picture, an image of a faculty member playing a flute and he's wearing a face shield. The alternative is no face covering at all, so we've allowed the face shield as an option and we've also allowed it in, we also have approved it in a classroom setting as long as the individual lecturing to the class can remain at least six feet from all students. It is not recommended outside of that and the other settings that we have authorized is in our clinic settings where use of a face shield is more appropriate than a face covering.
On the right-hand side you see a couple other options that we have: we have an opaque mask and we have clear masks as well, clear masks for situations and classes such as our IELLI — Intensive English Language classes, I'll just say it like that. And that is so you can see the enunciation where necessary. We do understand that there are individuals in our community that, for specific health reasons, may not be able to wear the traditional opaque mask but may be able to wear a different type of face covering. I'll talk about that in just a moment. So, we ask that they reach out to ODA or employees reach out to HR.
And now, the really exciting thing I get to tell you about. So, in the midst of all this other work that we've been doing, we partnered with the Division of Student Affairs, with Melissa McGuire and her team, and they launched a face covering graphic design contest. And what you see at the bottom right is our, is our winner — one of our students — and that was the mask that was selected as the winner. We have purchased some — there will be a few weeks till they get here. All of our resident students will be receiving one of these face coverings and we look forward to getting them on campus and seeing them around.
Now we do know that all this being said around face coverings, there have been a lot of questions around compliance and enforcement. So at this time we don't have any definitive guidelines around when to enforce or if you should ask a student to leave a classroom or an employee to leave a building, but we are continuing to develop our guidelines and scenarios and some tools to support you in these conversations. But what I do want you to remember today is that our institution is one that's caring. We're a place of kindness and instruction. And so we ask that if you do see individuals — whether it be in the classroom, across campus, in a building, in the Union — we just ask that you kindly approach them and remind them about our guidelines. If you have an extra face covering on you offer it to them or just generally identify where they could go to get one. So we recognize in the classroom, that that may not always work, so maybe be thinking about some creative solutions as far as asking the student maybe to sit in the back of the room. I think what you're hearing today is that we want you to be able to think and help us with some creative solutions to support individuals. Of course, if the situation becomes disruptive or the individual's rude or confrontational there, of course, there's other options out there in resources such as student conduct or Human Resources. Next slide, please.
And last but not least, UBSC has worked with us to create these really great guidelines and visuals of how to appropriately wear a mask, how to cover your face appropriately, how not to cover it appropriately — inappropriately — and how to remove it, and how to take care of your face covering. So this is a great tool it's out on the health alert site and it's there for anybody that might want to print it off or take it or show others. Next slide.
And I mentioned that I would just briefly talk about or individuals in our community that may not be able to wear the face coverings that we have available or may have to have a different option. And so for all of those students and/or employees, faculty, staff or graduate students we do have other options. We have bandanas, they always have the option for a scarf, and we have a different variety of face coverings available should they need it.
But I do encourage you if you have an employee or you yourself are in a situation where face covering is not appropriate for the condition that you have or you need an alternative option, I would ask that you reach out to Human Resources and they can help you talk through that conversation and get you through the appropriate process. And if you have a student, the same situation except we'd ask that you refer them and support them through the Office of Disability Access for students. Next slide. And with that, I am going to turn it over to our colleague Dr. Cynthia Hermann, and she's going to get an opportunity to talk about our tracing and testing.
Cynthia Hermann, Executive Director of the Student Health and Wellness Center: Thanks so much, Brandi. I appreciate that. Thank you, Dr. Smatresk, for having us here today so that we can update everybody on all the exciting things that have been going on here on campus. Next slide.
As President Smatresk mentioned earlier, we did launch the COVID Hotline in the beginning of June and that has been a wonderful resource for faculty, staff, students, even parents — anyone who needs some information about COVID-19 and especially UNT’s response to that. We've had tons of phone calls. We ask that people contact the hotline if they have any questions at all that we can help to provide guidance on. That would include exposure, symptoms, information about testing, information about test results. So it's really been a fantastic resource and something that I’m really proud to be a part of, and helps just kind of show everyone what COVID-19's impact has been here on university operations. There's also an email that is available as well, and those two numbers are located on your slide there for you to be able to find.
We're asking everybody in the UNT community to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 every day prior to coming to campus. There's a long list of symptoms, we're asking folks to use those, look at those and decide if you have anything before you come to campus. We're also expecting folks to take their temperatures before coming to campus. If you're ever not sure about the symptoms or wondering if anything new has been added, please just check the CDC website or also our health alerts page to look for anything new as far as symptom monitoring goes. If you do have any symptoms, we ask that you not come to campus. We also ask that you not come to campus if you have received positive test results or if you are awaiting your test results. If a student comes to you and they express that they are not feeling well, they're ill or you can visibly see that they're sick, please direct them to the Student Health and Wellness Center. We can get them an appointment, get them evaluated by a medical provider and do what we can to get them feeling better. I've seen lots of emails with students emailing their professors or students emailing their supervisor saying they aren't feeling well. One of the quickest and easiest things to do is just reply, ‘I suggest you make an appointment at the SHWC and we can get you fixed up.’ Next slide.
