Faculty Forum - August 7, 2020

On August 7, 2020, Faculty Senate hosted a forum with President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. and other administrators and experts to discuss plans for faculty, staff and students to safely return to campus. The conversation covered a range of questions submitted to Faculty Senate in advance forum and provided more detail on operational aspects of preventing and responding to the occurrence of COVID-19, testing procedures, technology available to faculty, accommodations for students who become ill and much more.  

Faculty Forum Transcript

(REV Transcription Service)

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Good morning, welcome to our faculty forum. My name is Matt Cordon. I am the chair of the faculty Senate. I'm on day seven as the chair of the faculty Senate. We're going to introduce some of our speakers in just a moment, but let's take a few minutes for a brief invocation. I'll go ahead and deliver that. Let us pray. Dear heavenly father, thank you for bringing us together today to discuss the safe return to campus. We pray that you give us the wisdom as we move forward during the next two weeks to prepare for the students' return to campus, the faculty and staff return to campus. We pray for the safety, health, and welfare of the entire Baylor University family in the name of Christ, Jesus we pray. Amen.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

We want to thank in particular, the president Dr. Linda Livingstone, and the Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse for joining us. We have eight members of the president's council. We have seven Vice Provosts. We have some additional administrators as well as representatives from accountable health to answer various questions we received. President Livingstone and Dr. Brickhouse would both like to provide some brief introductory remarks. So I will turn it over to Dr. Livingstone.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Thank you Matt, appreciate that and so good to have so many of you with us this morning. I know everybody has lots of questions as we go into the fall. And in fact, I just got off a call earlier this morning with parents. We're doing some calls with parents of our freshmen students who are coming, who have many of the same questions that you do. And while they're really excited about having their students on campus, they do have questions about the things that we're doing and so we're really trying to answer all those questions the best we can.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And I do encourage you. We're going to answer as many questions as we can this morning, and those that we can't, we will certainly get answers to you, but even as you approach the fall semester and start the fall semester, we know that you'll have many other questions as things happen that we might not have been expecting. So continue to feed those questions through your department chairs, your deans through Matt and the faculty Senate, so that we in an ongoing basis can be addressing the issues and questions that you have, so that you're as prepared as you can to make this a great semester and that we can respond to our students and their families in appropriate ways.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

I think one of the main things I want to just say to kick this off before I turn it over to Provost Brickhouse is how deeply appreciative I am of our faculty and our staff at all the tremendous work that you have done since really mid March last year, to get us through the spring semester in such a good and important way to transition summer. And we had a great summer school, one of the biggest summer schools we've ever had really successful, creative ways in which you did that. And then we know you've spent hours and hours preparing and adapting for fall, and some of you adapted more than once in preparation for the fall.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And so we are deeply grateful to you for your commitment to our students, for your willingness to roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done to allow us to bring back our students and have a successful semester. Of course, our goal is to make it to Thanksgiving, to keep everybody on campus healthy and as safe as possible to Thanksgiving. And so we appreciate all you're doing for that and hopefully we can answer some of your questions today in that regard. So just appreciate you being here. Again, thank you for all you do for Baylor, for your love for our students, and look forward to seeing some of your faces soon as we all begin to shift back to campus mode. So Dr. Brickhouse, I'll let you make some opening comments as well.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I would just like to add my thanks to President Livingstone for the amazing work that you all have been doing. Again, the summer was remarkable and terms and so important for our students, keeping them engaged with Baylor, keeping them making academic progress towards their degrees and it's also been helpful to us. It's provided some financial cushion to pay for things like tents, going up across campus, testing, technology. And we've learned a lot over the last six months. We've learned new ways of teaching, we'll develop new instructional muscles that we're continuing to develop.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

And I really appreciate that we have gone from a campus in which only 8% of our faculty had ever taught online to 100% at a very short period of time. And again, I thank you for that and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to making sure that our fall schedule of class offerings are at Baylor quality. So we've also learned a lot about this co this novel coronavirus in the last six months. It's been fascinating in some respects.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We've learned a lot more about how it spread, how we can mitigate the spread of the disease, how we can keep our campus as safe as possible. I'd like to ask Dr. Nick Van Terheyden from Accountable Health to speak for just a few minutes and tell us a bit about what we have learned about this disease and what are some of the most important things that we can do as a campus community to mitigate its spread. Dr. Van Terheyden.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

Thank you very much and thank you to the faculty for the opportunity to appear here. Very briefly, I'm an emergency room physician, I've spent the last six months focused on COVID-19, the mitigation, and indeed how we address businesses schools returning to safely. To answer your question very specifically and I think it's important to note that our understanding of this virus has changed and continue to move over the course of time. And that's one of the things that challenges everybody in this, because the information and the guidance has changed and very specifically in the recent past, what we've seen is a move towards more transmission through aerosolization.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

And I know on this call, there are tremendously informed and well-educated folks who forgive me if I'm explaining things in more of a simplistic manner, but just for the benefit of those that don't understand this, it boils down to droplet size and aerosols are smaller droplets that allow for transmission over a greater distance and to hang in the air for an extended period of time.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

Now that said, we've changed a little bit in terms of our guidance around how we prevent it at this point in time, based on the tools set that we have as physicians to both prevent and treat, and that relates as much as anything to contact in enclosed spaces and the best example of this and how we continue to prevent the spread of the disease comes in fact, from a hairstylist in Missouri, where two hairstylists actually had or developed the disease, they were not aware of it until testing showed it up. And for eight days they were styling hair.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

In the case of one of the individuals, 84 clients and then the other 56 and over the course of that eight days, not one single transmission was detected through excellent contact tracing because that hairstylist had effected a very good contact tracing and recording protocol followed through, they tested up and of the 130 plus and seven employees, not a single one. The important point here was that they included not just the individuals and the interaction in the hairstyling studio, where they had the distancing, they had the mass protocol, but it also extended into the break rooms and all of the other areas.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

It was absolutely built into the ethos of the organization and that's very much what we've tried to bring as part of the insights and ongoing guidance to Baylor. I'm going to hand it back to you, Provost Brickhouse and happy to take questions on an ongoing basis.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Thank you so much. And it's one of the reasons why we're emphasizing so heavily the importance of masking. These classrooms have actually been designed in order to mitigate the transmission of the disease by focusing heavily on masking. And that was what has been shown to be a key tool in terms of mitigating the spread. As Dr. Van Terheyden mentioned, the risk oftentimes comes in places like break rooms, friends and family gatherings was the way that Waco experienced it's spike in terms of transmission. When people let their guard down, when people take their face masks off is generally when you see transmission occurring.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

And so that's one of the reasons why our masking policy was so important to put in place, and it will be important in our first few weeks of school for everyone to be totally compliant and to remind one another. It's very challenging sometimes in classrooms where you don't really want to be the police over behavior, but I think at least in the first few weeks, it will be important to watch the way in which students are behaving and making sure that those masks are up over the noses.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

