Message on reopening the University: Data insights, Classroom technology

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Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

In less than a week, students will begin to arrive, and in less than two weeks, we will start what is likely to be one of the most unusual semesters in the history of this wonderful University. Yesterday, we stood up the COVID-19 Response Unit (or CRU), launched the “Return to Campus Advisor” Daily Health Check system, and activated the testing site at Notre Dame Stadium for walk-up and drive-up service. And, as you know, Fr. Jenkins made the difficult but necessary decision to withdraw from hosting the first of the 2020 presidential debates on our campus. This week, as work continued to prepare classrooms, the LaFortune Student Center and other campus retail outlets began to reopen, as additional evidence of our campus returning to life in preparation for the fall semester. A key element of our plans is to successfully implement the HERE campaign, promoting compliance with health and safety protocols on and off campus. We ask those of you who have not yet completed your online Return to Campus Orientation program to do so this week. Here is a brief update.

University Town Hall

Tomorrow from 12:30 to 1:45, we will join Vice President for Campus Safety and University Operations, Mike Seamon and Vice President for Student Affairs, Erin Hoffmann Harding for a University-wide town hall hosted by Fr. Jenkins to update you on our preparations for the fall semester. During the session, we will address questions you may have about our plans for fall or related issues. We encourage you to make time to tune in for what we believe will be an informative and engaging exchange. You can join the town hall via this link.

Data Insights

We have combined national county-level data on COVID-19 case rates with the addresses where our students are spending the summer. This geographic analysis shows that the majority of our students are arriving from lower case rate areas. Once we have the full set of pre-matriculation test results, we will assess whether additional testing of students arriving from higher case rate areas is warranted. The initial results on the first 750 pre-matriculation tests provides good news in that the positivity rate is 0.9%. Students who test positive on their pre-matriculation screening test will arrive on campus only after being cleared by a medical professional.

Public Dashboard

We are building a public Notre Dame COVID-19 dashboard which will refresh daily. Because we need real data in order to fully test the system (we have been using simulated data during development), we will launch the dashboard the week of August 10. The dashboard will reside on the HERE website and will contain information on total number of tests, total confirmed cases, total cases on a given day, and cumulative cases over time.

Update on Classrooms and Technology

Dual-Mode Classroom Technology Availability

All classrooms will have at least basic dual-mode technology available in the form of installed technology or Zoom kits on August 10. A regularly updated list of classroom technology information (in Registrar, temporary, and departmental classrooms) is available here. Detailed operating instructions will be posted on Resilient Teaching and distributed to all instructors. Physical copies of operating instructions will be in each classroom.

Preview Hours for Classroom Technology

OIT is supporting self-guided / walk-in preview hours for Registrar classrooms on Tuesday, August 4 and Wednesday, August 5. Tech support will be available if needed by calling the Help Desk (1-8111). Instructors assigned to departmental classrooms should check with their College/School IT team for status updates on the technology in their rooms. 

Dual-Mode Orientations

OIT is offering instructors an expanded series of hands-on orientation events in demonstration classrooms, available by registration here.

Visiting Classrooms

Campus buildings will be open and classrooms unlocked beginning on Monday August 3. Instructors who wish to visit their classrooms in advance should be aware that many classrooms will be active worksites until August 10, with signage and technology installations underway. Individual dry-runs with dual-mode technology should be restricted to the walk-in hours noted above or scheduled hands-on workshops. Instructors with specific questions or feedback about their classrooms are encouraged to write facilityreopening@nd.edu.

Dual-Mode Classroom Assistants

A limited number of classroom assistants (trained student workers) will be available to support instructors and facilitate engagement of remote students using dual-mode technology in discussion-intensive courses. This program is administered by OIT with the feedback and collaboration of ND Learning. Find out more about eligibility criteria (including room capacity limitations) and request support here.

Classroom Cleaning Schedules

As we mentioned previously, classrooms will be cleaned twice a day. The exact timing of the mid-day clean varies across buildings and classrooms within buildings. We are trying to schedule the mid-day cleanings during class time slots when the classrooms are empty in order to minimize disruption to teaching activities and between-class transitions.

Expectations

With such a range of new technologies, processes, and habits, please be generous with yourself and your students as you acclimate to the new environment.

Concluding Thoughts

Our entire community has undertaken an enormous lift to get us to this point. There is more work in front of us. We will have COVID-19 cases, and we will work together as a community to adjust our plans as we learn together. You have our sincere thanks and admiration for your good work during these challenging times.

And remember:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Complete your daily health check.

Yours in Notre Dame,


Marie Lynn Miranda, Provost
Shannon Cullinan, Executive Vice President

Originally published by Andy Fuller at here.nd.edu on July 28, 2020.