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.


Using personal computers on the secure wifi

Written Question

I see in the campus update this new information about using personal computers on the secure wifi: “The University is updating the security requirements for gaining access to UNF-Wireless (the University’s secure wireless network) for personal computers or laptops. Starting Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020, any personal computers or laptops needing to connect to the UNF-Wireless Network will first be required to install a small application called OnGuard. It’s necessary for machines to meet the requirements to install OnGuard in order to connect to the wireless network. Any computer connected will be subject to the rules and regulations as defined by the Acceptable Use Policy. Devices connecting to guest wireless will not be affected by this change. ”

I would like more information about why this is necessary for faculty.


Answered by Dr. Deb Miller, Assistant Vice President of Digital Learning

This change, which applies to personal computers that connect to UNF’s secure wireless network, is required for all University employees to prevent computers that lack basic security features from accessing the campus network and placing other computers at risk. Risks include cross-contamination from worms and viruses that can permanently harm personal computers as well as computers on UNF’s network.

Building 1 Costs

Written Question

I am still unclear about the threats to the administration is experiencing that justify the costs of a permanent security service in Building 1. Do you know if there are any plans to save student and taxpayer money by elimination [of] this unnecessary service?

Answered by Dr. John White, UNF Faculty Association President

President Szymanski has decided to change the security arrangements for Building one effective immediately. Additional security precautions will be put in place for the Presidential Offices (suite) but the rest of the building will operate as do all other university buildings.

President Szymanski, UNF President affirmed

We’ve eliminated that position.

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.


Building 1 Security

Question from the floor

I am still unclear about the threats to the administration is experiencing that justify the costs of a permanent security service in Building 1. Do you know if there are any plans to save student and taxpayer money by elimination this unnecessary service?

Answered by Dr. John White, FA President

Dr. White noted that this issue was contentious last year and remains contentious and he will bring it up with the President to provide a response at the December FA meeting.

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 (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.

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.

Online Courses

Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

Do online courses really cost more than in-person courses? If not, why do we still charge online fees for students?

Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

no fees are charged to Remote Instruction courses but only Distance Learning courses.

Answered from the floor by Dr. Daniel Moon, Professor Academic Affairs Administration:

Dr. Moon confirmed these remarks and noted that, yes, DL courses do cost more than in-person courses insofar as the complex layer of resources that such courses require, e.g., CIRT staff who train faculty and work through technology logistics, funding provided to colleges for DL support (DL coaches and hardware).


Counseling Center referrals

Questioner: Anynonymous

Question posed to Dr. Simone Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Students who I have referred to the Counseling Center are reporting a 1-2 month wait to get an appointment. Now that more faculty are becoming aware of the Counseling Center through the required Kognito program that recommended referring students to the campus Counseling Center as the final solution for each simulation, I am even more worried about stressing an already strained resource. I know the director of the Center has been very creative in trying to expand services – incorporating group sessions and technology that could help more students with the existing resources – but the wait times for individual appointments remains high. How is the administration supporting the Counseling Center with resources to hire more counselors so there is no lag time between a student contacting the Center and receiving an in-take session? If more counselor hires are not in the plan, what else does the administration have planned to make the Counseling Center better equipped to handle the demand?

Question answered from the floor by Dr. Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

This is an important question. So I think thank the person asking this question because it is important. I checked in with Richmond [Wynn] and Dan Moon on this. The next available full consultation—and I’m plagiarizing Richmond’s email here—the first full contact is April 6. So that’s five weeks. It changes daily due to counselors wrapping up their work with a client or a counselor, so they sometimes see some people straightaway during triage hours and fit them into their schedules. In those two scenarios, a student could be seen sooner, but the waiting list is too long. The question is correct in that we—we meaning Richmond and his colleagues—have added in drop-in groups and psychoeducation groups, a total of five in addition to the eight groups that were already in place. So this gives students additional opportunities for therapeutic contact while they wait for an individual session or sometimes in lieu of individual counseling.

They also ensure that every hour that they are open one to two counselors are scheduled for triage and walk-ins and those are brief stabilization sessions, guidance to resources and services and referrals and so on. So we’re working on this. It’s not the best news. There may be good news in the sense that Kognito is working and due to the good work and sensitivity of the faculty are guiding more of our students to resources. So please don’t get the message that you shouldn’t do Kognito and you shouldn’t follow through. You should do Cognito and you should follow through. There are a couple of us in this room who know how important that has been in recent weeks. In addition though, the Perch program—we just heard the Perch program a little bit here—is new this year and provides mental health services to students through graduate student interns from the clinical mental health counseling program with BCH and other offices. That’s an alphabet soup and UNF tradition. As far as resources go, we do have a proposal to expand Perch, and Richmond is putting together a proposal for the counseling center as we go into budget season. We don’t know what the budget will look like, but these are two high priorities.