There's a lot of talk around testing and tracing, and so one of the things that we've been heavily involved in developing is a contact tracing team. Right now the contact tracing team consists of about seven to eight full-time staff members that are dedicated to doing case investigation and contact tracing. We also have approximately 50 members who have been trained and are ready and available to offer support as needed. We'll go through some definitions here in just a little bit but a couple of things here to keep in mind: If someone has a positive test or if someone has symptoms and they're waiting on test results, those folks are asked to self-isolate. We'll talk about what that is in just a second. If someone is identified in a close — as a close contact, we're asking those folks to self-quarantine. I think in the beginning of all this we used those terms very interchangeably, but they do have different meanings and mean different things, and so it's important to try to keep those straight if we can. Once someone has been identified as having a positive test, one of our case investigators reached out to that person and conducted a very thorough and confidential interview. And in that, we're asking lots of different questions. We're asking about last time they were, on campus who they may have been around, living situations, roommates, things like that. One of the questions that we ask that we really need to know some answers to is if they have had any close contact with anyone during their infectious period—again, we'll go through those definitions on the next slide there so everyone knows that we're talking about the same things. Once a student has been diagnosed, and we've conducted that case investigation, we reach out to the Registrar, and we get that person's class schedule. We see where they may have been on campus, what classes they've attended in person, what classes they've had remotely, etc. From there, someone from the Student Health and Wellness Center reaches out to faculty members, and at that point in time is where we ask for seating charts and attendance records. I believe the provost will speak to that later in this presentation but those are going to be a really wonderful tool that we are going to have available to us that will help greatly in the process of contact tracing for COVID and identifying those close contacts and folks that might need to quarantine. Next slide.
So I'm going to go over the important terms here on the slide first just so that everyone can make sure that we are discussing the same things. So the CDC provided us some very strict definitions, and they have really helped a lot as far as what we need to do and actions that we need to take. So someone is identified as a close contact if they are within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes and that is two days before the person's symptoms started there. So that really does help a lot as far as to figure out who close contacts might be. Close contacts don't matter if you have, it doesn't matter if you have a mask or you aren't wearing a mask, if you meet that definition above, you are identified as a close contact. The 15-minute time mark there, it's important to note that is a cumulative time and not just, you know, specific isolated incidences, but 15 minutes total.
Next, we get lots of questions about the difference between isolation and quarantine. People who are isolated are people who have symptoms or people who have tested positive, and we know that they are infectious to other folks. And so the goal is to kind of remove them from the environment and get them away from other people to decrease the risk of passing this infection along. So if you just remember, if you're sick or positive, you're in isolation. When we talked about those close contacts in the definition above there, those folks are asked to quarantine. Those persons may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19, they may or may not get a positive test. We don't know that, but we want to be as conservative as possible and take those folks out of the general population as well, so that if they were to develop symptoms or were to convert over to positive, that they haven't still been around other folks and potentially affecting more people. There are different timelines for isolation versus quarantine. If you're in a situation where you need to know one or the other, again that's a question that the COVID hotline or the COVID email can help you out with. But just know there are distinct differences between the two. We'll get back up here to the other bullet points there. We talked about having the case interview, case investigation, with the person who tested positive. We're asking that person to identify anybody who meets the definition of a close contact. Those potential close contacts are then notified directly by a member of our contact tracing team. All the notification is done in a very thoughtful and confidential manner. We never reveal the identity of the positive case — this is something that is personal and, you know, we need to let folks know of their potential impact but we do not disclose any names or identifying information. During our conversations with potential contacts, we'll go over things such as the need to self-quarantine, what that looks like, what are the specifics involved in quarantine. We discuss the time period, we discuss testing information, we talk about looking for symptoms, things that they need to keep an eye on and when they need to seek medical care.
The next step in the process is facilities will be notified and we can, they can provide appropriate sanitation for any areas that need to be addressed. We're also in the process of developing a video that faculty can show their classes at the beginning to let them know that there has been a positive case in class. Just because they're a positive case in class does not mean that every person in that class is going to be identified as a close contact, it does not mean that the entire class is going to have to quarantine or be, you know, removed or anything like that. This is just a way to let folks know this has happened, this has gone on. Direct close contacts are going to be contacted directly by one of our members, they're going to know, but this is just a way to provide information to the class in general so there aren't any questions or concerns. It's a way for us to be transparent. This is something that has happened in the past. In person, I would go from room to room talking about people, letting them know of the positive case symptoms that they might expect, reminding people that they can come to the Student Health and Wellness Center for medical care, etc. We've done this before in the instance of tuberculosis or measles, mumps, other communicable diseases. The decision was made to go with a video this time because we, you know, might not have enough of me to go around to go to different classrooms to tell everybody about what might be going on in classes. So I think a video is a great idea, and we're actually going to be shooting that later on this week. Next slide.
Lastly, I'd like to talk a little bit about information about testing. At the Student Health and Wellness Center, we do have the capability to do rapid antigen tests for students. Results are ready within 15 minutes and this is very helpful as far as making decisions on students who do need to isolate, students who may need to move out of dorms and into isolation spaces, etc. We are asking that faculty and staff, if you have questions about your medical concerns or medical conditions, that you reach out to your primary health care provider, your PCP, for further medical advice. If you have been identified by one of our contact tracers as someone that is a close contact of a positive case, we will reach out to you to let you know. We'll also provide you information about testing available here at the Student Health and Wellness Center that will be free of charge for close contacts. Denton County Health Department also hosts periodic COVID testing. You can visit their website and look for more information. You can also get testing at lots of different locations around the area — CVS, a lot of the rapid med centers and things like that have testing capabilities as well.
