CC groups use leftover budget for donations, produce over 1,000 face shields for pandemic response

Plus, more announcements from Colorado higher-ed

Good morning, and happy Friday. On this pre-pandemic date last year, Colorado College was hosting an information session in Waco, Texas. (Admissions open houses and visits are currently cancelled, so CC is advertising “virtual sessions.”)

Today, two Colorado College groups explain how they are trying to mobilize resources for the pandemic, and we recap more updates from Colorado colleges and universities about the fall semester.

🗣UPDATE: Some members of the CC community received an email June 24 with the subject: “Summer Work Teams Preparing for Fall 2020.” It’s not the college’s final decision or announcement about fall planning, which is expected by the end of the month, but it provides some general information on what administrators are considering. You can read the email here and find more information on the Summer 2020 Work Teams here. An excerpt: 

“Later this week, we will share more about our fall plan with you and our students and their families. This plan includes a phased reopening, in-person and distance learning options for students and faculty, and prevention, testing, and treatment plans to keep our community safe.” 

🚨ACTION: Today is the last day to respond to our CC staff survey about work environments and CC’s response to the pandemic. Plenty of responses have already come in, but if you’re a staff member at CC, you can still take the survey here. Be on the lookout for a future newsletter with our findings.

➡️ICYMI: Yesterday, a CC professor recollected his experience with a positive COVID-19 test, and sociology professor Kathy Giuffre explained how higher-ed could apply network-theory to fall plans.

Photo courtesy of Sophia Pray.

CC student organization uses leftover school funds to donate to local soup kitchen

BreakOut, a student organization that provides direct-service opportunities for Colorado College students to work with outside organizations, had been planning an “Alternative Spring Break” trip to Crestone to help with fire restoration before campus closed in mid-March and students scattered. BreakOut still had several thousand dollars left in their budget for the semester, and members wanted to use the money to help some people and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Colorado College is a nonprofit, and since BreakOut, which is part of the CC Collaborative for Community Engagement, gets its funding from the CC student government, they aren’t allowed to give monetary donations to some of the local organizations they regularly partner with. 

BreakOut student leader Madeline Ng ’21 heard that the Marian House Soup Kitchen, located about a mile south of CC’s campus, was passing out bagged lunches to people in Colorado Springs, and she saw an opportunity for BreakOut to help. 

“They usually have ⁠... hundreds of people coming through at least during the week needing meals, and so we volunteered with them once a block for a few years now,” Ng says. “We wanted to support them in any way that we could, so, we started out trying to find out if we could ship stuff to them.” 

It turned out that getting local food delivered in bulk wasn’t going to work, so CCE Civic Leadership Paraprofessional Sophia Pray used the remaining BreakOut budget to purchase some requested items, including diapers and bottled water, and deliver them to Marian House. 

The donation also included 20 screen-printed face masks made by Ben Zeitz-Moskin ’19 and 20 3D-printed masks made by “Project PPE at CC.” 

‘Project PPE at CC’: Student-faculty team band together for PPE-producing operation

In March, Colorado College professors Andrea Bruder and Rachel Paupeck began 3D-printing face shields in reaction to the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. Since then, their project has expanded its operation. With a team of paid student workers, they now make around 300 to 400 face shields each week, and have since produced and shipped over 1,000 face shields.

“It’s kind of crazy how fast it’s grown,” says Innovation at CC paraprofessional SethWilson Gray ’19, who is serving as the project manager on the production team. 

In addition to leaders Bruder, associate professor of math and computer science, and Paupeck, assistant professor of art, the “Project PPE at CC” staff includes: Gray, alumni Noah Smith ’20, Johanna Hamblett ’20, and senior Ben Shumlin ’21 on the production team; and alumni Mia Hsu ’20, Sam Sanson ’20, Sophia Quick ’20, Isabella McShea ’20, and Natalie Gubbay ’20 on the PR team.