A mask around the chin is not going to do them a lot of good, but that kind of diligent, disciplined execution of the masking policy, I think will be critically important to getting us through the semester safely and with a good academic experience. A unique Baylor experience. It will be a fall like none other, but nevertheless, a very rewarding one.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

The baseline testing that we're doing right now, the intent of that pre-campus arrival testing is to bring down the viral load that we're bringing to campus. In other words, we want to bring down those numbers of positive cases, to a level where we can mitigate the cases that we have on campus. We realized that a negative test actually doesn't tell us that much. It's a snapshot time. However, a positive test is very meaningful and a positive test means that we can prevent that individual from coming to campus and potentially spreading it to others.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

In addition to the testing that we're doing right now prior to campus arrival, we'll also have symptomatic testing, we'll have testing of close contacts, we'll also have some surveillance testing, testing of samples and pools of samples in order to determine how well we're doing in terms of mitigating the disease. We're also doing some testing of sewers around campus. So we know that the virus is emitted through the body and into our sewer systems and we can actually pinpoint at the level of building where we have spites in terms of the virus.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So if we have, for example, a spike in Collins, we'll know that we need to do more testing there to figure out where the individuals are, who the individuals are that may be coming down with the disease. I'm actually quite excited about what we have in place. I think we can do this. I'm very optimistic that if we are diligent in terms of following our protocols and encouraging those around us to follow those protocols, that we can do this. We can have a successful fall by establishing these norms early and being able to prepare also for successful spring.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

This is the new norm so to speak. We're practicing this fall for successful spring. And so I appreciate your engagement with the challenges that we're facing. It will take a community, it will take the entire Baylor community for this to be effective and it's one of the reasons why the president and I were so anxious to have this forum so that we could engage you in these efforts as we move towards the fall to assure a safe and wonderful educational experience for us all. So I will stop, and I believe we have a few questions.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Okay, the way we're going to operate this, we have been collecting questions throughout the summer, and I've already sent these questions to the president's council and then others have been able to view them. We have a series of 11 questions that we think are general enough to provide at least some of the information that faculty want. We have some other follow up questions, but in addition to the follow up questions that we've already received, if you look at the bottom of your Zoom software, you should see a Q&A button, feel free to pose questions to us. Coretta Pittman in the in the Department of English, she's the chair elect of the faculty Senate. She's helping me to monitor those questions.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

We will do the best we can to get to some of those today if we can, for any question that we're not able to get to today, we will provide written responses to those questions hopefully early next week. So feel free to pose the questions. If we don't get to your question, we are sorry. Again, we have a lot of information we need to convey today, but feel free to submit your questions and if we can't answer them in the forum, then we will answer them in written response.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

I'm going to go through my list first, and some of these have shorter direct answers, and some of them do not. But the first question is, "What should be included in our syllabi about COVID-19?"

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So I believe on Monday of this week, I sent out a message to the faculty from Jim Benninghoff's office that listed very specific language around attendance, around the masking policy, the enforcement of that, contingency plans, et cetera. So those, that information is on the COVID virus website, as well as on the provost website.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. Second question is, "What should a faculty member do if a student is visibly sick, but still comes to a class or otherwise fails to follow directives about social distancing, masks and so forth?" And there's a follow up question to that is, "What if a student asks for an accommodation under the American with Disabilities Act," and the question is, "Can that student change to an online schedule once a semester has begun?"

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Okay. So if a student comes to class visibly ill, they should not be allowed to attend class. Let me say one thing to start with. A norm that we need to change is that students are accustomed to going to class with mild symptoms. And for that matter, a lot of faculty and staff are also accustomed to going to work with symptoms of a cold. So even mild symptoms, we will have a for screening on a daily basis, so that all faculty staff and students are checking for these mild symptoms every day, because that is what we're trying to do to change behavior so that students and then all of us will begin to respond differently to health symptoms that we might otherwise ignore.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

If they come to class, you should not let them attend. You should ask them to go to the health center. If a student is not wearing a mask, you should offer them a mask, and if they refuse to wear a mask, you should not allow them in into the class. If they still don't leave, you may want to dismiss the class. You should definitely send that person's name to student conduct, because that is a disciplinary infraction.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Now, in terms of the online classes, we're trying to get those in place now so that we're not having a lot of people change into online classes after the semester starts. Nevertheless, if there is someone who needs and accommodation and comes to us late, we will do everything that we can to make that accommodation happen.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

I'm going to switch over. Oh, there was one question, we've had quite a number already posts from the audience. I want to ask this one. "How long can the virus hang in the air in aerosol form? What does this mean about faculty office interaction with students and other faculty? Obviously all should wear mass when more than one person is in the office, but what is the threat of an asymptomatic positive faculty member who removes the mask when alone to shed the virus in their own office and transmit to another person who enters."

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I am going to refer that to Dr Nick Van Terheyden.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

So I thank you for that. Our understanding continues to evolve at this point in terms of the length or duration of transmissibility. And one of the challenges is that we can detect viral fragments, but those viral fragments may not necessarily be infective. We certainly understand that there is more transmission, but based on the current evidence and certainly the work that's been done by Baylor, there are a number of teams focusing on air circulation, the filtration where that's possible and dealing with the HPAC systems, then minimizing that as much as possible by ensuring a regular circulation and the inclusion of outside fresh air as part of that process.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

And as Nancy pointed out, importantly with mask wearing, we reduce that to the absolute minimum that we can based on the tools that we have currently available. In specific circumstances, there's certainly some discussion about additional capabilities that might be included in small rooms that maybe don't have the same amount of circulation to mitigate as much as possible.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

The other thing I would add to that, I think it's also why... We're going to have hand wipes and hand sanitizer really all over campus as you go in and out of classrooms and we really encourage people to have hand wipes and sanitizer in their office so that you can wipe down surfaces as you hand sanitize, encourage people in your office to do that because that will also help mitigate any surfaces.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

I know they don't believe that the transmission is as much from surfaces as it is from the air, but that can also help mitigate particular if you're in your office and you haven't been wearing a mask and someone comes in or something. So there's multiple of these factors that can help us mitigate the risks.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

Absolutely and if I may just add on additional point to that, what we said three to four or five months ago was there was an absolute fear of packages being delivered, foods coming to the door and there has been an absolute shift away not to say that that is not important and we shouldn't take appropriate precautions, but far less in terms of that transmissibility.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. We're getting a lot of questions about testing. I'm revising this on the fly, but let me try to phrase it this way, can you briefly describe the protocols for testing, including what will happen if somebody does have a positive test. Some have asked online, are we going to test others, including the custodial staff? And then another related question, will there be follow-up testing, including antibody testing to determine possible...

