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Guidance for UNM Concerning COVID-19

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This document has been prepared to provide standardized university-wide guidance and to assist UNM academic leaders, managers and supervisors (“supervisors”) in addressing concerns related to COVID-19.  This guidance applies to all UNM locations, including Central campus, Branch campuses and the Health Sciences Center.  Given the nature of their clinical environments, the UNM Health Sciences Center, UNM Hospitals, UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center and UNM Medical Group, Inc., may choose to enact additional policies for their staff, faculty and students as this situation evolves. This guidance is effective from March 9, 2020 until April 30, 2020, or until extended or ended.

The virus causing this illness is different from common coronaviruses that circulate among humans and cause mild illness, similar to the common cold. This guidance document is intended to help prevent its spread.

Please be aware that COVID-19 is not limited to specific national or ethnic groups. As Lobos, we need to support each other, and should not presume that students and/or colleagues are at a higher risk just because of their country of origin.

We recognize that many of you have friends and families in regions of the world affected by the coronavirus. We want each of you to know that in this stressful time, the University stands with you— and that all of us at UNM are committed to your well-being and to supporting you. If you have concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your academic leader, manager or supervisor, your colleagues and university support services.

As we work through the peak period of active COVID-19 transmissions, we should remember that about 80% of those who get the virus will have mild symptoms and recover without the need for any extraordinary treatment.  Some 20% may be more ill and need more extensive care; the elderly, those who have underlying health issues, and those who are immuno-compromised are most vulnerable and might want to take extra care.

UNM will act in accordance with all applicable public health directives. UNM’s guidance, policies and regulations cannot conflict with public health orders. Questions that arise during this process should be directed to the phone numbers listed here. 

For the latest information on travel warnings and UNM-related updates, go to  the dedicated UNM webpage on COVID-19. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has specific guidance for universities.  

Public Health Orders and Executive Orders

1 COVID-19 (an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019) is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). That virus was assigned the temporary designation of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Because of the large number of publications and guidance documents produced, the virus may still be referred to by its temporary designation in some references.2

Questions/Answers related to:

What is the guidance for dealing with staff employees who’ve contracted COVID-19, traveled to an area with a COIVD-19 outbreak and what are UNM’s Leave policies regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic?

See the FAQs section of the Human Resources COVID-19 webpage.

  1. Are employees and students allowed to travel to locations within the United States?

    No. Please note that these restrictions apply to University-related travel only. For guidance regarding personal travel, please see B5, below.

    At present, university-related domestic travel is not permitted due to the high risk of community spread of the virus. Exceptions may be considered based on extenuating circumstances but will require approval from the appropriate Senior/Executive Vice President. You are required to cancel any business or education-related travel that has already been scheduled through April 30, 2020 and no future travel arrangements through that date will be permitted. The University will continue to evaluate and modify this date as more information becomes available. Please see below, Payroll, Purchasing, and Travel Reimbursement, for questions related to travel reimbursement.

  2. Are employees and students allowed to travel to international locations?

    No. Please note that these restrictions apply to University-related travel only. For guidance regarding personal travel, please see B5, below.

    At present, university-related international travel is not permitted due to the high risk of community spread of the virus. Exceptions may be considered based on extenuating circumstances but will require approval from the appropriate Executive Vice President. You are required to cancel any business or education-related travel that has already been scheduled through April 30, 2020 and no future travel arrangements through that date will be permitted. The University will continue to evaluate and modify this date as more information becomes available. Please see below, Payroll, Purchasing and Travel Reimbursement, for questions related to travel reimbursement.

  3. Are employees and students required to self-report business or education-related Domestic or International Travel?

    Yes. The University is requiring anyone planning to travel anywhere for business or education reasons to self-report before travel to UNM by completing and submitting an online form to self-report via the Coronavirus Travel Site. It is important for UNM to be informed of travel to assist individuals that may encounter issues, and to also provide direction on returning to the University after travel. Your travel information will be reviewed by a limited number of UNM attending physician faculty members with expertise in either epidemiology or global travel. They will conduct a risk assessment upon your return to help ensure your health and the health of your fellow community-members.

  4. Why is UNM implementing travel restrictions and reporting?

    The countries and regions impacted by COVID-19 continue to evolve on a daily basis, as does our scientific knowledge of this virus. Those two factors make it difficult to have a simple set policy for faculty, students and staff related to allowable domestic and international travel to affected areas. Standard and aggressive public health procedures can prevent the spread of the disease. We urge all members of the University community to be thoughtful and considerate of their role in helping to contain this virus and protect vulnerable members of our community. It is important to remember that this is not a routine situation for which routine approaches to travel can be applied.

