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.

UNF opening committee

Question posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President or Dr. Rhodes, UNF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

I know several faculty members who were on committees regarding UNF opening during the coronavirus pandemic. They reported that their committees seemingly accomplished numerous tasks (and were even congratulated on their great work). However, the actual committees barely met and did not produce the results. Who produced the results of the committees? Were the committees formed to create the perception that the decisions were a campus-wide collaborative effort?

Answer from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

I counted the number of faculty that are in the COVID planning and working groups, the health teams, the behavioral team, and so on. I tried not to count them twice if they were on multiple teams. I counted 21 faculty. That does include a few faculty that are also chairs – chairs that teach, know pedagogy, know public health, etc. I have also talked to the group leaders and I know how grateful they are for the hard and creative work that these faculty have done. And the faculty members have made critical contributions to helping us evolve these plans. And evolve is the right word – we continue to have to respond to a changing situation and the planning continues to evolve – in terms of facilities and getting supplies, academic preparation, formal and informal ways to improve safety – policies, training, mask wearing, signage, behavior, apps, testing preparation, etc.,

I would also note that we have had three Town halls [with more scheduled]. Feedback from that and other processes such as the website have been very important in generating our plans and learning what faculty need and want.

Bottom line – I thank the UNF faculty who served on these committees and groups – they made substantial and pivotal contributions

Dr. Coleman added that there was a number of different groups meeting frequently, and many people in administration and finance participated particularly early on in trying to scramble to figure out how the university was going to get through the spring term, with housing and dining and everything else. There were a lot of deadlines that were placed upon the university by the powers that be above it.

Coronavirus Task Force

Questioner: text in zoom

Question posed to Dr. Coleman

Question/Suggestion Text:
Suggestion: Regularly test students in residence halls for COVID-19. Other schools do this. Why isn’t UNF doing this? Talk to students in the residence halls and you will quickly see the need for regular testing. They are not following the rules.

Question answered from the floor by Dr. Coleman

Students in residence halls, athletes, and faculty/staff interacting with students in a face-to-face environment (i.e., on campus) have been our three testing priorities during the first two weeks of the semester. As of this past Monday (Aug 31), all UNF faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to come to the first floor breezeway in Osprey Landing Building W (in the residential hall “complex”) for free testing M-Th from 9 am to 2 pm.

COVID-19 cases on campus

Question posed to Dr. Coleman

Where can we find the number of COVID-19 cases on campus? Is there a place we can access current information on the number of cases? If not, why not?

Answered from the floor by Dr. Coleman

Per Dr. White’s report: As of Monday (August 31), there have been 27 cases reported since the official start of the semester. Six of these are employees of UNF.  Forty-six cases were reported in August.  Since the start of the pandemic, 79 students and employees have reported testing positive for COVID 19. He provided a link where individuals can find this information: https://www.unf.edu/emergency/Cases.aspx.