Averett CoffeeBreak 5-20-2020

Posted on May 20th, 2020 by Matt Bell

CoffeeBreak is an e-newsletter distributed to Averett faculty and staff to keep them up-to-date on campus activities and information. Please send information you would like included in CoffeeBreak via this form. For the next CoffeeBreak, please submit by Friday, May 22, for a Wednesday, May 27, publication.

COVID-19 Update: Current Safety Guidelines for Personnel on Campus

The health and safety of Averett’s students, employees and campus visitors is of utmost importance. In order to ensure that essential on-campus employees and other employees and visitors (including delivery people, service workers, faculty, students and families retrieving belongings, etc.) who are periodically on campus, the following guidelines have been put into place in accordance with federal and state guidelines. (“Forward Virginia,” the governor’s blueprint for reopening the state, can be found here.) We are most grateful to the Campus Health and Welfare Workgroup 4 for their efforts in this initiative.

Averett University is still observing the work-at-home directive, and these guidelines are in place for the current situation. As Averett decides to enter into resumptions of operations in different stages in conversation with the state and national recommendations around COVID-19, Averett’s guidelines will evolve and change to address new phases or stages of re-opening.

As part of a community, all members are expected to adhere to these guidelines out of respect for each other and their continued health. While every effort is being made to ensure the environment is kept sanitized and secure, personal attention to yourself and your surroundings is the most effective measure for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Health Checks
Before coming on campus, everyone must self-monitor for signs and symptoms of illness. If you exhibit any of the following symptoms, do not come on campus and notify your supervisor if you are an employee or the Dean of Students if you are a student:

  • Cough or sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever, chills, or repeated shaking with chills
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle pain or fatigue
  • Headache
  • New GI symptoms
  • New loss of taste or smell

For more information on the symptoms of COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

Social Distancing
Although there are very few people currently on campus, social distancing remains very important as one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Remember that even people with no symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

  • Employees should maintain a minimum of a 6-foot distance from one another at all times.
  • An effort should be made to reduce congregation of individuals in high traffic areas such as copy rooms and restrooms.
  • Rely on electronic communication as much as possible.Do not enter other employees’ offices unless unavoidable and only with a face covering with the approval of the occupant.

Take additional measures to keep yourself and your work spaces clean.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face.
  • Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash your hands.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face.
  • Use disinfecting wipes or sanitizing spray (provided by Housekeeping) after each use of communal equipment such as copiers.
  • Work spaces are being cleaned daily based on CDC guidelines, but additional care should be taken to wipe down commonly used surfaces.
  • Use a paper towel or other barrier when touching door handles, faucets or hand rails.

Face Coverings
Face masks or face coverings should be worn by everyone on campus when in the presence of others, like in meetings, hallways and public places. Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.

Beyond the Pandemic Workgroups Update

We are grateful for the diligent and expedient work of our seven Beyond the Pandemic Workgroups. They have completed steps 1 and 2 of the process – 1) Diagnosing the challenges presented by each scenario and developing a coherent viewpoint of the forces at work first; and, 2) Examining the possible medium and long-term implications of each scenario – and are finishing step 3 this week: 3) Identifying at least three creative, cutting-edge alternative solutions and recommendations of the best path forward. They will move swiftly into step 4 to develop detailed plans and follow-up action steps by the end of next week.

Brief updates for each group are below. If you questions or ideas for the workgroups that you want to share, please email them to beyondthepandemic@averett.edu, from which they will be routed to the appropriate party. Here you will find details of the full process that is underway as well as a listing of faculty and staff who are serving on the various work groups.

  1. Teaching/Learning
  • Working to propose options that both ensure student, faculty and staff safety, as well as the quality learning experiences our students deserve and expect.
  • Researching various hybrid instructional methods and online delivery models.
  • Engaging additional faculty to explore face-to-face and online teaching strategies and additional training opportunities.
  • Examining the social-distancing capacity of our classrooms for face-to-face instruction.
  1. Recruitment of Incoming Class
  • Seeking solutions to help mitigate potential enrollment losses.
  • Researching ways to maximize opportunities that could have positive impacts for Averett in new ways.
  • Examining the effects of governing restrictions and how they affect enrollment numbers through limitations in things like families’ ability to pay, international student travel, participation in activities like athletics, aviation, equestrian and theatre, etc.
  1. Current Student Retention/Student Success, Support and Experience
  • Exploring how to provide our students a holistic, personalized, “Averett” college experience.
  • Seeking ways to provide personalized care and attention without being able to operate at our full, in-person capacity.
  • Anticipating new financial and emotional concerns of students as they find themselves affected by the economy and other factors beyond their control.
  1. Campus Health and Welfare – Employee and Student
  • Formulating solutions to provide a safe environment for faculty, staff and students upon their return to campus.
  • Examining safety measures and best practices ranging from social distancing as it relates to offices and classrooms; the use of physical barriers; classroom occupancies; distance options; work schedules; sanitization; etc.
  • Researching safety guidelines and training opportunities for all community members, and examining requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE), virus testing and symptom monitoring.
  • Exploring ways to provide safe student housing, dining and transportation services.
  1. Finances
  • Identify the financial challenges and implications of the pandemic, and working toward solutions to help mitigate that impact.
  • Looking into increased expenses around keeping our employees and students safe and upgrading IT to support instruction and telecommuting employees.
  • Researching solutions for reduced revenue and identifying ways to cut expenses and find alternative revenue streams.
  1. Fundraising
  • Identifying the challenges and implications surrounding fundraising initiatives for the University, as well as Athletics.
  • Working through fundraising challenges, including: the inability to have face-to-face stewardship with donors; foundations postponing approval of grant requests; a possible delay in launching a capital campaign; and the loss of facility rental income.
  • Focusing on improving internal and operational efficiencies, staying connected to key constituents and prioritizing transformative projects with a near-term return on investment.
  1. External Outreach
  • Identifying challenges and subsequent solutions in the areas of partnership development, service-learning, career development, Bonner Leader service sites and volunteerism.
  • Developing plans to adapt partnership relationships to any of the proposed re-opening scenarios.
  • Exploring various partnership parameters, including: whether our external partners are able to host virtual experiences; whether our students will be properly protected in the field; whether students be willing to serve off campus; and how to continue cultivating partnerships and funding relationships under current restrictions.