  5. Does UNM have any policies related to personal travel?

    UNM does not set requirements for personal travel, but the University is strongly encouraging people to avoid travel, especially to areas with active community transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, all travelers are encouraged to check the CDC’s COVID-19 travel page, State Department travel advisories, and the International Air Transport Association’s list of travel and entry restrictions for the latest information before departing.

    UNM is encouraging employees on personal travel, both domestic and international, to self-report via the Coronavirus Travel Site prior to their travel if possible so that an appropriate assessment can be conducted on their return regarding the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

    Note that the travel situation is fluid and airport screenings are likely for those returning from some destinations. Non-US citizens should be especially aware of the border control policies, as their ability to re-enter the US may be compromised.

  6. Can we continue to host individuals from out of state?

    The New Mexico Department of Health has issued a Public Health Order, effective March 19, 2020, directing businesses to “limit operations to the greatest extent possible and minimize employee contact.”  The University is also operating under limited operations, with most employees working remotely. We encourage you to begin evaluating which meetings could be replaced by Zoom or other video technology.

  7. Can faculty and staff searches continue to hold in-person interviews in New Mexico, with out-of-state candidates?

    UNM is currently operating under limited operations. ​We encourage you to begin evaluating which interviews could be replaced by Zoom or other video technology.

  1. If the University is closed, can I pick up my paper payroll check?

    No. Although the University remains open on a limited basis, the Payroll department staff are working remotely at this time. All paper payroll checks will be mailed to employees instead. Choices for receiving Direct Deposit and instructions for signing up for Direct Deposit can be found here

  2. Can an employee receive reimbursement for travel costs paid for personally for a conference that was canceled due to COVID-19?

    Yes. Reimbursement will be allowed with proper documentation and receipts. The department is responsible for tracking and monitoring any unused available airfare credit to ensure that any future use of unused flight credit is for a University business purpose. (In general, prepaid travel costs should be paid for using a University Pcard, not a personal credit card.)

    To the extent possible, employees who have incurred travel costs related to a cancelled trip should contact the airline or hotel vendor for a refund or to change the ticket for future travel. Some airlines are waiving change fees in response to COVID-19 claims and cancellations. An updated listing of US airlines that are waiving fees over COVID-19 can be found here.

  3. If an employee cancels travel to conduct University business due to COVID-19 concerns, can the employee be reimbursed for an airline flight paid for on a personal credit card?

    Yes. During the effective period of these guidelines the employee can be reimbursed with clear documentation and receipts attached to reimbursement request. The department is responsible for tracking and monitoring any unused available airfare credit to ensure that any future use of unused flight credit is for University business purpose. (Prepaid travel costs should be paid for using a University Pcard, not a personal credit card.)

  4. Can an employee purchase a refundable flight due to COVID-19 concerns?

    Yes. Purchase of the lowest refundable flight cost will be allowed.  Clear documentation describing the circumstances should be included with the expenditure backup.

    If it is less expensive to purchase a flight with flight cancellation insurance, that will be allowed. Clear documentation describing the circumstances should be included with the expenditure backup. (In general, prepaid travel costs should be paid for using a University Pcard, not a personal credit card.) Keep in mind, however, that the University is currently restricting all travel, so flights may only be purchased at this time if they are schedule to depart after April 30, 2020. 

  5. Will the University pay for flight cancellation or rebooking fees as a result of COVID-19?

    Yes, though prior to incurring additional fees for a change in a flight, please check with the airline for a waiver of fees. If there is no alternative and rebooking or flight change fees must be paid, the preferred payment method is via the University Pcard.

  1. What do I need to know if I am a student (or the parent of a student) who lives on Campus?

    As of 3/19/2020, UNM is asking all students without a compelling need to remain on campus to move out of their on-campus housing assignment. Students need to complete their move out by Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Students received an email from their housing provider (RLSH or ACC) which outlined specific information related to refunds and move-out instructions.

    RLSH and ACC recognize that for some students remaining on campus will be the safest or most stable option and both RLSH and ACC are providing students the opportunity to request an exception to the move out. These exception requests are due by Friday, March 20, 2020 at 1:00PM. Students will be informed of the status of their exception request by Friday evening.

    Students who have questions should reach out to their housing provider directly for more information.

