October 29, 2020

Weekly Update from President Bresciani

Campus Community,

Just a few items for this week’s update:

1.    Arthur Brooks. The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth will host a conversation with best-selling author and social scientist, Arthur Brooks, as part of the new Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series. The Menard Family Distinguished Speaker Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Menard family, who recently made a $5.5 million gift to the Challey Institute.

John Bitzan, the Menard Family Director of the Challey Institute, will engage Dr. Brooks in a Q&A-style discussion covering many pressing issues and interesting anecdotes.  The conversation will include a variety of topics, such as the dignity of work, the need for a competition of ideas, the need for practical hope, and ways to lift people out of poverty.  The program will end with questions from the audience.

The event will take place on November 3 3:00 – 4:00, and link to register is here:  www.ndsu.edu/challeyinstitute/events/distinguished_speakers/

2.    Halloween: Saturday is Halloween, but I’m afraid this year, it’s another tradition that’s going to have to be modified by COVID-19. This is typically a day marked by costume parties and large get-togethers, especially when it falls on a weekend. However, our whole community needs everybody to refrain from group celebrations. Parties, gatherings and bars are the primary ways that the virus is spreading. So please avoid these situations.       

3.    HVAC Improvements. I’m pleased to report that we’ve recently completed extensive work to improve air quality in all campus buildings. The project’s primary component is the addition of bipolar ionization equipment for all air handers on campus. In addition, portable systems with similar ionization technology and HEPA filtration systems were placed in spaces on campus with no central air handling.

The ions created by the equipment help minimize microscopic bacteria, fungi and viruses. Studies have shown ionization equipment can be an effective tool in reducing common viruses. Importantly, the equipment installed by NDSU does not create ozone, which can cause respiratory problems. In addition, this equipment has low power consumption and low maintenance, which reduces cost and environmental impact. 

4.    Self-Reporting. North Dakota continues to be a national hotspot of COVID-19. The number of active cases and our state’s positivity rate is higher than it has ever been.  I want to remind our students and employees that we need them to notify us immediately if they test positive for COVID-19. The online reporting forms can be found at the bottom of this webpage. In order for our mitigation efforts to work, it is critical that we get this information as soon as possible.

5.    Testing Information. Last week’s tests had a combined 1435 participants with a positivity rate of 6.9%.  Our numbers essentially held even from the prior week, although we did have 61 fewer people get tested, and our positivity rate went up by .1%. The good news is that our positivity rate continues to be well below Cass County which was over 11% for that time period.

6.    Weekly Testing. We’re continuing with the twice weekly testing at the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track Facility (located directly southwest of the SHAC). There will be a test today (October 29) and Sunday (November 1). Please note, however, that there has been a change in the times. The test on October 29 will be from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., but the test on November 1 will be from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Student government is running another drawing for Visa gift cards for students who get tested this week. First place is $250 and there are five additional $100 winners. 

We would like every employee to get tested at least every other week. However, if you are working in an area with significant exposure to others, it would be better to get tested every week. As always, being tested at these events should be considered work time, and I’m asking supervisors to be flexible to allow for employee testing.

Some final points about testing:
⦁    Testing is free.
⦁    You can preregister here. However, if you have already registered for a prior testing event, you do not have to re-register. 
⦁    It is not limited to people living on campus.  All students, including off-campus students, are encouraged to participate.
⦁    You do not have to have symptoms in order to get this testing.  In fact, this testing is only for individuals who are asymptomatic.  If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact ⦁    Student Health Service or your local health care facility to determine next steps.

Dean L. Bresciani, President
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