One thing that is really important to note and it can be very confusing … if you've been identified as a close contact and you come in and you have a test and your test is negative, that does not mean that it changes your quarantine requirements, it doesn't mean that you get out of quarantine or you don't have to spend that time separated and off campus. We know that the quarantine period is 14 days and that allows for the incubation period, so to speak, for the virus. So a negative test doesn't mean, it means you don't have it right then, but it doesn't mean that it might not develop in the future. So that's just a little important thing to note there. Next slide. And next, I will turn it over to Dave Reynolds. Thank you.
David Reynolds, Associate Vice President for Facilities: Good afternoon. Thank you, Dr. Hermann. Lots of activities going on across our campus right now as you can imagine with 7 million square feet ,170 plus facilities, there are things going on a little bit of everywhere. The good news is we're not alone in trying to plan for the activities that we need to do to get the campus ready for reopening — working with a lot of different professional societies and comparing notes with other universities and organizations. Most of us are taking a common approach, and it's a multi-prong approach, so you're not relying on any one single action to help with safety and health concerns. You can see on this list, we're looking at reducing densities so things like reducing the number of people who are in buildings for instance. Obviously, reducing rooms, we won't have as many classrooms in use this fall, and I'll talk more about several of these: increasing the ventilation, outside air in our spaces, managing humidity filtration, disinfecting and cleaning, and then of course it all comes down to all of us wearing masks. That is probably the most important thing that we can, we can really foot stomp. Finally, I'll mention communications and this occurs in two ways. One, the amount of communication that's been going on across the university community for the last five, six months is pretty amazing, the collaboration, and we've been very reliant on these cross-functional teams that the president mentioned. These advisory groups’ amazing sharing of information that's helped all of us do a better job of being ready to open this fall. The second piece of communications is your individual communications — reading, understanding, attending town halls like this but making sure you understand what's going on around you and communicating it to other people who may have missed the information. Next slide.
You can see here on safety, we've got a lot of social distancing signs that have been put out around the campus. Again, with 7 million square feet, sometimes it doesn't look like a lot of signs but right now we're approaching 3,000 signs or placards that have been placed around the campus and there's more to come. You're going to see hand sanitizing stations in buildings, mainly at the entrances of those buildings, but also up in some of the halls as you come off of elevators and stairwells. You're going to find bottles of hand sanitizer placed in common areas, lobbies for instance. You're going to be inconvenienced a little bit because water fountains are turned off but if there's a bottle fill station with that water fountain, and the plumbing will allow it, the bottle fill stations will still be on. To protect the campus as well throughout the summer, we've been flushing the plumbing systems in the buildings because while we're all focused on COVID, we've still got to worry about keeping chlorine residuals in our building, basically keep the water in the pipe safe so you can open and use those pipes and get water. And finally, we've even marked the elevators. As you approach your favorite elevators now, you're going to see the occupancies have been reduced. Most elevators are reduced down to two people per elevator, some they're smaller or down to one. Next slide.
If you're a child of the ’70s and you've heard the song “Signs, Signs Everywhere There's Signs,” you're going to see signs. Working very closely with UBSC, we've got this great Scrappy-themed sign campaign across the campus. You're going to see lots and lots of these. Next slide. And next slide.
Air filtration is a hot topic for a lot of people — what's going on with air conditioners? And this is an ever-changing topic. We've gone throughout the summer with guidance from professional organizations ranging from “replace all your filters immediately” to “don't replace your filters immediately, a dirty filter actually helps catch viruses and small particles” to now it's “upgrade the types of filters if your equipment will allow it.” So there's been lots of changes there. We're staying abreast of all the guidance from ASHRAE, which is American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, as well as APPA, which is a university professional facility management organization. Things that we've done, we’ve modified outside air, so we're bringing in more outside air and all the spaces that can handle that, but at the same time balancing humidity controls because there's a sweet spot for helping with COVID control, and that's outside air and certain humidity ranges. We're able to monitor those systems because most of our buildings have automated control systems that we can monitor remotely. I mentioned filters, this is a picture on the right side of a crew replacing filters, which we do on a routine basis anyway, but now we're going back and replacing them with a higher efficiency set of filters. And finally, we're looking at various air-cleaning technologies like ultraviolet and bipolar ionization, we've actually got some bipolar ionization that we'd installed a few years ago in a couple of buildings, and we've actually got even more of that coming on board now. So some great technologies that are out there for our use. Next slide.
Socially-distanced classrooms — there's a lot of work that's gone into the classrooms. The next few slides will cover this. So space management and the facilities team have been working off CDC guidance to really come up with a new way to use our furniture, realign our spaces, and working with the Learning Strategies Committee to really make sure we're doing the right thing in our classrooms. Enrollment caps have been modified, and I'll show you an example in a few minutes of a floor diagram. Classroom seating is generally 6 feet between students — that was the mark we went for. Some cases, you may find some specialized spaces like music where there's even more space between students. You're going to find tape marks on the floor, you'll see that in a picture in a few minutes, and that tape will mark not only where the furniture should stay but also a line to keep students and instructors delineated. And then again lots of rearrangement and signs. More to come. Next slide.
