2020 Parent and Family Orientation Series: Welcome and Town Hall with WashU Student Affairs

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2020 Parent and Family Orientation Series: Welcome and Town Hall with WashU Student Affairs

hello everyone my name is reggie gackett and i want to welcome you to our town hall for undergraduate family members i am the assistant director of the first year center and tonight i’m joined by senior leadership in the student affairs division of the university they will introduce themselves shortly we are excited that you have chosen to join us for today’s conversation some information before we get started we know that these are unprecedented times and that there are many stressors for our new students parents and family members we hope that tonight’s session will help you to better understand the resources that are available through the university and will address a questions that you might have about the transition to life here at washu we’ll do our very best to answer as many questions as possible tonight and we will also provide some answers to the questions that we’ve received through families.woostol.edu later this week now i want to make sure that you know how to submit questions during this town hall you’ll notice that you’ve been given the ability to ask questions via the zoom q a feature some of our professional staff are helping to field these questions those are the panelists that you see on the screen that say first year center or student affairs in addition we have all the pre-submitted questions we will do our best to answer as many of them as we can over the next hour if you are in the zoom um if you’re in the zoom q a feature you may see us dismiss some of these questions we will ask your questions live by using the dis miss function as we’re moving them to a separate list for ease of being able to see the list of questions let’s go ahead and make sure you know how to use the q a feature use the q a feature to share some of the places that you’re watching from and we’ll name a few of these places here on air while you’re doing that this town hall is being recorded later this week we’ll upload this town hall to the families.woostel.edu website we have families joining us in from st louis missouri cleveland ohio and athens georgia and now that we’ve had an opportunity to get to know a little bit of you we would like you to get to know some of the folks that are joining us on this panel since i know you want to hear more from our university leadership we’ll begin by having my colleagues introduce themselves today first we’re we’re joined by our interim vice chancellor for student affairs dr robert m wilde i i had to be the guy to not unmute my computer good good good afternoon or good evening everybody my name is rob wilde interim vice chancellor for student affairs i’ll say a little bit more here in a minute after my colleagues introduce themselves we’re also joined by our interim associate vice chancellor and dean of students miss kwana leggett hello everyone again my name is kawana leggett interim associate vice chancellor and dean of students i’m very much looking forward to talking more with you all within the hour so thank you so much for first year center for all you’re doing to coordinate this and last but not least we have our associate vice chancellor for student support and wellness dr kirk dewer hello everyone um we welcome all the families and joining us this evening and look forward to being able to answer some of the questions and to be able to give some of the information that we have to you so again welcome awesome so we’ll go ahead and get transition over to our remarks rob we’ll go ahead and start with you yep and thank you everybody we we’re gonna i’m gonna give a uh probably about a ten minute overview that’ll answer some of the questions that you all have really my goal tonight is to talk about not just our covid related updates that everybody has on their mind um you can go back and start with that first slide um and but but also to really um talk about you know the adjustment to college and the first year and what to expect in the first year and give you guys a little bit of advice and guidance as you’re going through this transition um we know there’s a lot going on in the world i want to just uh especially acknowledge the families that are tuning in from the west coast that are experiencing uh the the horrible wildfires i know there’s a there’s a hurricane right now hitting the gulf we’re thinking about all of you guys and we are um grateful to all of you who are able to tune in from those locations i also just want to say thank you um for your patience and your understanding this is an incredible transition that all of you have just experienced with us and um i i just can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support your uh partnership as we start this year that this has been um you know you’ve heard all the cliche words unprecedented um uh etc but really for us um the our goal throughout this has been

to welcome our students back and to have uh as much of a of a residential experience as we can and i’m excited to say in the first couple of days of the first semester we are off to a good start um obviously uh with this first slide here i’m just going to show some some recent photos that were taken around campus in the last 48 hours safety has been our priority it’s our priority anyways but it certainly is when we’re in the middle of a pandemic we do have a live dashboard i don’t know if it can be put into the chat but yesterday we launched our first iteration of the live dashboard some some may be wondering about our screening procedure we screened in the last 10 days around 3 000 students and we had four positive cases which is remarkably low and a really good sign for us as we start the fall semester that information is going to be updated every monday and thursday and we’re going to include that information throughout the semester and likely throughout this academic year as a tool to ensure transparency and i have to say on behalf of my colleagues we’re really proud of all of you and all of our students people have been great they’ve been paying attention to our messaging all summer they’ve been working with us around the masking and physical distancing which of course are our two biggest public health principles that we’re all working on we have launched a student health ambassador program you can see maya one of our great seniors on the right here working yesterday outside the danforth university center really trying to use positive reinforcement to encourage safe behavior for our students she has a bottle of hand sanitizer with her that she went through yesterday we are continuing our surveillance and our diagnostic testing program as a quick reminder diagnostic testing is a program we have in place for faculty staff and students when there are suspected cases of covid that we can quickly on campus free uh provide free testing to to students or populations of students as needed to quickly determine whether there is a risk of covid within that population that testing is already set up here on campus it involves the nasal swab test we also have as i mentioned earlier the surveillance testing system that’s currently located at west campus that all of the families that just move students in have experience that will be located at west campus for the next two weeks and then we will move it to the danforth campus every student is being