Mr. Matt Cordon:

... including antibody testing to determine possible immunity from COVID. Those are three pretty broad questions, but trying to answer or ask as many as I can.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So I can answer some of those. The custodial, we are working very closely with Aramark. In fact, I believe it was yesterday. I know Peter is on the call. He can correct me if I get this wrong. We had something like 500 Aramark employees tested. This is a part of our campus community that we're paying a lot of attention to because they are at high risk or in a demographic that have hit pretty hard by this virus, and so we are testing them on a regular basis. We have a great relationship with Aramark. Positive cases are being reported to Aramark, but Aramark is then letting us know what their numbers are, but they also have been very good partners in terms of assuring that we have good cleaning protocols in place and protocols that take into account the safety of these employees.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Let me give you an example. One of the things that we were recently talking about with regard to a student illness in a dorm, say a student is found to be COVID positive. We need to go in and close and clean that room quite thoroughly. Well, we're actually going to close the doors for 24 hours and let nature take its course before we send a custodian in there to clean the room, because that mitigates risk to the custodian. So those are the kinds of protocols that I'm thinking about, but again, I think it's very important that we pay close attention to that particularly vulnerable population. Now, Matt, you asked a bunch of questions all at the same time, and I can't remember what the other ones are.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Are we going to have follow-up testing, including antibody testing?

Mr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We will have follow-up testing, yes. Exactly what that's going to look like is a work in progress. I don't anticipate that we will have antibody testing. Our understanding of that at this point is that it is simply not accurate enough to be very valuable, and we don't know what to do with the results, so I'm doubtful that we will do that.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Another series of questions are asking about the types of masks that are permitted. Are there expectations on what types of masks that faculty, staff and students will wear? Some students prefer the bandanas or the less effective, I guess, masks.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

The masking policy is written fairly broadly in terms of what is allowed. Face shields do not substitute for masks, but we want to make sure that noses and mouths are covered. And I will say, also, I actually brought one of these. I'm told ... Can you all see these? These are the little cheap disposable masks, but these are some that seem to be most effective while teaching. If you want to be heard, they're comfortable, they're breathable, that sort of thing. I really want to encourage the faculty to try teaching in a mask before your students arrive and find what's comfortable for you and what works actually in the room where you'll be teaching. You can actually go to the room where you be teaching now and use the technology and try all of that in advance, so that you can make sure that you're in a comfortable situation.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

A similar line of questioning, and again, I'm just reading the questions as they come in. Has there been any discussion of installing plexiglass as an option instead of masks?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Plexiglass does not substitute for masks.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And we are using plexiglass in some locations, particularly in offices where social distancing is challenging, particularly at the reception desks. I believe, and Peter might be the better person to answer this, in some of the communal restroom facilities and some of our residence halls, putting up plexiglass between sinks and such, so we are using it. Peter, do you want to speak a little bit to that? I think you're still on mute, so ... Can you unmute Peter?

Mr. Peter Granick:

That would be helpful, wouldn't it? So we are going to be using plexiglass in a couple of areas. So some of the tents will have plexiglass to promote social distancing as a study area. Some of the areas that you would go into, like the bookstore, those types of things where we have cashiers and that we'll be using plexiglass. But the problem with using plexiglass as a barrier solely for teaching is you still have the projection in the air, and you can still get it back as well, so it doesn't substitute for a mask as, Nancy and Dr. Livingstone were indicating.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

A similar kind of question is about the air filtration systems, whether the buildings will have improved filtration or improve the HVAC systems.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Absolutely.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

We'll let Peter take that one too, because they put a lot of time and effort into what we're doing with air filtration, and it's different in different locations, given the different systems we have, but Peter, could you speak to that too?

Mr. Peter Granick:

I think that's flat on or spot on. Depending upon the building, we've done a number of things. So in places where we can go ahead and enhance the filtration that we have, we've done that. In places where we can go ahead and allow more fresh air into the buildings, we're also driving as much fresh air and getting as much circulation as we can of fresh air into the buildings. So we've gone literally building by building, and Don Bagby and Joel Bernias at Aramark have spent a considerable amount of time in this particular area.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Can I add one other bit of information? And that is in restrooms, the tendency is to take your mask off, and I would say you really need to wear the mask anytime you're inside, including in restrooms, even if you're alone. So that's one of the areas that we're also paying a lot of attention to in our residence halls, and we need to also remind our students that they should be wearing a mask anytime that they're inside a building, with the exception of being in their own residence hall room.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Next question. Will there be guidance for traffic flow at choke points such as stairways and classroom entrance and exit points that indicate direction for pedestrian traffic?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Yes. Go ahead.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Yeah. So we're actually in the process of building that out right now. Dennis Nolan, who's in charge of our environmental health and safety efforts on campus, is working on those traffic flow patterns and signage and all that will help with that in partnership with Aramark. Interestingly enough, we had actually done a study, I believe last January before COVID really hit full force, around our high traffic areas and what some of those traffic patterns were. It was completely unrelated to COVID, but that data now is going to be really helpful to us as we do the planning for traffic flow and traffic patterns, and then that will be something we can monitor as well and see where we need to.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

We may find out a traffic flow we thought was going to work doesn't, so we'll make adaptations. So that is in process. You probably haven't seen any of that signage or anything yet or all of it. There will also be guidance about which doors go into in different buildings. There will be markings to show you how to distance to wait on elevators and if there's places where there's lines, so yes, they're working hard, particularly in high traffic areas to have some traffic patterns that should help limit the spread.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

We're getting several questions on is there going to be some sort of a trigger that would lead us to go back fully online? I'm trying to consolidate a bunch of these questions, but I have three already prepared. I'll ask those, and I think that should answer quite a number of the ones I'm seeing on the Q&A. First one is what is the benchmark for needing to go completely back online? That is, at what point will Baylor decide that it has to do that?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Okay. Well, let me provide kind of a high level overview of the process that we're using this fall to monitor and track the data that will be helping us make these decisions, and then I'm going to ask Dr. Ben Ryan and our environmental science department to provide his expertise to this as well. So we have set up a new COVID taskforce, kind of a data team that is in the processes of developing a dashboard for us, where we will be putting into that all of the data, both from the county and the city as well as on campus related to testing and positive tests and isolation and contact tracing and on and on, so we'll have a lot of data in it. And then that team will be meeting daily to update that dashboard to evaluate that data.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Dr. Ben Ryan is chairing that group, but it also includes Dr. Sharon Stern, who is the head of our health center, Dennis Nolan, environmental health and safety, and George Nunez, who leads our emergency management efforts, and then Megan Wheelus from institutional research and testing, so that we can analyze the data, can look at trend data and use that data then to help us make decisions related to testing, as Nancy said, related to when we need to strengthen some of our efforts, when we could loosen up some of our efforts. But that group will be meeting daily to review that data, to analyze it, and then they will be sharing that data with president's council on a daily basis and their observations and recommendations based on that data. Then we will use that to make decisions on a broader level about steps we need to take.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