Just some fun facts on the left and then an example of a basically an operating protocol we put together. So on the left, you can see of the over 158 of the general-purpose classes, 22 classroom buildings have already been modified. There's a few more to do to wrap that up on the general-purpose, 110-type classrooms. But moving chairs, moving tables, moving desks, tons and tons of stickers and signs have been placed and we're still field verifying some of the departmentally-controlled spaces and making some modifications there. And just lots of people from across the facilities team worked on this. The plan you show on the right there is actually one of our SOPs we developed to instruct our people of how to, how to, basically work with our CAD systems and lay out the rooms. Some universities took a percentage strategy where they just said they'd reduce the seating in their rooms by a certain percentage. That wasn't good enough for us. We decided to take it down and be more scientific and truly lay out the 6-foot spacing. And in some cases we found out we could get the best spacing in a room by actually changing the type of furniture. So you may come into some rooms and see the furniture that was in there in spring is no longer the same furniture that's in there. And the example on the right, far right, shows some blue tape on a desk, again delineating the spacing between students. And then the bottom right, some spacing to protect, to identify for the faculty member and the students. Next slide. You'll see the blue tape on the floor indicating where the chairs should stay. Next slide.
Plexiglass and some of the laboratories and again spacing the students out this summer. Next slide. Sanitation kits. You're going to find these camouflage buckets in every classroom and probably in a lot of other spaces. Camouflage buckets will completely contain disinfectant sprayers, paper towels, as well as hand sanitizer, and it's intended to help with cleaning up classes between classes, and we will keep these replenished through our custodial team. Also want to point out there's some frequently asked questions for facilities, you'll go to our UNT Facilities webpage, and all you've got to remember is Google “UNT Facilities” and you'll find the web page and our COVID link. Next slide. I mentioned supplies for the instructors out there. The computers in your classrooms have this screen you should be familiar with and if you need additional supplies to replenish, report a problem, click that button, and we'll get you taken care of. Next slide. I think this may be the last one. So just some you know, fun facts here, 435 sneeze guards delivered and more to come out there already. The team in structures has been working either buying pre-made ones or creating them from sheets of plexiglass. Hand sanitizing stands, there's over almost 400 of them in the field now, and we've got several hundred more in reserve. So as we see how student traffic flows in the buildings, if we need to add some more, we can do it. And then finally, you can see the wall of buckets, there's over 526 of these sanitizing buckets out on the campus. I believe that is my last slide. I'll turn it over to Dr. Elizabeth With.
Elizabeth With, Vice President of Student Affairs: Thanks Dave, appreciate the opportunity to be with everybody today. I'm going to try to move quickly along so that there's time for questions, but I want to focus a little bit on what Housing and Dining are doing as part of the reopening. Move-in begins for us on August the 14th. We've asked for, new this year for anyone moving in, our new freshmen to sign up for a 30-minute window. There are about 28,000 30-minute windows between August the 14th and August the 18th. We'll have volunteers that will help, still help with folks moving in. The 30 minutes, it's time for students to get their keys and get up to their rooms where they've got more time to be able to actually get their room set up. We are doing some random testing, we want to establish a baseline and so we will be testing somewhere between 370 and 400 new freshmen as part of the process, and we're going to make sure that by wing we're able to identify what our baseline looks like. And so part of that, we'll do some testing again the following week and then do some periodic testing of our residence hall students as we work our way into the fall. Each hall will be opening with their wing communities by RA. Each will have a unique color wristband. There are 270 wings, and we have 270 unique colors. Students will congregate with those members with social distancing and masks still required within those congregations, if you will. The hope is for us to phase in that process for students so that once they move in with all, probably about 6,300 students this fall, that they're not exposed to all 6,300. Our hope is that we, during especially that first week up until classes begin, that we are phasing that entry in for them and practicing what it means to social distance, wearing their masks and becoming integrated into the campus community. No visitors or guests will be allowed during those first few weeks. We'll evaluate that as the semester progresses, along with things that are happening in the community. First, activities all will be virtual. It’s still a university-wide event but students will be able to participate asynchronously in those activities as they get on campus. Programming will be led by RAs but also within their wings during that first week. Next slide please.
For isolation spaces, they will be available for students who need to either isolate, if you'll remember the terms that Dr. Hermann used just a bit ago, for students who test positive and need to isolate or for students who are identified as close contacts, to be able to quarantine, we will have isolation spaces available for our resident students. Students who test positive during the move-in process will have the option to isolate on campus immediately or they can go home during that isolation period, whichever works better for them and their family. For those students that are isolating or quarantining, we will be able to provide meals so students will not have to leave their isolation space, meals will be brought to them. We'll continue to monitor international students and it's something that we do every year, their arrival times as they come to campus. Obviously, it's a little more stringent this year in that they need to quarantine for 14 days, anybody outside the country coming in. So we are monitoring that. For our students, international students, who are living in housing, we will quarantine them on site for the 14 days. Next slide please.
From a dining perspective, there's lots happening, and so know that there's a hybrid plan. We're reducing space with seating capacities within the dining rooms themselves but also offering takeout options. Masks are required as you enter and exit the dining facility but not when you're eating, sitting at your table. We'll have some one-way traffic patterns — you saw a lot of what Dave showed you as far as what's available. You'll see that in the dining halls as well some areas will be identified as exit-only. All service, all food is full-service, so no one can come in and grab their own food. No salad bars, no dessert bars — everything they will get will be full service so that we can protect the safety of the food. We are providing additional seating through outside tents around our resident dining facilities.
We definitely will be cleaning and sanitizing in all areas and all spaces. In addition, we're going to have some boxed-lunch location options. They will accept residential meal plans, we'll use the Union ballroom for that as well as Taco Bueno as a backup location. Next slide please. Additionally, in our retail dining spaces, there'll be temporary seating that we'll have out in the Library Mall, so we'll have tables and chairs out there we anticipate through about October. I think I saw some questions in the chat about where will I sit? We are providing extra spaces for folks in places all over campus as best we can. We will keep all of our satellite locations open — those in the GAB, the BLB, as well as Wooten, to make sure that there are opportunities for people to social distance and having as many available as possible. When I said no self-service, that would include The Chat and the food court, so don't look for any of your ability to go in and serve yourself, it will all be either grab-and-go or full service.