us asked to submit a saliva sample every two weeks this semester and that’s part of our plan for monitoring covet and then we have lots of housing that’s set aside on campus we do have students living there right now both quarantine and isolation housing and we know this is hard we heard this was hard from some of our peer institutions and we’ve experienced this here we are glad that our housing is on campus where we have nurses and staff from the habit health and wellness center that are checking in as well as residential life staff food is being delivered we’re trying to provide as much oversight but we think this is an important part of our strategy moving to the next uh slide please the um uh some some have been asking in the last week about relax relaxing restrictions you can see here in this photo this is a photo taken yesterday not by me um on the steps of brookings hall where we have students safely gathering together and studying and eating outside of schnook pavilion but our goal if we can continue to maintain the the low positive rate here in our community is to slowly begin restrict lifting some of the restrictions that students have experienced as they return to campus already yesterday we began to open more seating and dining many have been asking about the summer’s recreation center and recreation space i’ll tell you hot off the presses that we are going to be announcing uh in the next 24 hours that we’re going to begin on thursday opening our outdoor uh recreation spaces the track the tennis courts spaces that students can sign up and use on a limited basis but in a way that allows students to have more access our varsity athletes who’ve all been made some great sacrifices and and i’ve been deeply impacted by this we’re hoping to get our athletic programs at least up and running on a training program over the next week and then we’re going to continue to monitor our ability to release restrictions on student group activities and student activities i will say for at least the next week um at two weeks as we’re continuing our surveillance screening we are not planning to make any changes to the to the meeting requirements but i remain hopeful that as we continue to have uh good progress this semester that we’ll be able to to be flexible and monitor things and adjust as we can i think everybody as we’ve said all along is going to need to bring a lot of flexibility to the semester because what

i would expect is that we’ll be relaxing and constricting and and just doing so all in the interest of safety next um so i did want to say a word about the academic experience as many of you know most of our students have experienced some virtual learning this is students from last spring experiencing virtual learning but i do want to show a a the next slide that shows a class here on the danforth campus from yesterday to give you an idea of but some of our in-person uh courses this is professor shanti parikh in anthropology who is in our largest lecture hall on campus writing hall 300 where you can see um this is was me standing in the back yesterday for about 10 minutes watching this lecture on the on the aids epidemic um where we have students who are all in class with her sitting in in seats with the green coverings on the back that we’ve we’ve put in there to to provide adequate spacing and it was quite a heartwarming experience yesterday to be able to see uh one of our several in-person classes many in-person classes that were taking place yesterday and our faculty as you can see are excited to be back just like many of our students as well next um okay so now i’m going to shift a little bit i know we’ll have a lot of more covid related questions but i wanted to just talk a little bit about um you know just the first year in general i know this is and i and i you know the disclaimer on all this of course is that you know covet is going to be in the back of our minds as we go through this next year but this is for for many of us and for you and your students a really important and symbolic life transition and i wanted to share a little bit of information for you as you’re thinking of at home about how you can help support your students and how we can work together to make sure our students have a successful first year this next slide is a is a couple of images that i showed to all of our students last week i don’t know if my colleagues have seen this this is a young rob wilde with hair on his head uh showing up to washington university for the first time in the fall of 1989 with my mom my dad was taking that picture this is uh the back of the station wagon you can see we loaded full of my belongings that i’m pretty sure i packed the night before and we drove all the way from new york to come to washu for my first year at washu and i showed this picture not to show you that i actually did once have hair on my head uh and then i had the big 1980s glasses that i’m sure many of my friends on this call also had you know who you are but i really want to show you because i often look at this picture at this time of year and think about what it must be like for our students and their families to be dropping a student off because i remember this uh very well you can see in that picture on the right i looked not so excited to have my mom dropping my me off my mom looks more excited than any human being on the planet for some reason i don’t know what that was all about maybe she was happy to get rid of me but i am now at the stage of my life where i have four children my oldest is a senior in high school so for many of you i’m a year behind you but i’m now more thinking about this experience from your perspective than from that of your student and i’ll talk about that a little bit later here in my remarks if you could go to the next slide um so the first year um of of any uh transition and you all are experiencing this already i wanted to highlight three different um things that i think you can expect to be seeing this fall semester with your students one is something i will just call the social roller coaster and this is a weird year because the social scene is very different as people are starting but i’ve you know i students are making friends they’re beginning to interact with people in their residential communities and finding uh those new friendships that will be an important part of the washu experience but what we hear from students every fall semester and their first year and from families is just how much things change over that first semester the people that you knew from your home community that you were really good friends when you arrived at washu with may turn out not to be your best friends that you thought your your roommate who you may have selected or found over over the summer um it turns out that you’re not the friends that you thought you would be um people that um you haven’t met yet for our new students are people that um are people who will come into social circles and so i i think for some parents you experience a little bit of whiplash as you’re thinking about the groups that that your your students are beginning to engage with that’s normal we want that to happen this is all part of adjusting uh to college and really going out on your own and forging your what what will become your your true adult identity which leads me to my second point which is around changing priorities and these really are about your student as they’re experiencing life in college trying to figure out what it is they