So Dr. Ryan, he has just been with us for I think just a few years, but he has a background in public health and dealing with communicable diseases and the public health implications and how to help organizations and communities work through and come back from pandemics and public health crises, so we are really blessed and fortunate to have him on faculty. We didn't know when we hired him that this was going to be one of the really wonderful contributions he made to our community, but we are thankful he's here, and he's been a huge contributor so far to the work that we're doing and will continue to be that certainly in the months ahead. So, Dr. Ryan, you might talk a little bit more about how you're thinking about that data and the kinds of things we'll be looking at as we make some of these decisions, including whether ultimately we might need to go back online.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

Thank you, President Livingstone. So yes, the dashboard that we're setting up will really be focused on multiple indicators, so there's no set trigger on when we'd recommend to transition online. The reason I say that is for example, if we've got contact tracing in process, if we have one case on campus and then a contact has identified 10 other cases that need to go into quarantine or isolation, if there's more cases within that group, that's being tracked and traced, that's not losing control of your outbreak. Once you start getting people outside that group that's traced and tracked, that's when you're starting to have some challenges with controlling your outbreak. So that's the fundamentals of one indicator for contact tracing, for example.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

We're also going to be looking at the COVID Waco site to really understand what's going on in the broader picture, so how's our hospital capacity looking in the broader community? What's that looking like? We'll also be looking at our RT number for the Waco area, with a key figure that we're trying to stick to is below one. That's really an indicator of whether the outbreak's increasing or decreasing. So I think Texas currently is below one, so we're trending in the right direction, just as an example.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

Another trigger that we're looking at is our isolation rooms. There's going to be some isolation rooms for our students staying on campus, so we're going to monitor their capacity. That's also a key indicator, because if we can't put our students into isolation when we're doing contact tracing, that compromises our ability to control any outbreak. We'll also be looking at our positivity rate as well as an indicator. There is natural bias with how it's currently done now in that people who have symptoms are going and getting tested, but what we're looking at doing is doing surveillance space testing, and we're looking at key figures there. Around 5% is where you want to be when you're doing surveillance testing, and that's really the recommendation globally. European Union's using that number and World Health Organization, and that continually is refined and looked at.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

We'll also be looking down in detail about the number of students in a dorm or a whole situation that may have COVID, so we can understand. A bit similar to the COVID Waco Dashboard, where you can look at ZIP code, we'll be looking at our building situations as well. We're also going to get data and information on faculty as well and staff, because another key threshold whether we go online is if we have a department that a lot of the faculty can't teach that will naturally need to go online if they can't teach in person.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

So there's a multitude of indicators we're considering, and that's really why we've got a multidisciplinary team to really assess where we are and where we need to go, and that really is best practice for these types of scenarios. People do recommend multidisciplinary teams because that minimize the blind spots. I've got mine and so do other people, so having a group of people from different professions I think can put us in the best position we can to make the best recommendations possible to the president's council. We'll also compliment this with daily reports on cases, so we're going to have that in the dashboard, so that also will be a key indicator for us, along with Aramark and our contractors and vendors, because we need them to deliver our services.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

So all those factors is why there's no one key trigger. We could have issues in one area but not in others, and that would allow us to continue operations, or maybe it does get worse, and then we need to consider online. So they're the multitude of factors we're considering, and I think it's quite comprehensive, and we're ready for the semester.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

A follow up question for Ben. Can you define surveillance testing?

Dr. Ben Ryan:

Yes. So the surveillance testing, we're still just mapping out what that will look like, because our aspirational goal is to be able to do an RT for our Baylor community. Whether we can get there or not is another story, but what that is is really looking at testing, and we're working at the plan of people within the community doing random sampling is probably the best way to describe it. What the idea there is you're testing your general population, so it's not based on symptoms or anything along those lines. It's testing your population, and there has been some examples of the effectiveness of this and working out what's going.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

There are some bubbles scenarios, as you're familiar with, with some sports. What we're doing with testing before we get to campus is a form of surveillance testing. We will understand our positivity rate amongst staff, faculty, and students, and then we're looking at doing a smaller scale on campus, which will allow us to do something similar. Some of the trends that we have seen is you might start, for example, at 10% at the first round, and then you might be 2.5% once you get onto campus. They're just examples. Again, this is new territory, and that's what we mean by surveillance, because that gives you a more accurate positivity rate, and then you can understand the prevalence. So that's what we mean by surveillance testing.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Hey, Ben, would you define the RT, or I think sometimes it's called the R-naught score, because I'm not sure everyone understands kind of technically what that means, but as you said, it's a really important number for us to understand.

Dr. Ben Ryan:

Yes. So that number there really allows us to understand reproduction rate of the disease. So if it's below one, say if it's 0.9, if you get a case, 0.9 people will catch it from you, so you want to be under one. If you're at two, if you're a case, you potentially give that to two people. We're working with Dr. Muehlenbein, chair of anthropology, to work out what our surveillance testing would need to look like on campus to give us the right RT calculations and indications. Again, this is new territory doing this at a community such as Baylor, but we're working on solutions to try to get there, but we will have surveillance testing. That will come into inform our positivity rates more than people getting tested because they got symptoms, and that's currently what happens. A lot around the country, there's symptomatic testing. So we're looking at really getting a true understanding of positivity.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

A related question as well. The information that may be available on this dashboard, will that be publicly available, available to faculty, or in any other means?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

We will be providing summary information to the community. We do. We provide some of that now on a daily basis on the COVID-19 website, and so as we kind of flesh out the dashboard, we'll be providing some of that summary information, some of the key information that's most helpful to the community. So we will be sharing that as appropriate as we begin to ... We haven't actually stood up the dashboard and begun using it on a daily basis yet, but summaries of that on some of the high level data that's most valuable for the community to be aware of will be shared.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

We have three follow up questions to what we've been discussing. The first one is specific. Discuss the HVAC system at the Piper Child Development Center. Will there be improvements to that HVAC system?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

I'm going to have to look to Brett or Peter on that one specifically. I've seen some of the information about specific buildings, but I've not seen anything specific to Piper. But I don't know, Peter or Brett, if you could speak to that.

Mr. Peter Granick:

I definitely don't have anything specific to Piper only. Brett, do you?

Mr. Brett Dalton:

No, Linda. I apologize as well. I don't have building-specific information, but if we can find out who has that question, we'll follow up with that.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

We'll get that information, but it's a good question. Obviously, with people's children there, I can see why that would be a significant question people would have, but we'll get the answer to that.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. Another, this is specific to a building. There have been concerns on the Baylor Science Building about faculty and staff having trouble purchasing cleaning equipment. What can the university do to help them secure disinfectant wipes and who should they contact?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Peter is the champion of all things purchased on campus, so Peter, you get that.