    FOR STUDENTS WHO MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED OR HAVE TESTED POSITIVE

    UNM Resident Life and Student Housing, along with our housing partner American Campus Communities, are fully prepared and have plans in place that have been vetted with UNM Emergency Management and Student Health & Counseling (SHAC). Specifically:

    • Residents have been provided with general information via e-mail regarding prevention and what to do if they are concerned about their health.
    • Residence Life staff have been informed of protocols.
    • Rooms within our facilities are prepared for quarantine or isolation, if necessary.
    • UNM Dining Services has the ability to arrange the delivery of meals as needed.
  1. Are large events still taking place on campus?

    No. From now until April 30th, 2020, any event in UNM Facilities must be cancelled if they consist of 10 or more people.  NOTE:  UNM classes are not cancelled at this time.

  2. Are Popejoy Events still scheduled as planned?

    No. All Popejoy events have been postponed and or cancelled through April 30th, 2020.  If you purchased tickets you will be contacted in the next two weeks with available options.   

In accordance with the Mountain West, there will be no athletic activity on campus until at least March 29.  In accordance with the NCAA, there will be no live recruiting, on-campus or off-campus, until at least April 15.  There will be no access to athletic facilities for our student-athletes until at least April 10.

  1. Is the University changing the way it cleans its environments as a result of COVID – 19?

    Yes. Custodial crews have established procedures for cleaning and sanitizing facilities on a daily basis, including frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs, counter tops, elevators and light switches.

  2. Is the University assuring that soap and sanitizer is available?

    Yes. Facilities Management has sufficient product amounts stored to replenish these items in restrooms and is checking use levels throughout the day.

  3. Does the University have enough paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels?

    Yes. The University has stock material for approximately two months on hand. Our management is working with our vendors to acquire more product to replenish the consumed product.

  4. What are other different measures the University is implementing to address improved cleaning?

    Facilities Management has equipment that is being deployed to all classrooms, conference rooms and other critical areas, on a rotational basis, that emits a sanitizer that disinfects surfaces such as walls, desks and furnishings. The sanitizer is safe on paper and other materials such as fabric. Other spaces are being addressed via work order request.

  5. Is the University training its staff on what to do to minimize the spread of COVID-19?

    Yes. Crews are trained to perform a Level 1 Cleaning Protocol and are being informed of the increased level of concern for both their work and personal health.

  6. Does the University have a deep cleaning process it uses in acute circumstances?

    Yes. This process is limited as it is a highly intricate exercise. But, if needed, it can be deployed.

  7. Will rental events continue in UNM facilities?

    The University is working closely with organizations planning to rent our facilities for events. We are providing them with guidance on infection control procedures and following the above cleaning procedures. We are also closely monitoring CDC and DOH advice regarding large events.

  1. Will I be able to finish the semester? Will I be able to graduate? Is my financial aid at risk? Help!

    UNM has an instructional continuity plan so that courses can continue via remote web-enhanced  delivery to the extent possible. If adjustments are needed, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines providing flexibility regarding financial aid credit-hour requirements.  UNM faculty and staff are committed to supporting you in completing the semester and your degree. Please see communications from your instructors in your e-mail or in your learning management system, such as UNMLearn, for specific information.  Advisors are available for safe remote consultation with contact information listed on advising websites for your college or school.

  2. If the University is exposed and forced to close, will I still be able to attend my classes online?

    UNM supports a variety of tools for remote  instruction, including UNM Learn (Learning Management System), Kaltura for media capture and delivery, and web conferencing tools. The specific mix of technologies used will depend on your instructor and their learning objectives for the course.  At the HSC, Zoom video conferencing and Mediasite lecture capture are available for faculty and student use. If assistance is needed in getting course materials set up, please contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 272-1694.

    Instructors are currently transitioning to remote web-enhanced instruction and are posting and e-mailing plans for the remainder of the semester. You can expect coursework to resume remotely as early as March 23, 2020.

  3. Will I still have access to the internet if I reside on campus?

    Yes. Current Internet service will be maintained; please see the general IT question/answer section below for additional details on IT Services.

  4. If I’m sick or need to care for someone, how do I maintain progress in my classes?

    The first step is to contact your instructor. UNM cares about its students and their progress and recognizes that individual health and safety must be a priority. Through communication with your instructor, you may arrange for alternative deadlines that still meet instructional goals. Seek advice from health care providers and get well. Resources include SHAC at 505-277-3136, as well as area medical offices. If additional support and accommodations are needed, please contact the  Dean of Students or designee for Student Affairs in your unit.