want to do with their lives they have all uh had great preparation to be here thanks to you all of you on this call as well as the schools and the communities that they’re coming from but this really is a time where they’re trying to figure out what matters to them what do they want to learn about how do they want to engage in the world and that is an important part of the first year and something that i think can be surprising those thanksgiving conversations are the jokes that we always like to talk about every year where a student will come home with a new tattoo or a different color hair uh a new uh romantic partner all of those things are part of that uh changing priorities that students are beginning to experience their own uh independent adult life and that’s important and we are on that journey with you watching that here on on the front lines and experiencing that with your students the last thing i just want to highlight is that is is around academic rigor and whether we’re in a covid year or not washington university is a challenging place and the class of 2024 is among the most talented group of entering college students in the world these are smart students these are students who are good writers who will be good scientists good physicians good community leaders they are all on the edge of greatness and they are all suddenly surrounded by people who have the same level of academic and intellectual preparation as them and that is hard um and our faculty are here and and i hope you knew this when you signed up for washu to challenge to challenge how people write to challenge how people problem solve to challenge our critical thinking to challenge how we develop as young scholars and that academic rigor is hard it leads it deals with stress and it leads to stress and anxiety that my colleague dr dewer is going to talk about in a second and that is normal that is part of coming to a place like washington university and learning to find your way and i can tell you and and reggie and i are both alums of washu and we’ve shared these stories ourselves we remember this ourselves really trying to find our way at washu um and um you you can get to the other side and be a smarter and better person because of it so i wanted to say that now i want to shift to one my last thing and before i turn things over which is talking about how you all can help us so if you could go to the next slide for me how could uh yep go back to the what to expect in that first year slide so what to how can you help us uh uh help your student um the most important thing first of course is to make sure that you um know the resources are that are available here learn about those resources understand what is here and that’s really where my colleagues in the first year center have been working all summer with you to make sure that you know what is available as you enter the washu campus and i know kirk i mentioned might talk a little bit about mental health resources that are available but um you know we want your students to find the the people and the departments here that will help them when they have challenges and so part of the way you can do that is you can sneakily remind them when they’re stressed about their summer internship that we have a career center here that is here to help students you can remind them when they’re having trouble in a court in a in a classroom setting and they’ve had uh and you think they may need some help with a learning disability that we have an office of disability resources we have a full health center that is here to serve our students and many many other services including a writing center and other other academically focused services and so learn about those and let your students advocate for themselves when they when they need those services the other the third thing i want to mention and normally when i give this presentation you’re still here sitting in front of me you’re not home yet but this is still important you you need to think about how you want to communicate with your student to my two oldest i have a son and a daughter who are my two oldest and and i have to i have to say in my experience getting my son jack who’s a senior to respond to my texts is an impossibility in fact i i need to basically text him that that something is broken with his huge gaming system that he set up in his room to get him to respond uh whereas my daughter has already texted me three times while we’ve been on this call just letting me know what’s going on with school and i think that’s probably true for all of you as you’re thinking about how you communicate with your students and it’s important to set up how and when you want to stay in touch some of you are we’re going to text all day some of you are going to facetime once a week some of you are i just need you to ping me once a month so that i know you’re alive and you’re

there and that is up to you and your student but it’s an important thing to talk about for those of you especially for those of you who have students who have returned here to campus and you’re not with them the fourth uh the fourth piece um is to be open to change i mentioned already that you’ll see shifting priorities with your students and it’s important that you also be open to that and supportive of of of your student this this is a time for all of us who have been this age before you probably remember our own shifting priorities and our own uh needs to think about different career paths for ourselves and and being open to that change will help you help your student and then the last uh one i just want to share a little story that is going to make me really emotional as we think about as i think about my own son jack going off to college next year but i wanted to share a story that i that we like to joke about in our family of a video uh of of my son jack when he was four playing soccer if you remember any of you who’ve had children who’ve played soccer prior to the age of six um it’s quite an entertaining uh event there’s there really is no skill kids don’t know whether they’re on offense or defense um if a goal is scored frankly it’s a miracle um suit and the those those little kids just go back and forth on the field and little clumps uh with with coaches and parents around them yelling at them and the video that we like to show is of my son jack getting a breakaway um and you know as my oldest with my oldest son i had visions of him suddenly playing soccer in europe and he’s going to be a famous uh soccer player and there he is breaking away you can hear me on the video yelling then out of the corner of his eye he remembers that on the other side of this hedge there’s a playground and in the middle of his breakaway he runs away from the ball and runs off to the playground and you see me on the video yelling and running after him through the hedge and onto the back onto the playground and him coming back with his arms around my neck um and me putting him back down and him getting back on the soccer field and that story is a good analogy for sending a kid to college and you know jack would be mortified if he knew i was telling this to 300 people on a zoom call but really sending a kid to college those things from that story are still very important your kids still need to explore and they need to follow their hearts and we need to as parents let them do that and find that space but we also need to be there for them when they need us when they veer off and we need to be paying attention to them and watching them as