Mr. Peter Granick:

Yeah. Contact Aramark. If you're looking for any cleaning supplies whatsoever, get ahold of Aramark. If you have difficulties getting a hold of Aramark, I hate to say this, but let me know, and I will certainly help out. The other thing is for masks specifically, get ahold of Dennis in EH&S as well. So if you're looking for the disposable or something specific in that arena, Dennis should have it.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Last of these follow-up questions. Either can we or how can we monitor a student behavior off campus and how will we approach that monitoring if it's possible?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

That is probably going to be the biggest challenge to the public health efforts that we have in place for this fall, and so I think we will certainly do messaging through the public health campaign we're doing on campus to encourage students not just to comply with the guidance we're giving on campus, but to comply with it off campus as well. There certainly are guidelines in place with the city as well that students need to comply with when they're off campus that relates to the size of gatherings and social distancing and other things. So I think it's going to continue to be messaging, communication. I might defer to Kevin and also give him a chance to speak to how they're working with students and student groups to try to encourage good public health behaviors, regardless of where they happen to be, because we do recognize that this is a huge challenge. I think you saw, last week, University of Texas put out a statement that they were banning all off campus parties, so Kevin, I'll let you speak to the success of that effort at University of Texas.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Yeah, that didn't go well, did it?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

They didn't get a lot of good press on that one.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

No.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

But Kevin, you might speak to this.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Sure.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

It's a challenge, but it is something we recognize we've got to work on.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Yeah. We've been spending a lot of time this summer talking to our students and our student leaders. I've had them on a committee helping us develop a public health campaign, which we're calling Family First. And in talking to our students we're really leaning into our student leadership to model the way. And it's been very interesting.

Dr. Kevin Jackson::

There is a great motivational factor here for our students that we've discovered, and that factor is they want to be at Baylor. And so, this idea of going into fully online or having to go back to their permanent address and their houses, I mean they have just upfront said, "Let us know what we can do to help this semester go well." So, we've been working very closely with that. We've got a great public health campaign that we're going to be rolling out. Student leadership's going to be key. We're going to have a student leader round table right before the semester starts.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

And then we've set up our student conduct process. We'll have a email specifically for people to write in with concerns about behaviors that appear to be violating what our expectations are on campus and off campus. And then we'll follow up on those. We'll make contact. We'll try to determine what's taking place. And always, always, always, we're going to be educating our students and ourselves on the individual responsibility we must each take and the collective commitment we must each support and other to not just start the semester well, but to finish it well.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And then certainly, I think one of the areas of concern is the housing that's immediately off campus particularly. Not even so much the apartments, but the houses. And our campus police, as well as the Waco Police, do patrol those areas and have always sort of tried to help manage parties that are occurring. And of course, there's stricter guidelines around groups that can be together. So, they'll be doing the same kind of patrolling and encouraging compliance with the city guidelines as well as the public health guidelines as well, and then certainly feed some of that back into the student conduct process if we're seeing really poor behavior on the parts of students.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Yes.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Are faculty and staff allowed on campus to access our offices and classrooms, library and so forth before we receive our COVID tests?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So, we are not asking faculty and staff to change their current work arrangements. If they are already on campus and have been working on campus, they should continue to do so. If you've been off campus however, we're asking that you not return until you have taken the test and submitted those tests and have received a negative result.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And I believe we should all be getting those very soon, within the next few days. And so, hopefully, folks will be getting those and be able to get those tests very soon.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I got my email yesterday. It's on its way.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Can you please explain the protocols that will apply up to backup teachers? This relates to the announcement that faculty need to have backups to teach their classes. And what I explained to Dr. Brickhouse is I think the intent behind this question is something from an upper administration perspective, although we know that individual departments will probably have individual ways of handling those backup instruction systems.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So, we are asking the departments to really develop a plan that works for their department. The goal here is academic continuity. We want to just be able to maintain the instructional offerings. And we're asking the departments to figure out ways in which they can pivot, should a faculty member get ill. And so, I think that how that's going to work will have to be handled at the local level, but we're here to support and provide guidance wherever possible.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. Okay. Can you please explain the policy that applies to recording of classes in terms of ownership, licensing, control, permissions and so forth?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So, our current policy makes it clear that faculty own the... have the intellectual property rights of the course that they are delivering. There is no change being made in that policy. I mean, I think that in an era of increasing online instruction, that there may be cases where there will be a negotiation with a faculty member regarding those intellectual property rights. But unless it's been negotiated in advance, the faculty can be assured that they have the full rights to those recordings.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. Another technology-related question. What technology will be available and utilized for recording of classes? Relatedly, will all teachers of record, including graduate students, have that technology available?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So, I would like David Burns from the library, who oversees our academic technology support, to respond to that question.

Mr. David Burns:

Sure. Thanks, Nancy. Yeah. So, most of the classrooms that are going to be in... or many of the classrooms that are going to be in use this semester will be equipped with cameras and microphones. Many others will be equipped with microphones only.

Mr. David Burns:

But as far as the details and the specifics, I would really encourage folks to go to the Learning Together website. In fact, you can go to... it's baylor.edu/learningtogether/classroomtech. And there is a tool there that will allow you to search for the room that you're scheduled to be in. And it will provide you with the remote delivery options that are available in that room, whether recording's available, if it's going to be auto-scheduled or not in that space.

Mr. David Burns:

Right now, we have four different types of classrooms. Types one and two are essentially camera rooms. Types three and four are essentially microphone, audio-only recording rooms. But that website will give you, we hope, all the information you need to at least be prepared to come in and test out. We do encourage you to come into these rooms and test them out as soon as you're able to do that. And that website is continually updated as we deploy technology to more rooms. And that will continue all the way up to probably the day before 8/24.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

And these resources are available to graduate students as well.

Mr. David Burns:

That's true, yes.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

All teachers of record.

Mr. David Burns:

And if graduate students need a laptop, I understand that there are some that may not have access to a laptop, if there's not a computer in the classroom that they're in, ITS, through the technology loaner program, has some laptops for that purpose. They met some of those needs in the spring, so I would say, have the grad students contact the help desk with questions about that.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

There were problems this summer with both Canvas and Kaltura. Have those problems been resolved or improved? Or have the use of systems been improved?

Mr. David Burns:

Yeah. I'm looking at the question in chat. Are you referring to Sharon's question there about the support?

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes.

Mr. David Burns:

Yeah. So, a couple of things on that. One is that we're continually communicating with the Canvas folks about their support because we have a 24/7 Canvas phone number and chat service available. And so, we're continually keeping track of that and communicating with those folks. They are working to expand capacity. And I know they're preparing for even greater demand in the fall.

Mr. David Burns:

And then we also have migrated to... My area, which primarily supports Canvas and Kaltura as well as a number of other things, we've migrated to the help desks... or the ticketing system that ITS has deployed. And I think that will be a much more efficient way of handling tickets. So, I encourage folks who have questions or issues to go through the help desk to get that routed to the right person quickly.