  5. Does the University have an online system for communicating with my instructor?

    Most classes use UNM Learn, a Learning Management System for posting content, submitting assignments, delivering quizzes, etc. Specific tools depend on your instructor and their course design. Your instructor usually includes contact information and any online resources in their syllabus. For more information about UNM Learn, see at.unm.edu/coronavirus

  6. Is it possible to have a live conversation with my instructor or participate in a lecture from off-site?

    UNM supports multiple tools for web conferencing to include UNM Learn (Learning Management System), Kaltura for media capture and delivery, and web conferencing tools to include Zoom. The specific mix of technologies used will depend on your instructor’s learning objectives for the course. Please contact your instructor and look for e-mails and messaging in UNMLearn for information about remote attendance and communication.

    At the HSC, Zoom video conferencing and Mediasite lecture capture are available for faculty and student use. If assistance is needed in getting course materials set up, please contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 272-1694.

  7. Will my instructor post lectures online for me to watch?

    This will depend on your instructor and course design. Please check with your instructor directly.

  8. What if I need to take an exam from an off-site location?

    Your instructor will communicate remote exam plans.

  9. I need accessibility accommodations for online content. How do I get help?

    UNM is committed to meeting the needs of all students. The Accessibility Resource Center can provide you with assistance in communicating accessibility concerns to your instructor.

  10. What is the University doing to protect my privacy in online recordings?

    As a student, you have a right to limit recording of your voice and likeness in a classroom or online in a format that would be accessible outside of the class. For some classes, a recording of a lecture or a seminar discussion may be useful to students as a study aid. If you have concerns about being recorded, please communicate with your instructor.

  11. Who do I contact for support if I cannot make my technology work for online content?

    In advance of requesting support, please be sure to check https://italerts.unm.edu/ for important notices on service availability.  To request support with UNM’s Learn system, you can use the "Create a Support Ticket" link at the top of the Support Tab in Learn.unm.edu, click "Ask a Question" in studentinfo.unm.edu and select “UNM Learn” as the Department/Area, or contact UNM Learn Support by phone at 505-277-0857 or toll free at 1-877-688-8817 To request other technology support from UNM IT, please either log a ticket at Help.unm.edu or call 505-277-5757 to reach one of our service representatives.  The call in number includes an option for requesting after hours emergency response for critical, institution-wide issues. 

    For HSC IT support, please contact the HSC Service Desk at 505-272-1694.

  12. If I am a Health Sciences Center Student, do I still attend my clinical rotations?

    Even if the University closes, the clinical entities at the Health Sciences Center remain open and will have high volumes of patients. Please assume you will be attending your clinical rotations unless otherwise advised by your preceptor.

  1. Will UNM be able to finish the semester as planned?

    Your deans and chairs are working with you to develop instructional continuity plans so that courses can continue via remote delivery to the extent possible. Please keep in mind that faculty with clinical responsibilities at the Health Sciences Center will still be required to meet their patient care responsibilities, regardless of any closure of the academic campus.

  2. One of my students is sick. What should I do?

    Actively encourage students to stay at home when they are sick, and when or if they have provided care to a sick friend or family member. If a student is contacting you from home, encourage them to seek medical care if they begin experiencing severe symptoms. Actively encourage students to communicate with you when they are sick so that you can provide appropriate alternative assignments or accommodations.

  3. Should I require a student who is sick (not due to COVID-19) to provide a health care provider’s note before returning to class?

    No. Faculty should actively encourage students to stay home when sick and should not require students who are sick to validate their illness or recovery with a health care provider’s note. SHAC and other health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and unable to provide such documentation in a timely way. Further, it is not prudent to have students who are getting well share waiting spaces with patients who may have communicable illnesses.

  4. How will I be able to conduct my classes?

    Your chairs and deans have been working with your departments and programs on instructional continuity plans. The Center for Digital Learning (CDL) has developed "quick start" information as well as a variety of tools and ideas to help faculty transition courses to a web-enhanced remote format, see https://cdl.unm.edu. CDL is also offering targeted workshops for department and programs via zoom meeting. In addition, reach out to your colleagues at UNM and at other universities for creative techniques and approaches. UNM supports a variety of tools for online instruction, including UNM Learn (Learning Management System), Kaltura for media capture and delivery, and web conferencing tools to include Zoom. The specific mix of technologies used will depend on your learning objectives for the course. Up to date resources and information can be found at http://at.unm.edu/coronavirus/

    For the HSC, Zoom video conferencing and Mediasite lecture capture are available for faculty and student use. If assistance is needed in getting course materials set up, please contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 505-272-1694.

  5. I need to post some content online for my class. How do I get started with UNM Learn?

    UNM Learn has many online support documents, including this one the "quick start" guide on the Center for Digital Learning page: https://cdl.unm.edu.. Personal support is available from UNM Learn Support and through the Center for Digital Learning.

