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Hotline 8.10.20

Aug 10, 2020

This week’s Hotline! includes the following articles:
• President’s column: Anything but normal
• COVID-19 testing on campus Thursday
• Preview of next week’s Welcome Week
• No planetarium shows this fall
• Burr, Russell and VanHorn present at BbWorld 20 conference
• Haneishi presents at SHEE-TALKS conference
• Coronavirus updates
• What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City…

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter will resume weekly publication on Aug. 17. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 3 p.m. Friday.

President Alan D. LaFave

Anything but normal

President Alan LaFave, D.M.A.

Greetings from Valley City State University!

As we continue to plan and anticipate welcoming faculty, staff and students back to campus in a few short weeks, I’d like to share some personal perspectives on the appreciation I have for our entire campus and Valley City community for the incredible efforts to collaborate and assemble a plan focused on preserving the health and safety of all.

I’ve heard some say that our plan for this fall is to be “back to normal.” I assure you that this fall will be anything but normal. However, if all observe the safety procedures and protocols we have established for our university community, we will certainly be on the path back to normal.

Academics: Margaret Dahlberg, vice president for academic affairs, recently shared details on the course delivery model we will be utilizing as we begin the fall 2020 semester. This robust plan includes options for face-to-face instruction and synchronous remote delivery. Synchronous remote is different from online in that the instruction is done in real time as a live interactive course combining face-to-face students with others participating remotely at the regularly scheduled class time. While synchronous delivery doesn’t have the convenience of the anywhere/anytime online platform, it will help us meet the needs of those unable to attend class in the actual classroom for a variety of reasons. High-resolution cameras and upgraded microphones have been installed in classrooms to provide a high-quality remote experience for our students and faculty members.

Safety Equipment and Procedures: Classroom and lecture hall capacities have been reduced by half, and each classroom will be disinfected using an aerosol fogger between each class meeting time. Special HEPA filters will be installed in the air vents, and many offices and classrooms will be equipped with air purification units. Students, staff and faculty will all be wearing masks while in public spaces on our campus, and events will be tailored to meet current Centers for Disease Control and North Dakota Department of Health recommendations and guidelines. Six feet of space between each student will address the physical distancing recommendation, and events will have capacities and spacing modified to meet these guidelines. Plexiglass barriers have been installed in common office spaces and on classroom teaching podiums. Signage is in place on building doors, and special floor decals have been installed to direct foot traffic and maintain a six-foot distance in offices.

Testing: The North Dakota University System and North Dakota Department of Health have been especially responsive and helpful in providing numerous testing opportunities for our students, faculty and staff throughout the state. We are asking our students to take advantage of one of these opportunities prior to returning to campus. There are more than 60 different testing sites and dates in the month ahead, and 3 of them are right here in Valley City. Testing will give us a jump start on containment and mitigation by helping us identify positive cases before classes begin. According to health experts, college-age students are more likely to be asymptomatic (no COVID-19 symptoms present) than the rest of the population, so the opportunity to identify positive cases will allow us to enact special protocols to isolate those from the rest of the general student population. The key is to contain the virus if cases are identified on our campus and keep it from spreading.

Student Life and Activities: Dining Services will reduce capacity to three students per table and have extended hours to accommodate all. Students will be able to eat in shifts with their friends, but in a safer, less congested environment. Tables will be sanitized between each shift. Self-service options will be temporarily replaced with food served by Sodexo staff. Utensils will be pre-wrapped, and a grab-and-go option will be available. The Viking I will be open for business as well, with take-out options available. Student organizations such as Student Senate, the Viking Campus Activities Board, and others will continue to meet and provide safe activities for our students.

Athletics: The Athletic Department has already instituted many safety protocols and will continue to develop procedures and practices that protect the safety of student-athletes, athletic trainers and coaching staff, in alignment with the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics and North Star Athletic Association. As of this writing, the fall sports schedules for the North Star Athletic Association, VCSU’s athletic conference, will be moving forward. One change is that the fall championships for these sports will be delayed until spring. We are looking at ways to partner with other neighboring conferences to potentially develop a regional championship experience for our teams.

I wish to thank all of our faculty and staff for their input, thoughts and ideas as we assembled this plan. Special gratitude is extended to our campus Emergency Management Team for their ongoing efforts in developing and implementing new procedures and protocols throughout campus. We acknowledge that as the COVID situation changes across the country and North Dakota, we must be extra-vigilant and do everything in our power to contain the virus to the best of our ability. Even though there will be noticeable differences on our campus and in our classrooms this fall, we remain steadfast to our mission as a community of learning.

We look forward to welcoming our students back to campus and the Valley City community. We hope to see all of you, in person, soon at an event or just enjoying the scenery and serenity of the most beautiful campus in North Dakota.

Go Vikings!