And then finally, Avesta will be open for breakfast and for lunch and you can sit there. There's limited seating within Avesta or you can take it out at no extra cost. Overall, I guess what I want you to hear from me is that we're going to scale dining according to the expected campus population and we'll scale up and scale down as we work our way through the semester. But know that we're prepared to go to 100% takeout surface should that model be necessary as we work our way into the semester as well. Next slide please.
Know that all services will be available to students both in person and virtually. All of our students will have normal operating, all of our services and offices will have normal hours by Monday, August the 17th and these include not only those in Student Affairs but also in Academic Affairs. Students will have the opportunity to be served both in person as well as virtually and for some that may mean they come in the office and sit at a computer and have a virtual meeting with someone if that's the best way to be able to do it. Staffing is going to fluctuate to accommodate the on-campus needs and we’ll staff up or scale up or scale down according to what the needs are in the offices, but we do anticipate that telecommuting will continue in many of our offices on a rotation schedule. Next slide please. Next, I'm going to turn it over to Jennifer Cowley to talk about Academic Affairs.
Jennifer Cowley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: Thanks so much, I appreciate it. We have been making a lot of progress since our last update, and I just want to share a few of those items. First of all, we recognize that we have many new students who are coming to our campus either participating remotely or in person and we want to make sure that we're supporting those students as best we can. We have four ways that we're doing that. First of all, we have a program called UNT to YOU. This is for our first time in college students, those traditional freshmen that have opted for a fully remote or online schedule. This is an engagement program that is being run out of our Learning Center to make sure that we're connecting our students to all of the resources that we have on campus and helping them become fully engaged in our campus community. Second, we have a first-year experience pilot program where several hundred of our students are going to be engaged in a hybrid delivery program allowing them to have these engagement experiences, focus on growth mindset and get them started on the right foot on our campus. Because not all of our international students have been able to obtain their visa, we have started an international remote start program. More than 100 students have opted in to our remote start to date. And finally, we recognize that our students who are graduating this May and this August have had changes in plans. They may have originally planned to enter the workforce but because of changing economic conditions have decided they would like to stay with us and study at graduate school. We have a fast-track graduate admission program and we've had more than 120 applicants to date that have applied to start in our graduate school. Next slide please.
We have finalized our required seating chart and attendance requirements. Any class that is meeting in person will be required to have a seating chart and to take attendance to support the contact tracing program that we talked about earlier in today's session. Next slide. We have invested significantly in technology to support all modes of instruction. We have remote technology kits that are being made available to faculty to enhance their remote instruction. For those faculty that are teaching in person, we've enabled our lecture-style classrooms to have cameras so that instructors who can support our students who may be in isolation or quarantining to be able to continue their instruction remotely. Additionally, we have enabled 17 of our classrooms to be high-flex classrooms that have microphones installed above the ceiling so that students can participate either remotely or in person and have a similar in-class experience. And finally, in order to support hygiene and to help people be understood because of wearing masks, faculty are going to be able to access microphones that are being provided in our general classrooms to ensure that our students can hear what our faculty have to say. Next slide please.
We recognize that some students will have schedules that will have a blend of remote and in-person teaching, and it's possible they may have back-to-back classes where one class is in person and one is remote. So we're creating a series of Perch Points. These are rooms that are not being used as classrooms, that can be used for students to take their remote instruction from. Next slide. Our clinics have begun reopening to limited services, so beginning August 3, this Monday, those clinics are able to provide one-to-one patient care. Group care is continuing to happen via telemedicine and a number of services will continue with telemedicine. Next slide.
Finally I want to talk about events and travel. Currently we're not allowing any events on campus. It's really important that we get our students settled into the residence halls and into their classrooms to monitor the situation and make sure that we're creating as controlled of an environment as possible to promote health and safety. At such time as we believe that events can be held, they will require prior approval as mentioned earlier. There will be a safety review process to ensure that we're creating the safest environment possible.
In addition, we recognize that there are some activities that do need to happen in person and those may be administrative functions. For example, if we need to have a fire drill or if there's a specific training program that must be delivered in person. We are going to have a new form at the administrative function form that's going to be distributed through your vice presidents in the coming days that will allow our safety and incident management advisory group to review any of those administrative functions that require groups to meet in person. At the present time, all university travel that includes student travel, faculty travel, staff travel is not permitted. This includes things such as student field trips and other types of activities. At such time as we feel that we can allow travel, we'll certainly let you know and if there are any exceptions, and this would be for activities that are absolutely business essential, those need for approval through the vice president. And finally, at this time visitors to our campus are not permitted. That includes guest speakers and others who would normally come to our campus, so please stay tuned and make plans accordingly. For people to participate virtually finally for all of our academic updates, I encourage people to visit our Return to Learn website. It is also linked through the health alerts website which will allow everyone to stay up-to-date on the many changes that we're making over the course of the summer in preparation for our returning to learning in the fall. With that I'm going to turn it over to Jim.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you, Provost Cowley, and just a reminder for everybody that the health alert site that several people have mentioned is updated frequently with new information about our return to campus and other information you need to know about testing and other things. So when we started the site everything was on the home page, but because of how much content we have now … I just want to call your attention to the fact that there are a lot of drop down menus now on that page. So if you go to the top for example and look at information for there's a lot of information for faculty staff and students segmented by the various audiences. So spend some time on the site. You'll see that we're updating it frequently and that will be your one-stop shopping. And then of course a lot of people are out there in order to ask questions. So let me stop the share and we'll start the Q/A now.
