New strain affecting basketball games

Written Question

For President Szymanski

Given the evidence of the new strain and the demographics on infections with young people why are we continuing basketball games?

Answered by President Szymanski, UNF President

Dr. Szymanski answered that the university is being very careful. He noted that they had an athlete test positive recently, and they canceled the subsequent game. He shared that they have a robust set of guidelines to ensure safety, from CDC and NCAA/Sun, but they are erring on the side of caution to ensure that students are safe.

 

COVID Testing and Notifications

Written Question

About COVID testing and notifications, discussion about notifications for negative test results has been ongoing and noted as improved, but (faculty member) has herself experienced irregularities in hearing back about negatives, as well as lapses in secure/personal responses.

Answered by Bob Greenlaw, Emergency Manager

Our notification did run into some delays in the last few weeks due to not getting results from the lab. We found out the delays were from the “middle man” we were using. We have negotiated getting our results directly from the lab and should elimiate those delays for the next semester. Obviously the notifications won’t be necessary for who taking the 15 minute results test.

We continue and will continue to make notifications to students and employees of both positive and negative test results. In the Spring, we will be offering both the 48 hour PCR tests we have been plus 15 minute Antigen testing on campus. Both tests are nasal swabs.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Written Question

When COVID-19 vaccines are available, will students be required to get immunized? Will faculty and staff be required to get immunized?

Answered by Dr. John White, Faculty Association President

This issue is being discussed among the Board of Governors. The SUS would prefer to have a system-wide approach to possible mandatory vaccinations.

President Szymanski, UNF President added

We are not talking about mandating anything at this point in time, and the Board of Governors is not talking about mandating things, either. The word “mandate” is not in our discussion here, and in fact we don’t have access to the vaccine yet, so this is not where we are.

 

COVID Testing and Notification

Questioner: Stephanie Race

Question asked from the floor

About COVID testing and notifications, discussion about notifications for negative test results has been ongoing and noted as improved, but she has herself experienced irregularities in hearing back about negatives, as well as lapses in secure/personal responses.

Unanswered

Dr. White noted he will follow up with Mr. Bob Greenlaw about this topic and answer back.

Analytics on COVID cases

Written Question

Due to the president’s focus on metrics, we now have a vice president for analytics. Even with this focus, we remain at the bottom of the metrics within the SUS. Further, I am concerned with how COVID-19 cases are being reported. We have significant data on various performance metrics but virtually no analytics on COVID cases—all we see are weekly counts. I would like the administration to provide a far better analysis of cases, especially as there is an obvious push by the

BOG for faculty and students to move toward more face-to-face classes.

I would like to remain anonymous, however I would appreciate if you could relay my concerns to appropriate offices on campus.

Answered

On the first point, I suggest reaching out to Bob Greenlaw, who is spearheading the UNF COVID response effort.  Also, trends in cases and who is being infected are regularly updated at https://www.unf.edu/emergency/Cases.aspx.

As for the impact of analytics, that one is easy.  Below are a few examples, all of which are directly attributable to the impact of analytics, particularly those outcomes involving enrollment, diversity, and retention growth.  Once we get the data from other institutions across the country, I believe you’ll find that the combination of growth in those three factors will be among the top 10 in the country, and perhaps even #1.  Also, had the analytics that generated the improvements below not been done, it is highly likely that we would have long since faced substantial layoffs, including the shuttering of programs.  Thus, analytics has had a direct hand in going from facing dire consequences to having one of the best success stories in the United States.

  • Freshman classes: 73% growthin last 5 years
  • Traditionally underrepresented freshmen: 163%growth in last 5 years (247% among Black / African-American)
  • Realized and forthcoming growth in tuition and fees due to 5-year growth in freshman classes: $76 million
  • First-year retention rate: 1 percentage pointgrowth in last 4 years, to a record UNF high
  • Graduation rates: 70% growthin last 5 years, to a record UNF high
  • Growth in metrics points: 47% growth in last 3 years (largest in the SUS), to a record UNF high
  • Performance funding received in the last two years: $25 million+

COVID Testing and Results

Questioner: Anonymous 

Question posed to Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

I understand that UNF does not have the resources to give all tested individuals results; do we have enough resources to test all interested folks and provide results?

Answered by Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

Dr. Szymanski offered that the university has the reverse problem: more than enough ability to provide results within 48 hours if someone tests positive. However, if someone tests negative, they’re not contacted because not enough staff are available for that additional step. He encouraged faculty to take advantage of this great resource and noted that no classroom transmissions have been documented. He added that the testing services are supporting 450-500 tests per week currently.

Spring Break Poll

Questioner: Anonymous 

Questioned posed to Dr. David Szymanksi, UNF President and Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Will the university poll faculty about options for moving spring break in line with Dr. Coleman’s answer?

Answered by Dr. David Szymanksi, UNF President and Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Dr. Patterson answered that those discussions are happening right now, and they will have an announcement in short order.

Dr. Szymanski added that this conversation is a new one but that they’ve been discussing it and will have a decision to announce pretty soon. He clarified that the goal is to have Dr. Patterson in her role as they consider the question.

Spring Break (Canceled)

Question Posed to Dr. Simon J Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Has any thought been given to canceling Spring Break (like some other universities are doing) in an effort to limit student travel and exposure to coronavirus?

Answered in writing by Dr. Coleman

Yes, this is indeed on our radar, we’re aware of what our sister institutions across the state are doing or are contemplating, and we stay in regular communication with them about this and other COVID-related matters. The status of Spring Break is something that we continue to review. At the moment, the thought is to maintain our normal start and finish time for the term, and perhaps adjust Spring Break to a later date after which classes/exams might be remote, very similar to what is being done this term with Thanksgiving break.

Remote Instruction

Question posed to Dr. Szymanski or Dr. Coleman

When will faculty be able to convert to remote instruction or distance learning for spring if they don’t feel safe?

Answered from the floor

He noted that the university is just now pivoting to spring considerations and still mapping out where it can be. He added that there’s a collective wisdom that has yet to be developed, and it’s possible that the spring is not too different from the approach to fall. He clarified, too, that the goal is to keep things open and ensure faculty and students are protected, so a timeline is not available yet as the focus is on fall 2020.

Dr. Coleman offered that a best guess for a starting point for the discussion is the fall 2020 model, but it’s early days right now.