From CC’s Creativity and Innovation building, they produce two different models of face shields: the Prusa model, which is a durable, 3D-printed shield intended to be worn for longer periods of time but takes several hours to make, and the Verkstan model, which only takes about 15 minutes to make using molds and resin casting but is intended to be worn for slightly shorter periods. They give away the shields completely free of charge, and at least 50% are shipped to the Navajo Nation, who recently surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S.

“We’re running 100% on donations right now,” Gray says. “Every single donation is going directly into materials; it’s going into our salaries. It’s going straight from the donation to us for anything that we need to keep this running.”

College Countdown: Colorado higher-ed braces for coming semester

New guidance from Democratic Gov. Jared Polis will allow Colorado colleges and universities to host in-person classes at 50% capacity per room. Other guidelines for Colorado higher-ed:

  • Seats must be 12 feet apart.

  • Faculty must have daily temperature checks.

  • Indoor classrooms and venues are not allowed to have more than 100 people: no exceptions.

  • Colleges should continue providing grab-and-go food, and limiting gatherings outside of class to 10 people.

  • Higher-ed should require face coverings and disinfect “high-touch areas” regularly.

These guidelines might look familiar because many Colorado colleges and universities have already put them in their plans for fall:

Colorado School of Mines will begin the fall semester in-person Aug. 24. About 60% to 70% of courses will be offered in-person, and lab, project-based, and first-year courses will receive in-person priority, administrators wrote in a June 22 memo to students. All other courses will be available in remote or hybrid formats. On-campus housing will be at roughly 80% capacity, and first-year students are not required to live on campus. Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be able to get tested at the Student Health Center, and the school is working to expand the capacity to test asymptomatic students as well. Everyone on campus will be expected to follow the Oredigger Promise, which includes guidelines for completing COVID-19 training and self-monitoring for symptoms. 

University of Northern Colorado is planning to hold in-person instruction beginning Aug. 24. Updates regarding adjusted course schedules and housing capacity should come later this month or in July. In the meantime, the health center is offering viral and antibody tests to the community. Additionally, tuition will not increase for the 2020-21 academic year, but there will be a $75 increase in fees each semester “to support the delivery of student services and additional technology needs,” president Andy Feinstein wrote June 12. 

Colorado State University is currently in Phase 3 of its Recovery Plan, which began in May and will last until January 2021. On June 8, president Joyce McConnell announced updates on fall planning, including that the last two weeks of classes and final exams will be conducted remotely after Thanksgiving break. Other updates include:

  • CSU will hold face-to-face classes for labs, studios, and first-year students.

  • The academic day will run until 8 p.m. on weekdays.

  • The majority of classes will take place in-person, but all classes with more than 99 students will be online. 

Colorado State University at Pueblo is planning to offer courses in person, online, and hybrid models for the fall semester. Administrators will release an updated schedule and residence hall information July 6. The university has set aside 15 rooms for possible quarantine situations, and the university is offering “large” double or triple rooms, or single rooms — at an additional cost. The university has suspended fall study abroad and student exchange programs. 

Adams State University is preparing to begin in-person instruction Aug. 24, hold classes on Labor Day, skip fall break, and finish classes by Nov. 24. After Thanksgiving, finals will be conducted remotely from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. In the case of a COVID-19 infection, the university has identified housing units that may be used to isolate or quarantine students, based on local health guides. 

About the CC COVID-19 Reporting Project

The CC COVID-19 Reporting Project is a student-faculty collaboration by Colorado College student journalists Miriam Brown and Arielle Gordon, Journalism Institute Director Steven Hayward, Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism Corey Hutchins, and Assistant Professor of English Najnin Islam. Work by Phoebe Lostroh, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at CC and National Science Foundation Program Director in Genetic Mechanisms, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, will appear from time to time, as will infographics by Colorado College students Rana Abdu, Aleesa Chua, Sara Dixon, Jia Mei, and Lindsey Smith.

The project seeks to provide frequent updates about CC and other higher education institutions during the pandemic by providing original reporting, analysis, interviews with campus leaders, and context about what state and national headlines mean for the CC community. 

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