One person I did not introduce earlier is Katy McDaniel. A lot of you know Katie. She's our senior director of human resources. While Katy did not present during this part of the presentation, she's here to answer questions and actually I'd like to ask Katy to step up and answer the first question because it has to do with disabilities and people with disabilities and accommodating specifically. The question says what is being done above and beyond what UNT has done in the past to assist employees individuals with disabilities with the transition back to campus to work and also to learning.
Katy McDaniel, Senior Director of Human Resources: Thanks Jim. That's a great question. Any employee that has any need for disability accommodation is encouraged to contact human resources so that we can learn your specific needs and your specific work area and work with you to make sure that we can make reasonable accommodations um please don't let the current COVID situation deter you from doing that there are very specific needs based on individual conditions and workspaces and so we would just ask that you contact our office so that we can partner with you and your supervisor to work through that process.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you Katy. We appreciate it. Thank you for being here and let's go back to the provost because a question has come in about not so much just this fall, Jennifer, but also the future and I know there was a discussion about this uh earlier today. Just sort of looking ahead. When does the administration plan to make decisions about winter and spring how far out can we look and will we be looking?
Jennifer Cowley: So we're currently under discussions right now about what could the spring look like. Obviously without having started the fall it's a little bit difficult to anticipate exactly what our spring may bring, but we anticipate communicating in the next couple of weeks so that our local units can begin planning for operations in the spring semester. So we appreciate your patience, but it's really important that we focus on getting our fall restart completed and we begin to offer our classes and have our students in our residence halls before we shift gears to planning for spring semester.
Jim Berscheidt: And Jennifer let's stay with you for just a minute another academic question. And it has to do with students participating via remote modalities with online quizzes and exams. I know that you know a lot of this has been done since March, but the question specifically is if a student is required to have a camera or other equipment they may not have, what kind of assistance is available for those students?
Jennifer Cowley: So one we're asking that our faculty designate in their syllabi exactly what technology is required to complete the course so if that's a webcam or if that's a microphone or any other specialized equipment that may be needed. We will continue our laptop loaner program through the library and those are equipped with a webcam and a microphone to enable remote instruction. Additionally, all of our computer lab our computer labs and our library will be open allowing for students to access those on-campus resources they may need in order to support their instruction.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you, Jennifer. Uh let's go to Elizabeth and Dr. Herman. I'm not sure which one of you might want to take this, but one question has been asked about the move-in. And Elizabeth you addressed some of the move in with the dorms, but there's a question about high-risk students and how they might be treated differently or in a separate group or how you plan to deal with high-risk students.
Elizabeth With: Well, so we're encouraging everyone who's high-risk in the same way that we are faculty and staff to be making decisions that make this make the most sense for them um in the same way that you are around your family at home. Those similar environments going to exist within the residence halls so much more difficult. I think for them to be able to manage without coming in close contact, we'll do all that we can. We're still encouraging obviously that people wear masks, we're encouraging social distancing, um but in that environment it is much more difficult so we're being as honest as we can with students in that environment as well as their families to make the best decision for their health and for their safety.
Jim Berscheidt: Hey thank you, Elizabeth. Dr. Hermann, did you have anything else you wanted to add?
Cynthia Hermann: I think Dr. With addressed everything perfectly. I would just maybe uh remind folks if you feel you have a high risk condition, get with your primary care doctor. Or folks, if you know before you come to campus and see if you can kind of work something out, get some type of documentation or whatnot so that there is a game plan for you. Um you know you can if that will be easier when you work with ODA if anyone were to need any kind of special accommodations or anything like that.
Jim Berscheidt: Great. Thank you, Dr. Hermann. So one that came in on the Q/A, and if you haven't been looking at it … the president actually answered this but I'd like him maybe to jump on since he typed an answer to this and it has to do with the large-scale gatherings. Neal, somebody had asked the question about what do we consider large scale and what is allowed?
President Smatresk: Well the two questions I got is what are large scale? And does this include on and off campus events? So let's answer the second one first. It includes any events that are UNT-sanctioned events on or off campus. Right now the governor's guidelines are no more than 10 people in a group unless with certain specific exceptions … around schools and so forth. Uh certainly classrooms are an exception to this because they're socially distance and masked. What we're concerned about is that large events, particularly large events indoors of 10 or more people, may in fact lead to greater risk because of the kinds of interactions that we might have. There'll be room for some socially distance events. If you're interested in running an event, the simplest way to do it is to apply to the student life and activities group, which would then go through the safety and incident management group for an approval and if approved then you can run your event. So we're really using the kind of a case-by-case basis describing how the event will run. We want room for some activities around student affairs, we want room for student organizations to meet, but we want to do everything in a safe way. So for the moment, we haven't approved any large events. No indoor gatherings of more than uh 10 people, with the exception of certain classroom situations. Elizabeth, if you want to jump into that one, or Brandi …
Elizabeth With: I'd be happy for you to embellish it. We are not student organizations will not be meeting in person they're being encouraged to meet virtually until we make any changes about events and we'll continue to monitor the situation because obviously we want the engagement to happen, but we need it to happen when it's the environment is in a good place for them to be safe and healthy.