Mr. David Burns:

And then one more thing. If you've seen the announcement and the information about the iDesign partnership with the design firm, there is additional support that can be provided by those iDesign folks. So, in the faculty hub that you'll see in Canvas that all faculty should be enrolled in and teachers of record, you'll be able to reach out to the iDesign folks and also get some support. So, we're actually adding another team really of support for these products as well.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Since you're on, another question, technology. Do the microphones in the classroom project into the room, or are they for recording only?

Mr. David Burns:

In some cases, they do project into the room. We have speaker systems in the room for what we call voice lift. In other cases, they do not. They're just installed for recording only.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Okay. Thank you. What accommodations are being made for faculty responsible for childcare, especially in light of the local school districts delaying in-person classes until September?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So, we are working... Well, first of all, my understanding is that the classes now are actually starting on time. So, I think, again, this is a very dynamic situation, and so things change on a week-to-week basis. We do recognize that that childcare can be a challenge. And we are asking our department chairs to work with faculty on an individual basis.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We have an increasing number of students asking for fully online schedules. And so, we are creating additional online schedules or sections of classes. And so, you could check with your department chair to see if there may be a way in which you could teach one of those online sections and if there's a way of backfilling the course that you're currently assigned for.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

But again, we're trying to be as flexible as possible. And at the same time, we have to make sure that we meet the instructional needs of our students.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

I think this is a similar, will probably have the same answer, but what accommodations should be made for students who have loved ones sick with COVID-19?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I mean, I think the accommodations there would be the same as any other semester in which there's a personal problem, a personal challenge that the student is facing. And I think we just have to be very flexible and empathetic under these conditions. We do have the ability to offer these classes remotely, and that provides more options for students who have those kinds of challenges.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. We had several questions about the Baylor site. I think maybe given [inaudible 00:58:48] and get through all of those. So, I am reading the questions, but I'm not sure we can get to all of those. We had one question. Are there any policies on paper handouts in class, especially given that a lot of the classes will be hybrid, plus the concern about spreading through anything on paper.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

There are no policies with regard to paper. However, I would encourage you, for all kinds of reasons, to minimize using paper handouts. Save a few trees, spread a little less illness, use PDFs online as much as you can.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. I'm going to read the question, but in light of the provost's statement, "All faculty teaching an online or hybrid course must go through the corresponding professional development prior to the beginning of class," what precisely does "must go through" mean? Some have worked through the summer in preparation and there's little need to repeat modules on course goals, engaging students, et cetera, especially if this work has already been done. So, the question is, "What does 'must go through' mean?"

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I mean, the big picture here is we want people to be well-prepared to teach in whatever modality that they are teaching. And we're certainly not asking people to repeat professional development that they've already had. What we are asking people to do is simply to learn all they can during the summer so that we can be assured that the fall semester offerings are Baylor quality, regardless of modality.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And I would just reinforce that, because I think particularly in the spring and early summer, until we really began communicating a lot more about what an online class was going to look like, and I know there was a question too about how are we sort of messaging the quality of online classes to everyone, we were getting lots of questions about the disparate quality of online classes versus face-to-face. And we recognized in the spring, with everybody's really quick transition, it was hard to really stand up at a true, high-quality online class. But the expectation for what happens in an online or hybrid class this fall will be much higher than it was in the spring. And so, we just really want to provide the support that each of you as faculty need to make sure that, no matter what mode you're teaching in, you're delivering it in the highest way, most engaged way you can, given the nature of the way that you're having to deliver that. And that's the expectation that our families and our students and their parents have. And we want to make sure you're getting the support you need to be able to do that, particularly if it's a mode that you haven't taught a lot in, in the past.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Okay. Two student-related questions. One is, how are students who test positive going to be isolated? And relatedly, what are we doing to support the emotional needs of students who are in isolation?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

So, I think-

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Sounds like a Kevin question.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Let's defer to Kevin. And then I think you've got Jim and Sharon on. So, we'll let you guys all take that question.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Certainly. And it's a great question. It's all part of helping our students remain safe and taking care of their well-being this semester. We've been working really hard on this question. And the answer is with our students who are on campus, we have set up a series of rooms that we can move them to, to isolate them and put them in self-isolation, if you will. And as they're in this room, we then have what we call wrap-around care. We have staff who will be bringing those students food as part of the meal plan that they're on, who will be checking in on the students to see how they're doing, who'll be working... We'll actually assign a staff member who is their primary source of contact. And they will be able to contact that staff member, and the staff member them throughout their time in self-isolation.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

So, we feel like we've got a good plan in place for that with our students. And I think it's not only going to take care of kind of the physical aspect of needing to be in self-isolation for this period of time. We're going to work very hard to take care of that sense of emotional and spiritual care for them. And having said that, that's kind of the broad overview. Sharon or Jim, would you want to add anything to that?

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

Sure. I'll add a couple of things. One is we have prepared a student guide, a student COVID guide. It's really to help them prepare for a number of possibilities such as isolation housing if they had to go into self-quarantine, so different things like that. And that should be sent out electronically and online today.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

The other is if a student were to go into isolation housing, there's going to be that wrap-around care, but we will also connect them with Care Team services and help them if they want to connect with someone from the Counseling Center, the Health Center. We do have tele-health appointments. And so, we'll be able to track with them and connect with them. And when they're in that isolation housing, someone will be connecting with them every day.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Dr. Heinz, anything you would add, or Sharon, Dr. Stern?

Dr. Sharon Stern:

I think you guys covered it great. I have nothing to add.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Well, that's a high compliment coming from the director of the medical area for us.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

While Jim's on... He just jumped off, but while Jim's on, we've talked a lot about contact tracing, but could you maybe, and I don't know if there's others that are better ones to answer, but talk a little bit more about what that means? When we contact trace, how's that defined? And what does that mean about who's going to be sort of in that bubble for contact tracing?

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

No, it's a great question. So, we have over 600 contact-tracing hours available to us each week. And what's going to happen is we have a couple of different groups. We have our employee group, we have our student group, and then we have our student athletes. Dennis Nolan will be over the group doing the contact tracing for employees. Dr. Stern is over the group for students. And then Kenny Boyd is over the group for athletics.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

So, the public health department, we've been in communication with them about what they would like for us to do. And so, we're going to handle any employee or student that needs to be contacted. So, we're going to be responsible for that, and we'll communicate those results to the public health department.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

Another question that often comes up is what counts as a close contact. And so, that's going to be 6 feet, 15 minutes with or without a mask. That would initiate a contact trace. So, people have that question a lot. And that has changed some over the summer, even in the last week or so.