they learn to navigate the world of being an adult and we need to remember that we will always be their parents no matter how our relationship changes we are there for for our children and our children will always look to us for that that guidance the relationship will change i’m not saying that this next phase is going to be easy but if you can just always remember the soccer field and the adult child those needs are still the same and that’s still very important so i will end with my last slide and speaking of mortified if these two students parents are on this call i apologize in advance i did warn them that i might show this to a group of parents but this is two of our members of the class of 2024 from yesterday downstairs here in the danforth university center this is jamie on the left she’s from the bay area this is erica on the right she is from seattle uh they were randomly assigned together as students and heitzman they they appear for my observation in my 10-minute conversation with them yesterday to be fast friends we’ll see if that remains uh throughout the semester based on my earlier comment i like that of course in this picture they’re following all the rules they were following the rules before i got there they were you know sitting behind her a nice safe plex glass shields wearing their masks uh and staying good physical distance but i asked them yesterday you know how they were doing and i asked you know is this has this met your expectations and jamie who’s a very outgoing person i can tell this is not going to be the last time i meet jamie said to me um no uh dr wild this is not meeting my expectations it’s exceeded my expectations and i you know we’ve been planning so hard we’re worried about our students we’re worried they’re you know these restrictions are impacting their ability and i said well jamie what are you talking about how has it succeeded she said well partly uh being at home for so long i was just ready to be somewhere else and this is this just meant that but i’ve been making friends i’ve been exploring campus i’ve been walking over with erica to the loop i love my classes and i’m happy to be here and that that i think uh to me i want to leave us with because i think that to me indicates how you know that the world is a difficult place right now but our students just want to be here they want to learn they want to be together with other people and we’re going to do everything possible to try to make sure that we can do that so i am going to let my colleagues say a couple of words they do not have to be

as long-winded or show pictures of themselves from 31 years ago but i will let them each say a brief word about their aries and then the three of us are more than happy to field any questions that you have thank you so much rob kiwana thank you i certainly don’t have pictures for my time as a college student but i appreciate it seeing rob’s picture um again my name is kawana leggett and i’m the interim dean of students and i want to echo all of rob’s sentiments especially for our parents and families uh in terms of having a really great and smooth move-in process uh we’ve moved in over 1500 first-year students and welcomed their families uh this was a very unique move in for us as we uh couple that with the testing experience and so uh thank you all for your patience and following all the guidelines that we had in place before you arrived moving was pretty smooth and it was smooth because you all um adhere to all the number of guidelines we had in place in terms of your masking staying in your cars while your students were being test and so again we want to reiterate our thanks for all of that you know it was no easy process to get to campus and so we appreciate that we also i also just want to echo the sentiment of our students are really doing a great job in following our public health guidelines we have had a few incidents that have popped up and our office of student conduct has been amazing and following up and addressing those issues as they have come to our attention students have multiple venues of how they can report any concerns that they may have through our cold big concerns portal or working with our residential life staff and so we appreciate the reports that have come in so that we can follow up appropriately we also as of yesterday began an exciting new program called student health ambassadors these are a group of students who are peers who want to re-emphasize the importance of our public health guidelines yesterday morning we had 26 locations identified that were staffed by over 80 students who are wearing yellow shirts that talk about the importance of we’re in this together and masking their role is really to go around campus and re-emphasize all the important pieces around public health giving out mass hand sanitizers reminding folks to keep their six feet distance when appropriate and also just asking the important questions like have you completed your daily screening test and so we’re very excited about the student health ambassadors and the role that they’re going to play on campus you know so we’ve talked a lot about public health guidelines also about our testing and the move-in process i do want to um encourage you all to know that we we understand that the experience is going to be different but we are creating wonderful opportunities for students to get engaged and get and to get involved i want to talk specifically around a couple of different areas of campus life and residential life for your residential life experience we want to emphasize an important role that our staff play particularly our ras who serve as peer leaders on your residential floors and can be that point of contact for you to get involved but also just to get to know the campus a bit more we also have professional staff that live within the facilities um in our residential colleges including faculty fellows and residents and so our faculty are there to help create an academic and intellectual environment and they’re also really helpful in terms of getting acclimated to classes and also things outside of the classroom and finally we have our residential college directors that serve as the ra’s point of contact and also our professional staff that provides emergency response crisis response and overall resources and support for the universe for the university but live in the actual facilities and residential colleges the other highlight in residential life that i really want to make sure that you know is involvement we have what we call the congress of the south 40 which is a wonderful group of student leaders that are engaged in each residential college we have opportunities for you to get involved and serve in leadership positions so that you can have some ownership about what’s going on in your community so you’ll see more information coming out from cs40 uh one of the things in residential life they’re doing is trying to create more virtual experiences for you all to get to know each other and for your students to get to know folks beyond just their roommates finally in terms of our involvement opportunities i want to highlight the work of campus life they are working very hard to create student connections and virtual experiences one of the things that i’m going to put in the chat box is a link to our washington university student group organizer wugo you’ll find many of our events that are being hosted over the next couple of weeks and i want to highlight a series called the first 40

