UND’s Smart Restart plan for Fall 2020: Overview

Special Edition of UND Today offers preview of what Fall Semester will look like in era of COVID

Welcome to UND Today’s Special Edition on the University’s Smart Restart plans for reopening campus in the fall.

In this Special Edition of UND Today, we aim to officially launch the campus-wide conversation on the University’s Smart Restart plan for Fall Semester 2020.

A lot of discussion has already been taking place among University senior leaders, members of the University’s Pandemic Planning & Response (PPR) Team and another group focused on the “Healthy Hawks Educational Campaign” to make sense of how the campus will operate next fall in the era of COVID.

UND Today writers and editors have spent the past several weeks interviewing all these groups to compile articles on what UND’s Fall Semester Smart Restart will look like. Our articles tackle these issues under four broad headings: (1) Facilities & Operations; (2) Academic Affairs; (3) Student Affairs; and (4) Housing, Dining Services and Wellness. In some articles, readers will learn about basic philosophies and expectations, while in others, we dig deeper to provide specifics on how UND will implement physical distancing, technology, enhanced personal protective postures and general hypervigilance to make our campus community as COVID resistant and resilient as possible.

Think of this special issue as the First Word – not the Last Word – on UND’s proactive, yet evolving, approach to dealing with the pandemic.

Revamped blog

The special issue coincides, this week, with an updated “Coronavirus Updates blog,” which will evolve into a central information repository and resource for all things related to UND’s Fall 2020 Smart Restart.

In the blog, UND community members and others will learn about Guiding Principles driving UND’s Smart Restart, as well as get detailed information on the University’s three-phased transition plan and the underlying objectives for the campus. Visitors to the blog will also see UND’s “Health Hawks Safety Levels” guide, a simple three-part reference chart that helps the campus community understand, at a glance, what’s required – and what’s not – depending on COVID threat levels at any given time.  The blog will soon include UND-branded COVID-19 signage that can be downloaded.

This Healthy Hawks Safety Levels guide shows what to expect on campus depending on COVID threat levels at any given time.

In this issue

We let experts in each of UND’s major divisions convey their current plans for a Smart Restart of on-campus operations, as well as contingency ideas if a shift is needed to return to remote postures. UND Today writer Jan Orvik explores UND Facilities & Operations’ drive to implement physical distancing; technology, signage and movement control; ramped up provisions for personal protective equipment; comprehensive testing procedures and isolation and quarantine plans to make the campus as COVID-resistant as possible. Writer Patrick C. Miller talks to newly installed Interim Provost Debbie Storrs about ensuring faculty and student support mechanisms are in place for a seamless teaching-and-learning environment – whether face-to-face or online. UND Today Editor Tom Dennis looks ahead to Welcome Weekend and new student orientation procedures to accommodate students and parents when they arrive on campus in August. And finally, Writer Connor Murphy reports the latest on what we can expect from UND Housing, Dining Services and Wellness & Health Promotion amid the ongoing pandemic.

Protection for everyone

UND’s Smart Restart Plan is rooted in three basic tenets, according to UND President Andy Armacost:

  1. Education – Why are we taking these measures and precautions?
  2. Hygiene measures:
    1. Appropriate physical distancing
    2. Requiring campus community to wear face coverings when interacting with others
    3. Enhanced sanitization schedules of classrooms, facilities and other common areas
  3. Testing – Greater testing capacity allows UND to effectively respond to potential outbreaks

Andrew Armacost

“In doing all of these steps, our goal is to have a campus that operates safely throughout the semester, and as we see changes, both locally and nationally, we can make adjustments to the plan, as necessary, said President Andy Armacost, who’s part of UND’s PPR Team.

President Armacost stressed that even though the vast majority of the campus community may be healthy, there may be somebody who’s struggling with a medical condition.

“We need to protect everyone,” he said.  “Our goal is a safe reopening, taking care of our students, faculty and staff, with particular attention on our most vulnerable on campus. And we want to do so with a sense of community that is rooted in respect and empathy for all.”