Coronavirus roundup

Distancing, face coverings, testing and good hygiene are keys to reopening, President Armacost says


Healthy Hawks.

As UND prepares to welcome students back for the fall semester, there are two areas of focus: testing and face covering requirements.

In a June 26 message to campus, President Armacost noted that although Grand Forks has so far been minimally impacted by the coronavirus, UND will be reopening campus during a global pandemic.

“Until a vaccine or effective therapeutics are realized, we must continue to take steps to keep each other safe, especially those who are at greatest risk of the most damaging effects of COVID-19,” Armacost said. “The actions of distancing, face coverings, good hygiene, and testing will allow us to enjoy a sense of community while still reducing the spread of the virus. Please take the steps to keep others safe, as you might have no idea you are infected and spreading the virus.”

One way to keep others safe is by wearing face coverings, which, it was announced last week, will be required on campus facilities and when representing UND off-campus. It applies to all students, staff, faculty, affiliates and visitors.

Every member of the University community will be provided with two UND-branded face coverings.

“There is no better way to show concern for the well-being of others than to keep your distance and cover your face,” Armacost said. “Being a leader in action is a hallmark of the University of North Dakota, and let’s do our very best to take care of each other during this pandemic.”

Testing is another way to mitigate risk. UND plans to test broadly and frequently for COVID-19. Testing began on Tuesday, June 23, when the North Dakota National Guard, UND Student Health Services, North Dakota Department of Health and Grand Forks Public Health offered free on-campus testing.

Of the thousand tests administered, just four were positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Academic planning

The Division of Academic Affairs is also making plans for the return of students, and is working with faculty to ensure that classes can be held both on-campus and remotely if necessary.

All students, including newly admitted students, have received “What to Expect in the Fall,” an online publication to help them succeed despite the pandemic.

The document emphasizes that the health and safety of students and the campus community are paramount. UND’s educational and scholarly experiences will remain focused on excellence, the document states.

Classes are currently listed in Campus Connection as either online or on campus, and changes will be updated by Aug. 3. Students will be able to modify their course schedules if they wish, and final exams will be completed remotely.

All classrooms have been assigned a COVID-19 seating capacity. This means that, because of the need for physical distancing, there will be fewer students allowed in the classroom than in previous semesters. Faculty members will accommodate the physical distancing requirements. For example, they may assign students to smaller groups and rotate them in the classroom while other groups participate via video conference.

All courses and labs will use Blackboard, and students are asked to bring their devices to class to view syllabi and other handouts. Students will also submit assignments via Blackboard to avoid the exchange of paper. Technology assistance will be available.

Students will be expected to maintain physical distancing before, during, and after class, and will be asked not to congregate in hallways before class.

Hand sanitizer will be provided for each building, and sanitizing wipes will be available for each classroom. Students will be asked to clean their area before class.

For the latest information on UND’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, visit or subscribe to the Coronavirus Update blog.