which is a first six weeks of interactive programming that we have for our campus and really again is an additional link for virtual experiences and student connection points back in august late august we hosted a virtual activities fair that involved over 340 student groups and departments we have many of our students participate and so just because we’re not meeting a person as often i do want to highlight the number of experiences that we have to offer to for students to get involved and so that is my piece of this conversation i want to make sure that we have some opportunity and some some time to ask your questions thank you so much kiwana kirk yeah again welcome families uh my name is kirk dewer i serve as associate vice chancellor for student health and well-being i have zero evidence that i once had hair but i do have my third child entering college this semester and so he’s going in and some of the same kinds of circumstances that your yours are as well and so i have some uh personal empathy and experience with with some of the things that you may be experiencing i wanted to speak a little bit about uh the areas that i oversee that include havoc medical services have a health promotion our pharmacy that exists in our in our habit area as well we have habit mental health and all these areas as evidenced by their name are co-located we also have two other services that are really quite important the relationship and sexual violence prevention office does some really great work with our students in teaching by center engagement and safe practices and other kinds of things and lastly we have washu cares which is an entity that is primarily responsible for making sure that they reach out to your students connect them with resources that they may need to be able to connect them with their four-year advisor and anything that they can really need opportunity to be able to be finding to be able to keep their academic performance at its utmost with those services um clearly some of them are becoming even more important in this environment certainly the testing that we’re doing out of habit medical that has happened and dr wild had mentioned kind of where we are with uh with a number of tests um and i’ll speak to that in the dashboard but as of today um the cumulative total samples that we’ve collected actually is approaching about 3 500 samples and um the test results we have back from those are again over three thousand one of the questions that came in in the dash in the uh q a was about the dashboard and especially around the cumulative cases that you’ll see on that page and those those are the total numbers of cases that we have seen on the danforth campus since august 1st now some of those students obviously have recovered and are doing very well and right now we have a very small proportion of those students that are currently in our isolation quarantine housing to be more specific in our quarantine housing on campus we have we have two students and we have three active cases on our campus right now so that gives you a little bit of perspective about those cumulative cases but with regard to what dr wild said the percent of positive cases is very small and we are i can can’t tell you how pleased we are that we have that low of a number that’s turning out here so that’s really really good another service that is really important right now is um our have a medical excuse me mental health services um one of the things that we’ve been concerned about is obviously this um this epidemic has gotten us kind of more uh isolated and the less connected to others although we’ve been learning ways of zooming and doing other things to try and stay connected with friends and family but the concern that we have had as the semester has been approaching is exactly what kind of a toll that might take on the student’s mental health i’ve noted some questions in the q a that are also inquiring about engaging social opportunities and other kinds of things and these are areas that we have been specifically targeting over the last couple months to make sure that we have services stood up to be able to accommodate that habit mental health has eliminated some of the things that students previously considered to be barriers to their accessing mental health specifically the way that they are going through a kind of an intake process to be able to access services the things that we’ve adjusted there should make it much more rapid for them to be able to get in um they’re engaging in a very um kind of virtual way with many of their many of the clients all of your students being here in in missouri will have access to being able to see them through video conferencing which many of the students are much more comfortable being able to do rather than see somebody um face to face is making a lot of stupid students very nervous and so we’ve set that up and additionally we’ve got a couple of other things that we’re doing there’s a let’s uh we used to have a program called let’s talk where it was basically our therapists would position themselves around campuses

in pre-pre-specified location so students could walk in and talk to them and be able to um kind of share with them some of the things that were coming up for them we moved that also to a virtual environment so there’s a kind of an open uh what they’re calling let’s teletalk so the students can come in and chat with them about those kinds of issues and then lastly we also have enhanced our relationship with an outside provider that is is making sure that we are have the 24-hour call coverage for any student that needs to get hold of somebody and for students to be able to reach out to have with mental health and schedule an appointment um to be able to speak to somebody where they can do all of that during the daytime and then in the after hours we’re making sure that we have these services available for students then as well so some of the questions that we get asked every year about this time is you know how do i know if my students are struggling and if they’re if the anxiety is anxiety driving them are they depressed what’s going on and going back to what dr wild said earlier i think one of the keys to this to the first semester for parents is to be able to establish that relationship and that rapport with with your students and most importantly to figure out how you’re communicating with them now this is different than any year that you’ve had before with them and given that they’re absent from under your roof or under your tutelage it becomes ever more important and my children like dr wilds have very different communication styles and i found that the most important thing throughout the years of working with parents and their students that they can do is for parents to be able to position themselves in a place where they’re trying to understand what the experience is now people like me men that have been brought up in this u.s culture often socialized to be able to provide answers and solutions as the first instantaneous response and let me caution all your dads out there it’s the wrong thing to do it’s a bad idea and really the best thing that you can do is to be able to try and see the world through your students eyes and to ask any questions that help you to clarify what that experience might look like through their perspective that’s very helpful and it also sets you up as a person that they can go to and talk through things with because you’ve raised bright uh students and bright children and they know most