Nov. 16 Weekly Update With USU President Noelle Cockett

Nov 17, 2020

Kerry Bringhurst: This is Utah Public Radio. Joining me for our weekly conversation, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett. 

We're getting to the end of the semester.

President Cockett: Well, it's week 12. And there were times, I wasn't sure, it seemed like off there in the distance, I wasn't sure if we made it, but we have. We wrap up our face-to-face, in person instruction this week and finish up fall semester and then move into the holiday break. 

 

We have not had a single report of infection or transmission due to a classroom. Though all of the work we did was social distancing, and masks and signs and sanitation and disinfection and all of that has worked.

 

KB: Have you had conversations with other administrators throughout the nation who have maybe turned to you? I mean, you were in the top six of the collegiate report saying that things have gone very well here. Have you had others calling you and seeing how you've been able to manage so well?

 

NC: Yes, we have. Through the Mountain West and the Association of Public Land Grant Universities. 

Each institution has to find their own pathways. I would say that a lot of universities have focused on the on-campus students. But we seem to be a little bit less common where we also offer, you know, testing and some help for off-campus. 

 

One of the distinctions too, I've noticed, is some of the places they have repercussions. You know, transcript holds or even going so far as to expel students. We have not had to do that.

KB: As far as students who are requesting refunds on their housing, for the rest of this semester, is that giving you an indication of the number of students that might be coming back after Thanksgiving?

NC: Right. If I remember right, it’s at least a third of the students are leaving right after Thanksgiving and not continuing their housing contract in the spring. Leaving after Thanksgiving slightly above that, but coming back then in spring. 

Our registration starts on Monday. Today, it actually started today. And we hope that people are planning to come. So I think we’ll actually know more in about a month, what our numbers are, and how people see spring. 

I feel good about our plan. I, you know, I don't feel like we've been too restrictive. But I don't think we've been too open. Friday will be the last of our face-to-face classes. And then on Monday, all instruction has moved to remote. But we do have still, I think it's two weeks of instruction, and then you know, the dead week where people study, and then the finals week. 

So hopefully our students can still stay focused, our faculty still have enough energy to finish out the semester. And then everybody gets a well deserved break.

KB: And I guess we'll just have to see if basketball is an option for the Aggies.

 

NC: Right. And they're doing things in the basketball a little bit differently to minimize the amount of travel. Our first set of games, where we're here in Logan, I think is San Jose. So the men's basketball team will not play at San Jose and the women's San Jose team will not play at Logan this season.

KB: So they'll play the same team twice in one week?

NC: Yes.

KB: Okay. 

NC: At that location, right, rather than here one week, there another week. It'll be here, here. And it flips for the men and women's teams.

KB: Well, President Cockett, we are out of time for this week. And we know you're also still working on that USU basketball schedule. So during our next conversation, we can hopefully get an update on that. And thanks again Utah State University President Noelle Cockett.

All right, fine.