Jim Berscheidt: Okay great, thank you President Smatresk and Elizabeth for answering that question. Just looking ahead here at a few others that have come in. Provost Cowley, there's been a question about how many students did we have on campus during the summer for in-person and other activities and people are just asking how did it go and did we have any major issues with having students on as we sort of tested the waters again?
Jennifer Cowley: Sure and I can invite Elizabeth to join in because what I can speak to is how many students were participating in classes. So we had a total of 13 sections that were offered in person that equaled just under 200 students that had in-person instruction this summer. We learned several things by conducting this pilot program in the summer. One, we learned we really need to focus on training. So we didn't have all of our faculty complete the protocol for uh developing the seating chart and taking attendance. So we have focused on expanding training programs and outreach to faculty to make sure that we're doing everything we can to make sure all of our faculty have the resources that they need to put in place. We did have a student that was in a classroom test positive and so I'll let Elizabeth or and Cynthia be able to speak to that particular issue and how that was handled.
Elizabeth With: So Cynthia, do you want to take the contact tracing part of the question? And I'll deal with the other on-campus piece?
Cynthia Hermann: Sure, we did have a student that tested positive and she absolutely did everything that we asked her them to do. They contacted the COVID Hotline and that's how the whole process started so once this person contacted the COVID Hotline, we were able to begin the case investigation. We were able to ask questions appropriately. One of the key components here was the seating chart in the lab and we were able to work through that and walk through that from there because there is there was such a small number uh we were able to identify any of those folks as close contacts we were able to get with those folks. We did some contact, excuse me, we did some testing here at the Student Health and Wellness Center for anyone who was identified as a close contact that wanted testing um and then we were able to provide the instruction uh that they needed and further directions there. Overall I was really … I don't want to say pleased that someone was diagnosed with COVID, but it was a good way for us to get to test the process and to see how things would work in a real life scenario. So I thought it went very well and I was very pleased.
Elizabeth With: And then I guess the other piece of the question is and how many students did we have on campus? We did have and I think most of you know we never closed housing in the fall and so up until the end, we had close to 800 students on campus as we worked our way into the end of May and the end of the spring semester. And then over the summer we had almost 200 additional students living in the residence halls. So that part continued as well.
Jim Berscheidt: Great, thank you very much. So let's move on to the next question. And I think we'll go back to Katy for this one and possibly the president might want to weigh in as well and this is a frequent question not only from the classroom but also out on campus about what can staff do specifically. Someone asked about staff, Katy, if they encounter someone not wearing a mask. Can they be asked to leave a space or can the person wearing the mask ask the other person to leave? And see what your comments are or President Smatresk, which you would want to weigh in on?
President Smatresk: So there are a lot of layers to this question and we're still kind of wrestling some of the components to the ground when it comes to students. Let me first say that we expect all employees to follow the rules about masking and social distancing whenever possible. Employees who don't could be subject to disciplinary action. This isn't but my suggestion to everyone as a kind and caring campus … as a campus that really cares about how we take care of our students. The first thing that we do is we say “hey, I noticed you don't have a mask. You can get one.” And then list a resource. The same thing in a classroom. In fact I want to make sure that we have an ample supply. I think in the first week or two of classes we'll see students who forgot their masks. We'll see faculty and staff members who aren't quite used to our requirements yet. So I encourage us all to help turn to all be health ambassadors for our campus.
If you encounter belligerent behavior, if you encounter disruptive behavior, if someone is actively hostile, that's a whole different event. I don't expect faculty and staff members to challenge someone who is actively hostile outside of the classroom situation. I expect that they may report that to a supervisor or that they may report it to the person in the building where they're witnessing the event, but I don't think we're going to see a lot of that to be very honest with you. So my strongest suggestion is let's give people a chance … not shame them … let's give them an opportunity to be safe and to help promote the safety of our family. And that's where we're putting our emphasis again when these reports come in.
I talked to presidents all across the country. No one has a great enforcement plan to be very honest. A few have said oh we're going to kick everybody out … we're going to fire employees who don't do this … I don't think that's who we are, but as these come in, if we have a consistent problem, then we'll develop specific solutions addressing those specific problems as we understand better what the cases might be like. So I'm telling you we're here to make sure people follow the guidelines, we're here to make sure that the requirements are met, we're not here to be mean … to shame people or to embarrass them. We're here to help them out. If that doesn't work then we can proceed to something akin to progressive discipline.
Katy McDaniel: I agree President Smatresk, and I think you covered all the bases in terms of that question where we start from a point of education and move into more steps in terms of discipline where that becomes necessary.
Jim Berscheidt: Okay I think we're going to do our last question for our panelists before I kick it back to the president with one last question and for him to close. And Brandi, now we're going to go to you because there was a question we announced here recently that the testing that we've been working with the local officials on that had been on campus is moving to Discovery Park and somebody asked specifically about what kind of safety measures will be taken at Discovery Park? And you might just want to reiterate that move and the availability and make people aware of it.