  6. Does UNM support web conferencing?

    Yes. UNM supports Skype for Business, Zoom, and Blackboard Collaborate. IT Academic Technologies has developing a set of resources at at.unm.edu/coronavirus to help you get started quickly.

    For the HSC, Zoom videoconferencing is available for faculty and student use. Information regarding the HSC’s Zoom capability can be found at: https://hsc.unm.edu/about/cio/user-support/support/Zoom.html

  7. Can a student join remote learning activities for my class from home using online tools?

    Yes. It is possible to join  from home using a web conferencing tool, such as Zoom or Skype. Please be flexible with students who may have childcare responsibilities or poor internet connections, both of which may make it difficult for them to join a remote class meeting at a specific designate time.

    For the HSC, Zoom video conferencing and Mediasite lecture capture are available for faculty and student use. Information regarding the HSC’s Zoom capability can be found at: https://hsc.unm.edu/about/cio/user-support/support/Zoom.html. If assistance is needed in getting course materials set up, please contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 272-1694.

  8. Does UNM have a system for pre-recording lectures?

    Yes. Kaltura is the application for this, and "quick start" information on pre-recording lectures can be found at https://cdl.unm.edu.

    For the HSC, Zoom video conferencing and Mediasite lecture capture are available for faculty and student use. Information regarding the HSC’s Zoom capability can be found at: https://hsc.unm.edu/about/cio/user-support/support/Zoom.html. If assistance is needed in getting course materials set up, please contact the HSC IT Service Desk at 272-1694.

  9. Does UNM have a system for online proctoring?

    UNM Academic Technologies is exploring new solutions for online proctoring and you will be updated about any online proctoring adoptions.  If you already adopted Proctor.io  for a course, you can continue to use it.  UNM cannot adopt Proctor.io for all classes now because we must inform students before the semester starts of any course fees and Proctor.io requires a student course fee.

  10. How do I ensure academic integrity in my class?

    As with a classroom assignment, the best approach for remote and online assignments and assessments relies on the design to objectively measure student progress and ensure academic integrity.

  11. How do I make my online content accessible?

    Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is a legal and moral imperative. The UNM Accessibility Resource Center is equipped to help you communicate with students, arrange for signed interpreters, etc. UNM has licensed Blackboard Ally to provide some remediation and advice about making content accessible. UNM has an agreement for online video captioning, as long as that content is posted in Kaltura. Captioning of video is still expensive with high fees per minute of captioning. If you are going to post a lot of video, be sure to consider how it will be made accessible to students who need accommodations.

  12. What if I am a faculty member who is not comfortable relying on distance learning technology?

    Please consult with your chair on receiving support in placing materials on UNMLearn. If placing materials online is unlikely to be a good solution for your course, consider developing a clear guided study and assignment package in advance and sharing that with your students as a contingency plan.

  1. How will I receive IT support if needed?

    In advance of requesting support, please be sure to check https://italerts.unm.edu/ for important notices on service availability.  To request support from UNM IT, please either log a ticket at Help.unm.edu or call 505-277-5757 to reach one of our service representatives.  The call in number includes an option for requesting after hours emergency response for critical, institution-wide issues.  To request support with UNM’s Learn system, you can use the "Create a Support Ticket" link at the top of the Support Tab in Learn.unm.edu, click "Ask a Question" in studentinfo.unm.edu and select “UNM Learn” as the Department/Area, or contact UNM Learn Support by phone at 505-277-0857 or toll free at 1-877-688-8817.

    For HSC IT support, please contact the HSC Service Desk at 505-272-1694.

  2. How will we be notified and updated of system outages?

    Current information on service availability can be found at https://italerts.unm.edu/.  To report an outage, please either log a ticket at Help.unm.edu or call 505-277-5757 to reach one of our service representatives.  The call in number includes an option for requesting after hours emergency response for critical, institution-wide issues. 

    For HSC IT, system information and updates will be posted to the HSC Chief Information Office web page: https://hsc.unm.edu/about/cio/index.html. Also keep an eye open for HSC IT Alerts email messages.

  3. How will computer and internet infrastructure be maintained to ensure accessibility?

    UNM IT will have a core team available to monitor and ensure the availability of the network. Support for UNM owned systems will be conducted remotely when possible.

  4. What systems will be accessible during the emergency?

    UNM IT’s goal is to keep critical systems up and supported. These systems will include email and necessary infrastructure for remote classes.

For the latest information on travel warnings and UNM-related updates, go to http://www.unm.edu/coronavirus/. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has specific guidance for universities.