of the answers that you’re going to give them and they also know most of the solutions what they need is the validation of their experience and when that anxiety starts to alter their behavior that you’ve been seeing over the past couple of months you know whatever has been normal for them for the last couple months when you get clues that something’s different it’s time for them just to be able to give havoc a call and check that out we would welcome those phone calls so they can come in and see us so i’ll end there to be able to give more time for uh additional questions and so forth and again glad to have your students here on campus with us thank you all we’re now going to move into a q a portion of our of our evening um rob we have a couple of questions asking about the university alert levels um and i know that you’ve described these before but what does it mean um what do the various levels mean for my interactions that my student might have um at those various levels or can expect to have um and then secondly does wash you consult with local health departments when considering what level the university might be at so the alert level system which again i may ask if someone could just post the the link to our uh fall plan in the chat because it’s described in really good detail there was a system we arrived at because we wanted to provide the community with a level of concern that we had about covid within our community the alert level is determined by a group called the covid monitoring team that is a group of mainly medical professionals dr leblanc who works for cartoor is a member of that group as well as several of our infectious disease faculty and they are the ones who will determine uh whether we should move between the alert levels now again i am not a medical professional i am not on that group but i would hope that if we continue to keep the levels low within our community and the regional conditions decrease related to covet that we would be able to move to yellow at some point this semester the the question about the local health is interesting we of course uh most of the university is located in st louis county which is uh uh a man under the jurisdiction of the so we’re under the jurisdiction of the st louis county uh health department part of our campuses in the city which has the st louis city health department many of our own infectious disease doctors are actually consulting with the county as they’re making their own decisions about county county uh conditions and and situations there um but um you know what it means for students basically is what you’re seeing right now for those who came to campus an orange alert level is a very restrictive level it requires everybody to be wearing masks the biggest thing for me at orange is that

it affects our ability to open our recreation center which we likely would tie to a yellow level it affects our ability to allow group meetings i’ve seen some some uh comments in the chat but we are gonna we are gonna make all of our decisions um about you know students uh putting students in situations where they can interact with one another based on the scientific recommendations of our infectious disease team and the and the university’s covid monitoring team but i think we’re going to expect some movement throughout the throughout the course of the year thank you kirk we have a couple of questions asking about the flu shot um and knowing that that is important for us to be thinking about um in addition to the way that the pandemic is um will the flu shot be available to students on campus if so when yeah a great question and the flu shot which is important every year especially in communal living situations like we have in residential halls it’s even more important this year for a couple of reasons one to be able to make sure that the students avoid any sickness as much as possible to be able to alleviate any concerns that they might have because the flu symptoms and symptoms of covin could mirror each other in ways that could be very disconcerting for our students and we don’t want them to get worried additionally we want to be able to protect the resources at habit for medical services to be able to be utilized for the any kind of cova treatment or other kind of respiratory issues that we might find and by having those flu shots it eliminates that we do anticipate our flu shots we have our order in and that order shows up um kind of as it shows up but as a medical facility in washington medical school um our habit uh medical folks also order as part of that batch order so we’re expecting those to show up in the next couple of weeks the cdc instructs us that the best time to be able to get a flu shot is during the month of of uh end of september through the first a week or so in august october and we’ll certainly be well within that window students can obtain a flu shot on a number of different ways one they can create a well visit to be able to go into the habit medical services and by the way we have set up two separate clinics inside havoc medical one is for well visits and the other one is more for respiratory illnesses to try and keep the students that may be struggling with covet or other related issues separated from other students who are are not and they can schedule well visit and go in and get their shot there in addition we will be standing up a great number of flu clinics on on campus where students can drop in and get that shot right there on campus in in various locations additionally if your students should so choose they’re certainly welcome to be able to utilize local cbs and walgreens and other kinds of stores that uh your insurance probably covers as well to be able to get those flu shots thank you quanah you cheered a little bit about um finding connection in the residential halls would you be able to speak a little bit more about students who might be learning remotely and how they may be able to participate in engagement or campus activities um how might those remote students find connection and engagement to wash you well one of the exciting pieces to all of this is that many of our opportunities will be virtual and so regardless if you’re on campus or not you still have the opportunities to engage and get involved the activities fair that i mentioned earlier was all virtual with over 300 300 organizations participating virtually and so we we recognize that everyone’s not in the same positions to be on campus and to be present and so we’re trying to find engagement strategies that meet our students virtually um you know i look back at what the first year center did with bare beginnings sending things home specifically to our communities that were work that were living at home to make sure that they felt invested and engaged even though they weren’t in the residential colleges and so we’ll continue to find mechanisms to outreach to our remote students but i want to reemphasize that many of the events as we said because we’re on orange we’re in this restrictive pattern where we’re not having many in-person events and so a lot of this will be virtual opportunities to get engaged if you go to that link that has been put in the chat box earlier to the student group organized organizer you’ll find many of the events and activities that are going um in place are online and virtual thank you rob i have a couple of questions coming in um asking about how our students are responding or maybe upholding our guidelines so how is the university addressing large gatherings of students especially at night um and what are some consequences if students or faculty or staff members do not follow the university public health rules yes i did see that question in the q a and somebody was referring to the very wonderful um instagram site that’s been created called