Brandi Renton: Absolutely. So for some of you know that we have had a partnership for the last few months with Denton County Public Health. It's been an incredible partnership where we've been able to provide a location on site one day a week for about four hours to our community at large both university community and the Denton community for drive-through COVID testing. We have great partners at the Department of Public Health that also help us with our contact tracing efforts and are great partners to both my team and Dr. Hermann. So, because we're moving into the fall semester we have been providing space at the Union Circle Garage. I have some concern I want to make sure that that space is available for our faculty, staff and students so we've identified lot 94 at Discovery Park that will utilize moving from Tuesday testings that we have right now from 8 a.m. to noon to Friday testings from 8 a.m. to 12. So that actually kicks off this Friday. We've only agreed to a month for the first go-around because we want to make sure that it works both for the community and it works for the university and for our for our community members here at UNT. The parking lot … the area that the testing will happen at … will be blocked off so we don't won't have individuals part of our university community parking in that area. And there are a lot of questions in the past around restroom usage. They're actually going to provide their own portable porta potty and so they won't be accessing our facility at all. They shouldn't have any needs. So I hope that that answers your questions. It has been a great partnership and we hope that the month of August goes well and if the need continues we'll continue to look at a partnership with Denton County.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you, Brandi. Appreciate it. So we're going to close today with the president. Before he makes his final remarks to close this out, Mr. president, one last question and that is what is the threshold to return the campus to only essential operations and full remote learning if that was to have to occur?
President Smatresk: So we're not going to establish a series of triggers. There were a number of questions I saw about the UT plan. I'm going to tell you that presidents around the country think the UT plan was not thought through very carefully … to back yourself in the corner on any one specific trigger is to potentially compromise a huge number of plans and to delay a number of students in their ability to graduate. What we've done is we've agreed that we have a progressive set of discussions. We are so, just to be clear, we monitor the situation daily. We're in constant communication with each other. We will be looking at every single incident whether it was incidents in athletics, incidents in residence halls, incidents as a result of classroom exposure.
And as we monitor those … as we see patterns from our sampling procedures or patterns of infections … we will be on those. We'll start with contact tracing and isolation. We'll move to broader-scale efforts if the conditions weren't and they appear to be slipping away from us. So we'll be ready to go with a series of staggered plans. I know Jennifer may want to jump in on this too. But for example, there are some classes that can relatively easily be turned to remote and there are other classes which could significantly delay people. That would be the last ones that we want to see go … the ones that are true experiential classes labs and some performance classes and so forth. But we're willing to do what it takes in a phased-in series of thoughtful approaches to manage the incidents that occur and to try to restrict the growth or the number of infections, active cases that we see on campus.
Jennifer Cowley: Yes, I'll just add that currently 46 of the seats that are available in all of our courses are available partially in person or fully in person. Our strategy has been to stage classes that can be in person and we prioritize those classes that are experiential in nature that have high international student enrollments and that serve first time in college students that are likely to be living in the residence halls. We also have plans for how we would step back from that if needed to thin the campus further than what we're planning for the fall. As it currently stands, we expect to have about 25 to 30% of our students on campus on any given day of the week now we can pull that back if needed. And as President Smatresk indicated, the last classes to move fully remote are those for which students absolutely need in order to make timely progress to their degree and for which a remote alternative would not allow for the learning objectives to be achieved and the students to accomplish those competencies. And so that's the way we would approach any uh retreat if we needed to face back if necessary.
I will add as one note, because it was one of the questions that came in via email in advance of how we're supporting our international students. There had been quite a bit of back and forth with the federal government, but the final ruling is that for continuing students they can have a fully remote schedule. But for new international students, they must be registered for at least one course that meets in person or partially remote. The good news is if we should have to scale back our operations at some point during the semester, then those students would be able to move remote alongside all of our other students. But our schedule has been carefully crafted to support the learning of our students and we're prepared to make scale decisions as needed.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you, Provost Cowley. President Smatresk, would you like to close this out?
President Smatresk: Well first of all, I want to thank everybody who's participating. We've had about at the peak about 1,400 participants. I thought that your questions were thoughtful and measured. I really appreciate the great response that you've given us and we'll be responding to every one of your questions if we haven't been able to get to them and clear them during this webinar. I hope while we understand that there's risk and that there's uncertainty that we face and we understand that conditions may evolve very rapidly, that you appreciate the depth of preparation that we've gone to our ability to be flexible, our ability to rethink what we're doing and our ability to continue to serve our mission.
Our mission is to transform the lives of our students and connect them to their dreams. Our mission is important. Our students right now need us. They're in the process of retooling. The number of master’s students that we've had show that we have a huge number of students who are taking the counter-cyclical path back to college to improve their skills and develop better employment and career options for themselves. And I want everyone to remember that's what we do. We are here to serve. Your efforts have been phenomenal. Our faculty and staff members have performed incredibly well. The university is operating at a very high level during a very very difficult situation.
So for all of you thank you very much for what you've done and I want to say I hope that we've managed to alleviate major concerns that you've had and I hope that you understand that there's a team that is very actively monitoring, tracking and responding to every single situation that comes up, literally to every single case that comes up. I thank you all and I hope that if you have further questions, you submit them to Jim and the team and we'll be on top of it. The next time we're going to do an update will be well after the semester starts when we can actually give you what the conditions on the ground are like and let you know further how we're prepared to deal with them or how we are dealing with whatever we see as it evolves. Thank you all again. Jim, I'll give it to you to close and make any final comments about where people can get this information.
Jim Berscheidt: Thank you, President Smatresk. And I want to also thank, not only the presenters today who have worked a lot in advance on the presentation, but also Randalynn Johnson who joined us as our interpreter today. It was nice to have her with us today to have something we had not done before, so again please check out the health alert site for the latest information we'll post this recording and the answers various Q/A in the next couple of days on the president's site. Thank you for being with us today.