Dr. Nick Van Terheyden:

But we are really pleased with the response of our staff. And we also have a partnership with the public health department and their graduate students. We have a number of social work interns who are going to be helping us as well with this program.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

And if I might add-

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Can I-

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

... the process I just mentioned for isolation rooms, I started out by saying that was for our on-campus students. For our off-campus students, we also will be working very closely with them. We'll provide a resource packet to them. They will actually be encouraged to isolate in their off-campus location and/or make a determination if... there's always the option to go back to the parent or guardian home, if they choose to do that. And we've also got very specific instructions about that, if they choose to take that step as well.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Can I also add, in terms of the contact tracing, the way that close contacts are defined means that in a classroom situation, you may have very few or no people that will be defined as a close contact. I know that when this conversation first began, thinking was that you might even have to close down a class if somebody was found to be COVID-positive. That is not the current thinking. It would only be perhaps individuals closest to that person. And it may be actually nobody at all.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Which is a reason I know, Nancy, you also encouraged people to have seating charts in their classes and have people sit in the same seats for every class, because that does help for contact tracing so that we know where people are sitting. And it makes it much easier to know if any of those folks sitting close to them need to be contact traced.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

We just received a question related to that. Are there floor plans and layouts of individual classes, classrooms available online for those who are preparing from home?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Oh...

Mr. Matt Cordon:

... for those who are preparing from home.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Oh. That would be probably ... I don't know if that person is on this call. We may have to get back with you on that. I know that there are such schematics for each classroom, because they were used in order to determine the layout of those classrooms. Whether or not they're available online, I don't know, but we can find out and get back with you on that.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

It's a good question, though.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

I had mistakenly said we had a few minutes left, as it's 90 minutes. My meeting yesterday was 75, so I apologize. So we still have 20 minutes. I apologize again. There are a few shorter questions, I don't think they'll have long answers, but let me ask these before we move on. How soon will everybody who's being tested have a result back?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We hope to have the results back in 48 hours. I will say thus far, we've had good turnaround on our tests. I know that there are a lot of nightmare scenarios out there where the wait for getting the tests has been so long that the tests have actually become worthless. But we have received very good turnaround from our partners on campus, and we will find out in the next day or two exactly what kind of turnaround we will get from Everlywell, which is the company that's doing the at-home testing.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Two related questions to that is, how will others be informed of a positive diagnosis? If a student or a faculty member is diagnosed as positive, will that somehow become publicly available, or will those who have been in contact with that person be contacted? I would assume so.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

So when somebody is found to be positive in terms of COVID, then that person is then contacted by contact tracers who then determine who needs to know in order to be tested. But individual cases will not be reported out. The student is responsible also for contacting the faculty member to let them know that they are missing class time and will need some accommodations in terms of getting their work.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And we're working to ensure that the ways in which we're doing notifications are compliant with HIPAA and FERPA, because they're so critical to us. And there are some sort of nuances around that. But any of the guidance we give around who knows about specific cases is in compliance with those guidelines from the federal government.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

This is really unrelated. Overall health question, is it okay to hydrate in class? Can a professor or student quickly remove his or her mask and drink through a straw or a bottle?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

That's a great question and I really worry about that. I don't think that we have any firm policies on that, but I would discourage it because once people start taking their masks off, you have a whole different level of risk that you're dealing with. I don't know if one of our medical professionals might want to weigh in on this, but I worry about it. I don't know. Dr. Stern or Dr. Van der Heyden?

Dr. Sharon Stern:

I think it would be best to wait until between classes and go outside to take the mask away and take the sip of water. That's what I would recommend.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And Dr. Stern, I also understand that using straws so you don't have to completely take your mask off in whatever setting you're in is the better option as well because there's less chance of transmission.

Dr. Sharon Stern:

True.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Can we open windows in our buildings to mitigate spread of COVID?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

I see no reason why not.

Mr. Brett Dalton:

What I would share is that the work that we've been doing with the engineers, and also, I need to thank the Dean of engineering for his assistance and his expertise in mechanical engineering in HVAC systems. Sometimes when we do things like open windows, it completely changes the engineering of the HVAC system. So while it might seem like a good thing to do in an individual room, it can negatively impact the air circulation for the building system as a whole. So if you have a problem or you have an issue within a specific room, please contact facility services. But in general, what we have done is to try to increase the circulation in the building and to maximize the exchange of air as many times a day as possible for the whole building system. And opening a window in a particular room can actually do harm to the rest of the building and the rest of the rooms in that facility. So as much as possible, we would ask that you leave things as they are, but if you experience a problem, immediately contact facilities and we'll look into that.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Any possibility that the Ferrell Center would be used as classroom space?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We are not planning on that right now.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Teaching time question. It has been noted that extended time in enclosed spaces has been discouraged. What do people do if they teach for 75 minutes?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I don't think that they do anything differently. Again, I'll refer back to the example given at the hairdressers, giving... I don't know about you. It takes a little longer than 75 minutes for me to get my hair done. As long as those safety protocols are being followed and people are wearing masks and wearing them as they should be worn, I think that 75 minutes is probably not going to require that you do anything differently.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

It does not take very long for me to get my hair done. How do we encourage students not to hang around in buildings after classes are dismissed?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We are going to have people in the buildings to help at the beginning of the semester to keep the flow of traffic moving. There will be, again, arrows pointing in one direction, and we do want them to empty out. We'll have people in some of the buildings with high traffic flow to help to facilitate that.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

And I think it was in my presidential perspective yesterday about the ambassadors program that we're going to have in place the first two weeks of the semester to have really volunteers in the buildings, particularly those with high traffic areas to really help manage that flow. And I think a lot of this is making sure that those first couple of weeks of the semester we embed good habits in everybody so that they carry on through the rest of the semester. So certainly if folks want to volunteer to be an ambassador or know of others that might, we encourage folks to do that. The more of those we have for those first couple of weeks, the better off we'll be.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Does Baylor Health Center have set policies about who can visit and how? And will the Health Center have tests?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Dr. Stern can answer that question.

Dr. Sharon Stern:

We have been testing students since March 16th on campus. We have assisted the athletes testing over the summer months. So we will continue to do that testing. Right now we have both antigen test and the PCR test.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

And Sharon, can you mention what we're doing with the respiratory clinic and those special steps that we're taking there?

Dr. Sharon Stern:

Yes. So in order to keep ill patients out of the recreation center, we have established the respiratory clinic and COVID testing site in the North Village Community Center. It looks really nice, actually. We were able to kind of divide the building in half and there should be a nice flow for that. So now we've got three different areas, so we'll continue to see both tele-health and in person visits in the health center and then over there, but it will be by appointment only.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Yes. And we're going to continue to work with a process through which students can call in, kind of go through an assessment over the phone to see if they may have the symptoms that would then indicate they needed to be tested. This is a process we've been working on since March. Really getting it down to more of an exact science with our students. Because of course what you want to try and do is separate those students who may have COVID like symptoms away from other students who are going to have allergies and they got a scratchy throat and they just need to come in and see someone. So we've been working really hard on that. We're going to have our respiratory clinic open on Saturday morning. Isn't that right, Dr. Stern?

