VIDEO: Student & Family Town Hall

Campus leaders answer questions about vaccine mandates, student conduct at hockey games and pronoun use, among other topics

Editor’s note: On Monday, Nov. 8, UND held a Town Hall meeting via Zoom for current students and their families. A video of the Town Hall (with closed captions available) is above, while below is a list of the questions that are asked and answered in the video, with time stamps for readers’ reference accompanying each question.

The following questions are asked and answered in the Student & Family Town Hall:

* * * *

05:19: President Armacost, can you talk a little bit about the federal mandate and who, right now, we believe it applies to? Is the mandate likely to be far-reaching and involve all students and all employees?

In other words, where is the university at in terms of the federal mandate for vaccines right now?

07:01: Is the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court decision going to put a stay in the mandate?

08:00: Will student who work at the Ralph Engelstad Arena be affected by a vaccine mandate?

08:29: A question about booster shots. Are COVID booster shots available now in North Dakota for kids? For college-aged students, are they available at Student Health or other locations in Grand Forks?

In other words, could you please provide an overview of where we’re at with vaccines on campus and in Grand Forks?

09:30: When will the mask mandate be lifted? Might that happen for the Spring Semester?

10:51: How can all of the vaccines be mandated, given that only one of them – the Pfizer vaccine, which is not available everywhere – is fully FDA-approved?

13:41: People thinking ahead toward Thanksgiving, and some students will be staying on campus. Can you talk about what will be available over Thanksgiving break in terms of food services?

16:49: If someone loses their vaccine card and got their vaccines on campus through Student Health Services, can they go back to Student Health Services to get a new vaccine card?

17:23: Can someone other than the student self-report COVID results on UND’s web page? And then if someone else reports positive COVID results, is it still called self-reporting?

19:55: Why does UND feel it’s so important to get in the middle of the pronoun issue?

22:08: Are students or others who are mandated to receive a vaccine given a factsheet of the risks, especially to young people? What recourse would student have if they’re injured from the vaccine?

25:28: How does the university deal with and educate students about college bullying? It seems to primarily take the form of cyber bullying and relational aggression, and is quite a serious problem for some, to the point of making some students consider leaving the school.

27:13: Does UND set any standard of conduct in the Student Section at hockey games? There were a lot of disrespectful chants at the opposing team Saturday evening, including a lot of profanity.

29:33: Taking the Lord’s name in vain is offensive to many students. Why not protect them from such offensive words? Where does the ‘need’ to protect various groups end?

33:13: If a student has previously had COVID and recovered well (which has often shown in younger people), would an antibody test be acceptable? The vaccine has been shown to be subject to waning and not as durable as natural immunity.

35:46: Could you please address the recent UND plane crash that resulted in the loss of one of our students? And could you also please discuss the mental health initiative that has been created by his family?

40:31: If I’ve come in contact with someone who just has tested positive for COVID, what’s the procedure? Can you talk about close contact, and how a person’s mask and vaccination status influences what happens next?

42:36: What is going to happen if professors don’t get vaccinated with the new vaccine mandate?

44:09: Is there any recourse for students who suffered academically during the 2020-21 school year due to online learning?

46:17: Will the university consider offering more business courses online, either synchronously or asynchronously? During the height of COVID, virtually all courses were offered online; but during registration, I have noticed many courses do not offer an online option.

49:14: How will students be treated differently when it comes to vaccinated vs. unvaccinated? I’m confused, because vaccinated people can still contract and transmit COVID and also carry the same viral loads. Therefore, what is the rationale for different policies for vaccinated versus unvaccinated?

51:40: When will more food service areas reopen?

53:51: Will December Commencement be in-person?

54:03: How will the aviation deans be following up with students and parents regarding any changes made with flight operations?

55:44: Where can I get the weekly aviation newsletter? Can family members get the newsletter, too – and if so, how?

57:39: When do returning students sign up for next year’s housing?