i think it’s called coviditz i have seen it you know this one is tricky right i am all for students holding students accountable i think students are going to hold each other accountable to our public health expectations in a much more um effective way than someone in my or quanah or kirk’s position sending emails or or you know messages about compliance and so on one hand i’m all for that a level of public accountability um the the the public shaming that’s not good we don’t want that uh in that site we don’t want that anywhere and i think what has happened um unfortunately is and and to be perfectly honest with you we’ve been talking to our colleagues around the country who opened it ahead of us um thank you somebody just texted me it’s called wash you covered idiots if you want to actually look it up yourself uh but the um you know what we’re seeing at washu is very common to what other universities have experienced where you have a group of students who are very rightly concerned about uh safety as that we all should be and they want to make sure that their classmates are following the rules because they are following the rules and we have other students who are making mistakes and learning about what our expectations are many of our students haven’t been in a college environment and it takes a little bit of time to get used to these new expectations um and so we’ve experienced that here i would say that most of the violations that kiwana and i have been trying to address i would put in the more minor categories students forgetting to wear their masks and and putting them on when reminded people violating a guest policy and us our resident advisor staff having to remind them about our guest policies we have had several cases of more egregious violations that have been quickly addressed through the student conduct process we had about 10 what i would call more serious cases that we adjudicated last week we have not expelled or suspended any students but as quanah and i said in a letter that i know you all read very carefully when you received it and your students received it on august 24th we are going to take uh egregious violations very seriously and if if they if they are happening in a way that are putting students at risk we will address it an example of an egregious violation of course would be a student who is covet positive who we find is left their um isolation housing um and and put themselves in contact with other students we have created a special reporting platform that we would much prefer students use instead of social media or other public shaming sites again i might ask that someone put it in the chat it’s the covid concerns portal and any member of the community can log in and and share a concern that they see we will certainly try to address it if we can i think what i predict is going to happen here um because this is what’s happened at many of our peers is it just takes a couple weeks for everybody to start feeling comfortable with this new environment and what’s expected for us to be successful and so i’m hopeful that as we get into the semester a little bit more as our public health student health ambassadors continue to do their great work and that your students continue to help us that we will get to a place where we have a good shared understanding about our community expectations i have a quick clarifying question should students remain masked and socially distant from folks that they may live with such as suite mates etc that’s kind of a interesting question and it raises some difficulties i know it’s been on and i noticed in the in the q a that it’s been on the hot topics list our infectious disease experts are recommending that the students kind of consider the degree to which they are comfortable with various exposures so this the phrase is potting if they’re sharing a suite with other students in some ways they want to be able to make sure that they’re comfortable with the risks and how conservative their other student suite mates have been with regard to covet so in other words with each exposure with each thing that they’re doing it increases that uh that risk of being able to um contract it really the preference is for them to be as safe as they feel like they need to be so in some instances they’re well aware that their suite mates have been quarantining themselves without restriction and have made sure that they’re going to be safe and others they’re a little less certain so we’ve encouraged students to be able to weigh those risks and if they feel like potting with their suite mates and feel comfortable with that then that’s something that they want to be able to evaluate the risk of otherwise we’re strongly encouraging

them to be able to keep their masks on and keep social distance and take precautions as as as the public health measures have guided i apologize quanah no we are going to say the same thing um for all three of you to think about we have some family members who are um worried about approaching their student when uh in a situation where they may be feeling isolated or lonely we know that like moving to college in and of itself or starting college and in and of itself can be a lonely experience i’m compounded upon like the um current situation that we have so how might the university address students who are feeling isolated or lonely are students given an opportunity to engage with people whether they may be ras staff or faculty or are there first steps that family members may choose to share with their students as they start recognizing that they’re that they may be feeling lonely or isolated we recognize that this is certainly not how we would have wanted to start the semester but i look at the experience that our first year students just had with their wusses which are orientation leaders they were able to connect with small groups our ras had floor meetings and so there was lots of opportunity for students to get to know folks but that’s still not the normal experience that we typically have i can tell you i’ve been on campus many times since we’ve opened and students are finding their ways you know they are working in groups large groups and we’ve had to remind them about some of the distance but they’re finding their ways to find their people i will say this week will also be a moment where they get to know people beyond just who they live with with classes beginning and classes starting and engaging and we’re also getting more of our student activities and groups gearing up and so if you find that your student is struggling in any way to get involved i want to reiterate the resources that we have within residential life with our ras who are top leaders in our community all juniors and seniors who’ve been through their first year experience and sophomore experience and have the opportunities to get them connected to things on campus and then the woo says continue to have an opportunity to connect with the students as well we know that coming to a university is hard in any circum circumstance and then you add this more isolating experience that they’re having so if you have any uh folks that are struggling please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself and we’ll get them connected appropriately thank you i just want to add one quick thing in terms of what you can be doing to help us with this as parents and and this is hard this question breaks my heart uh just because i know that uh students every year whether we’re in a pandemic or not this is the lonely week right so this you’ve left all the orientation activities are over this is the week where um it really starts sinking in for students that wow this is my new normal this is my new life my high school friends that i made are off at their own experiences and so doing their own experiences and so this is a hard this is a hard couple of weeks and you know this is also a time as kiwana mentioned earlier that we have lots of opportunities for students to engage you know and i know a lot of it’s virtual but this is the time if you if you’re interested in one of our many student organizations the the wugo website that uh that was posted in the chat is a really important place to suggest to students because there’s a lot of students like this that are looking for their group um the thing that they’re interested sometimes something they were interested in high school sometimes it’s something different and this is the time and it takes time every student finds their place at their own pace some some some will take actually until the spring semester to find their pace some found it eight minutes after they got here um and i think that that uh that is normal um and what you can be doing is encouraging your student to find that one thing that they try put themselves out there and i know it’s harder in this environment but those those opportunities still exist if a student were to leave st louis for the weekend are they able to return to wash you that’s a great question so if you look at our our covid travel policies we are recommending for the safety of campus that all essential travel or non-essential travel be limited we also recognize that we’re not going to be able to control this for all of our students and so we would just ask that you know that you as parents find ways to keep your students here we’re going to be making some announcements related to thanksgiving as we said we would at the

end of september about whether we feel that people who travel home should return to campus a lot of that will be based on what we predict will be the conditions here in st louis and and nationally around that time but for now as much as you can keep your students here and you’re reading between the lines correctly that this is a very difficult policy to enforce that creates a safer environment for everybody great thank you we’re going to ask one last question for the evening panelists thank you so much for the information that you’ve shared tonight quanah kirk and rob what is one last piece of information that you would like to leave our families with you’re gonna make us go in the same order that we started reggie okay i will i’ll just go back to my to my opening comment about the the my you know the relationship that you have with your student you know this is this is our challenging time you’re forming a new relationship with your adult child but this is an exciting time this is the this is a transition to a a a a a new lifelong bond that you will have with your child as an adult um and you know i i know there’s ups and downs but the more you can relish and what they’re experiencing celebrate with them their their accomplishments support them when they’re struggling this is all part of the experience and my advice is again relish in this change don’t try to fight it that i’ve seen many many people come out on the other side of this uh dr dewer is one some other time you can talk to him about the relationship he has with his college graduates um but but um it will be okay and that’s my advice i would just say this is a partnership we care just as much as you all that our students are having a positive and safe experience and so there have been many staff working night and day to ensure that we can support our communities and provide as much support during this very difficult time and so you know it’s a lot about extending grace to our students knowing that they’re eager to be back and they want to stay here too and our staff for supporting them and so it really is a partnership if you or your student are struggling in any way certainly reach out to us so that we can talk through that but we are here for your students and we’re going to support them as much as possible and and just listen to the concerns that come up and i just want to thank everyone because this is not going to be easy but we are in a place that cares about our students and we’ve created a culture of care that will extend beyond this pandemic that we’re in right now and so i do want to just extend some thanks but just offer that we’re here for you to partner and we want to listen and learn and we also just want to be honest about what we can and what we can’t do during this um time that we’re on this orange alert system that we’re on right now comments are kind of a combination of the two previous comments interestingly enough one the the people that are working here and especially the folks that i have much more contact with in the medical services and student affairs really care about your students in ways that i just can’t explain that they work themselves really hard they care as kiwana said deeply about making sure that the students are really safe and we are doing our best to be able to make sure that we’re keeping the campus community safe in general and individuals in specific and and uh a lot of things that we’re doing i would just ask some grace for as we as we try to make sure that we’re standing them up and getting them uh taken care of in addition to your your students going through a transition period as dr wild mentioned um i i also would share that uh you as parents are going through a transition and given all the stress and difficulty of coving the pandemic in general it’s different for you as well it’s your worries your concerns get exacerbated through students going off and where we feel so little control over the world and the events that are happening around us it’s nice to have some measure of control and yet when our students are leaving us it feels like we’ve lost some of that again so i would i would encourage you to also be benevolent with yourselves and be patient with how you’re feeling about the responses that you’re having at this time because for parents it is a new piece where our students are going away engaging in this individuation process and that impacts us i you know as dr wild mentioned that you know my two older ones when my son went away to college i was so happy for him to be leaving i was like rob’s mom was when he left when my daughter left that was a whole different story and i was not quite ready for her to leave and you’ve got to learn to be able to accept and be okay with the feelings that you have associated with all of this and that’s

just a struggle that we have panelists thank you so much for speaking with us tonight and sharing these important insights and resources parents and family members we hope that you found today’s session helpful in getting your questions answered and to hearing more you can find the recording of this uh town hall at families.woostel.edu later this week and if you have additional questions we encourage you to email families edu thank you all so much for joining us and have a great rest of your night you