COVID-19 Info Reminder

As a reminder, CoffeeBreak is the source for any updates and new information about Averett University’s response and planning regarding COVID-19. Please continue to watch for important weekly reminders and updates.

Partnership & Economic Development Announcement

On Monday, the City of Danville announced its selection of Caesar’s Entertainment as Danville’s casino operator should residents vote in favor of the referendum in November. Dr. Franks was invited over the weekend to speak at Monday’s press conference announcing the selection of Caesars. The  live stream of the press conference is available here.

At Averett, we always strive to be an active and strong partner, supporting our city and economic development initiatives in their decisions. With this potential new industry, there will be a tremendous need for a prepared workforce and workers with advanced education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We are proud that our locality and a major company like Caesars respect and understand the significant role we play as the Hometown University.

We are excited to partner in continuing to propel our region forward.

May Staff Meeting

The May staff meeting will take place on Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Join us for department announcements!

Remember to nominate your co-workers for the Golden Bagel by sending your nominations to staffcouncil@avertt.edu!

See you all on Thursday!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 942 0382 6452
Password: 006880

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Dial by your location

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Meeting ID: 942 0382 6452

Find your local number: https://averett.zoom.us/u/aclUCSX3Sp

Optional Virtual Visits with Dr. Franks

Please feel free to join me by Zoom on Fridays, May 22, June 5, June 19 and June 26 from 11 a.m. to noon, if you would like to connect, have questions or want to visit with your colleagues. This optional time can’t make up for our informal visits in the hallways or at games or events, but it is one way we can try to keep in touch.

Email Cyndie Basinger at cbasinger@averett.edu for questions.

Dial-in number (US): +13017158592,,94658377149# or +13126266799,,94658377149#
Meeting ID: 946 5837 7149
Join online: https://averett.zoom.us/j/94658377149


Grayson Eaton Participates in Virtual Student Town Hall

Averett University rising Senior Grayson Eaton recently participated in a virtual town hall with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and college students from across the Commonwealth.

As a part of the town hall meeting, Eaton was provided with this reference guide. In it, students can find financial, health and wellness, and general resources. The list is not exhaustive.


Morning Meditation – Mindful Moments

Call in and join Averett Online for morning meditation from 8:30-8:45 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Friday, June 5.

Morning meditation releases stress, clears our thoughts and gives us the best opportunity to be alert, awake and fully alive before “doing” anything. Jump on the call, mute your phones and take 15 minutes to achieve calmness and peace of mind before starting your day. Meditation can help us manage our home and work lives more skillfully.

Call-in information:
US: 1-312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 959 973 004

Virtual Career Fair

Averett University is pleased to provide our students, upcoming graduates and alumni a Virtual Career Fair on Wednesday, May 27, from 1-3 p.m. Please encourage students to register for the fair by Tuesday, May 26. Students with questions should email Angie McAdams or Ryan Taube.

All Things Zoom

Faculty and staff may request a free Zoom license as part of Averett’s Education Zoom plan. To request an account, faculty should contact Marietta Sanford at msanford@averett.edu and staff should contact Carly Pearce at carly.pearce@averett.edu.

If you would like some additional one-on-one Zoom training, please schedule a time with the Averett Online team by clicking on the appointment link provided or refer to Averett’s Zoom resource website.

In addition, Zoom is now integrated into Canvas. The Canvas-Zoom integration allows instructors to schedule online meetings from within Canvas and is available in all Canvas sites. Instructions on how to integrate Zoom into your Canvas course can be found at the following link.

Summer French Group

Bonjour l’été! What are your summer plans?

Dr. Catherine Clark is setting up some casual French practice over the summer for anyone who’s interested. It’s free, no commitment and good for any level (even complete beginners). Faculty, staff and alumni are welcome. Click here for more information.

Every week will include:

A different French language song of the week, a Duolingo points challenge, online grammar or vocabulary practice, a short fun video about francophone culture and a half hour virtual French conversation. You can pick and choose what you want to practice each week.

Activities will be June 1 through Aug. 1. Email coclark@averett.edu if you want to be included.