Dr. Sharon Stern:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

That's what we decided. So we have additional opportunities for our students there. And we want to be in a position to do the very best we can to answer those questions. We've even got some tele-health that we're going to be able to do through our health center so students can actually meet with them via their phones and do some initial assessment with them there. So really proud of Sharon and the work that they've been doing. And Jim and his areas, plural, really wanting to get out and meet our students where they are, especially when it comes to virtual kinds of services.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

What should a faculty member or staff or student do who receives a positive test right before the semester starts, for example, on August 20th?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Well, they should isolate for two weeks until they've been medically cleared to continue.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

We work closely with their own medical professional on the right treatment and support that they need.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

A faculty member may need to use that plan B at the very beginning of the semester if they're not able to actually meet the students. And I do expect, by the way, we'll have a number of students that will not be able to start the semester face to face. And so you may well get requests from students at the very beginning of the semester to be able to engage in your class remotely until they've been cleared to come to campus.

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

And might I say on this, this is also a great example of what we will be leaning into as well. Because as we know of students who have tested positive, in essence, they're going to be in self isolation wherever they choose to be. Now, if it's at home, their permanent home, we're not able to typically help in that situation as much, although we will still assign a person to them. We'll still visit with them, find out what questions they have, how we can be of assistance to them. So we'll lean into a part of that too with the services that we can provide in helping them navigate what they're to do next.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Will there be an exam schedule?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Will there be an... I'm going to ask Wes Null to take this question.

Dr. Wesley Null:

Sure. Happy to do that. I mean, final exams are scheduled like they have been in the past. We moved the dates slightly for post-Thanksgiving related to those adjustments. But final exams, if that's what the question is about, will be scheduled and coordinated like they have been in the past. They'll just be online instead of in person.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thank you. Let's see. How are the tents being constructed going to be used?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

So Bret, do you want to take that one? It's been kind of cool to watch him go up over the last week or so, but are you there Brett?

Mr. Brett Dalton:

Yeah, I am. And I'm not, excuse me. I'm not dodging this question. But our focus was to ensure the tents are properly constructed, ensure that they have adequate electricity, air flow, wifi access. And then the actual programming of the tents, the utilization is being shared by primarily two different areas. Student Life has certain spaces and times that they will program the tents. And then I think Wes Null in the academic area is the best person to describe how the tents are being scheduled and programmed for courses and for academic purposes. But Student Life and academics own the tents. Our job is to make sure that they're working properly.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

My understanding is that a lot of the tents that you're seeing going up, for example, across from Memorial Hall or being used by Student Life for dining. The dining area in Memorial is way too small for those students. And we know that dining is a real risk area. So having adequate spacing for our dining facilities is critically important. A lot of these tents are also going to be available for students in between classes because they will want... many of our classes are being offered in a hybrid format. And some students are in the classroom, others are engaged remotely. So this provides a place for those remote students to be if they don't want to go all the way home.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

We also have a special tent for the School of Music. As you know, music has... let me put this tactfully. There's a lot of spitting going on when people are performing musically. It is a high risk activity and they asked for open air tents. And so their tents that they are using for musical instruction have no sides and will be used entirely by them. There's also a tent going up at the law school. Again, that's being used as additional space for students when they're not in class to attend remotely and to be used for other kinds of such capabilities.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Kevin, do you or Wes have anything to add?

Dr. Kevin Jackson:

Sure. I would just add first and foremost what a blessing it is to have these additional spaces. There's a handful of other schools who have tried this. I think Rice is a little perturbed that we're out distancing now with the number of tents that we have and how nice our tents are. But it's super important to us, right? I mean, first priority academic space, you've heard the music school, you've heard the law school, et cetera. Second, it's going to be overflow for dining. It is, dining can be one of those situations where you want to make sure that you have as much space as possible for people to eat and to spread out. And then we're going to have it as opportunities for students to study in the evening. We'll probably do a few events, socially distanced events of appropriate nature in our tents. So they're going to be multipurposed and we expect they're going to be used constantly.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Wes, would you like to [crosstalk 00:17:41].

Dr. Wesley Null:

Real quickly, I put in the chat area a link to a website, a release from Baylor that provides a few more. I mean, I'll say I've been a tent advocate for several months. I think they're going to be critical for us. I was working with Matt Burchett from Student Life last night to think through how we might divide up a little bit in the evening so Student Activities can use them. But I think especially for students, we need a place to go in between classes to plug into a hybrid or an online class and can't go back to their residence or don't have time or their apartment, I think it would be a great space for them. So if others have questions, let me know, but we're going to watch the usage of them during August and September and maybe adapt a little bit to make sure that they're being used completely. But I think they're going to be a really key piece of the puzzle for us.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

I think we have time for two more questions. We're getting several about use of face shields. Are they permitted instead of a cloth coverings and will Baylor provide them?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

No and no. They're not a replacement for masks. They can be worn in addition to masks. The value of a face shield is that it covers the eyes in addition to the nose and the mouth, but they are not as effective as a face mask and cannot be used as a replacement for them. We do have masks that have clear plastic in front of the mouth in order to accommodate individuals who need to be able to see a person's mouth for whatever reason. But we do have, for example, people who depend on lip reading and it can be used for that.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

The last question I think we'll have time for as I had several along these lines. If somebody is required to teach additional sections of a class for online and hybrid person, will that person be compensated more or receive a recourse reduction later or anything else like that?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I'm sure that, that will vary on a case by case basis, but yes. We will certainly accommodate faculty who step up in these extraordinary times in order to assure that there is academic continuity.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

So we're out of time, do either president or provost, would you like to make closing comments?

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Nancy?

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

I will say, we can do this. We are working under extraordinary conditions, but I am absolutely convinced that if we can all work together to assure that the plans that we have in place are executed throughout the campus community and that we help one another, reach out to one another to assure a good compliance, we can do this. And so I'm excited about the fall, actually. But I do also look forward to seeing you face to face. I'm a little bit tired of my Zoom room.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

I'll just affirm what Nancy said. And I just have to say, I believe we can do it as well because we have done it. I mean, what we did in the spring, what we've done over the summer, and I talked to other university presidents a lot, and I just have to say our community has come together in a way that I think is just exceptional and probably really unprecedented of other universities that I'm familiar with and talk to. So again, thank you for that. I think if we all jump in here and do this together, we can have a great fall semester. We can get to Thanksgiving and it can be a great community experience, but also a great learning experience for our students. So thank you all. Really pleased to be able to spend time with you today.

Mr. Matt Cordon:

Thanks to both of you and everybody else in the upper administration for joining us. we received over 100 questions this morning. We will work to provide written answers to those that we were not able to ask and answer during this forum, but appreciate everybody's time and I hope everybody has a good weekend.

Dr. Nancy Brickhouse:

Thank you.

Dr. Linda Livingstone:

Thank you.

 
Questions and Answers Submitted Online During Forum (PDF)