COVID-19 testing on campus Thursday

A free COVID-19 testing event for VCSU students and employees will be held Thursday, Aug. 13, from 10-11 a.m. on campus at the West Fieldhouse Parking Lot. Walk-ups are welcome, but preregistration at is strongly encouraged.

Preview of next week’s Welcome Week

We are looking forward to faculty returning to campus August 17.

The final Welcome Week schedule will be emailed soon.

A few highlights:
• New employee onboarding begins Monday, Aug. 17. This is for all new employees hired since Sept. 1, 2019. New employees will receive a calendar invite from Jody Henjum for this event.
• On Tuesday morning, Aug. 18, all employees should plan to attend the Welcome Back convocation at 8:30 a.m. and the special keynote speaker at 10:30 a.m. More information coming soon in your email inbox.
• On Tuesday, Aug. 18, an all-employee picnic will be held on the front lawn at noon. Appropriate physical distancing is expected. Watch for a calendar invite to RSVP and receive your meal ticket.
• Classrooms have technology upgrades; see the schedule for when your area’s demonstration is scheduled.
• A change this year: Freshman move-in day will take place on Thursday, Aug. 20.

No planetarium shows this fall

With regret, we announce that VCSU will not be able to host planetarium shows this fall due to capacity restrictions in our facility related to the coronavirus.

The health and safety of our patrons and campus community is of utmost importance to us, and we will continue to monitor the situation and update our services based on university guidelines.

Please check back in the spring, as we are hoping to be open and serving our community “under the stars” again! Thank you for you continued interest and support in our planetarium.

Burr, Russell and VanHorn present at BbWorld 20 conference

VCSU faculty members Diane Burr, Julee Russell and Shannon VanHorn presented at the BbWorld 20 conference on July 21. The annual conference for members of the Blackboard community, this year’s conference was themed ”Galaxy of Learning: Blast Off to the Future of Education.”

Burr, Russell and VanHorn’s session — “Universal Access: It’s the Right Thing To Do, But We Don’t Know How” — garnered 40 conference participants.

This session described and demonstrated VCSU’s ongoing journey toward achieving common design and accessibility with a focus on courses in the online environment. The presentation included identification of stakeholders and an examination of the beginnings of accessibility and design awareness on campus.

Also included in the discussion was the notion that faculty recognize the need and the benefits of universal access, but that time, energy, expertise, training, assistance, and one-on-one help present barriers. Burr, Russell and VanHorn indicated that faculty support remains a key component of their work on the issue.

Burr serves as professor and chair of the VCSU Department of Kinesiology and Human Performance, Russell is professor and chair of the Language and Literature Department, and VanHorn is a professor in the Communication Arts Department.

Haneishi presents at SHEE-TALKS conference

Kanae Haneishi, Ed.D., a new member of the VCSU Kinesiology and Human Performance Department at VCSU, presented at SHEE-TALKS – the Women’s Sports Virtual Conference 2020 – held Aug. 1-2. Hosted by the SHEEROSE Welfare Foundation in India, the conference featured 17 sessions and attracted 10,000-plus participants worldwide.  

Haneishi spoke about networking and mentoring through the foundations and working with Dr. Marz Snyder from the Women’s Sports Foundation at the “What Foundation Can Do for National Program” session on Aug. 1.

She talked of her experiences from playing women’s soccer (i.e., winning the silver medal at the World University Games with the Japanese National Team, winning the NCAA D2 National Championship in the U.S., and serving as the team captain for New York Magic), to coaching (i.e., assistant coach at University of Memphis and Smith College and head coach at Mount Holyoke College), as well as further teaching at VCSU. Her presentation will focus on how the foundations like JWS (Japanese Association for Women in Sport) and WSI (WomenSport International) tremendously helped her through those transitions.  

More information about the conference can be found at


Coronavirus updates

Campus coronavirus updates can be found at Here you can find updates with news of positives cases within the campus community, along with information regarding impact to campus activities and facilities. This information will be updated regularly as needed.

There is also a host of resources with detailed information for employees and students on OneStop at

What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City…

Monday, August 10
K-12 schools online registration
4-6 p.m. Farmers Market, Rosebud Visitor Center Parking Lot

Tuesday, August 11

Wednesday, August 12
12:15-6 p.m. Valley City Blood Drive, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
7:15 p.m. Music in the Park: Oakland Grove

Thursday, August 13
10-11 a.m. VCSU COVID-19 Testing Event, West Fieldhouse Parking Lot
4-6 p.m. Farmers Market, Rosebud Visitor Center Parking Lot

Friday, August 14

Saturday, August 15

Sunday, August 16

Monday, August 17
Faculty contracts begin
New employee onboarding
4-6 p.m. Farmers Market, Rosebud Visitor Center Parking Lot

Tuesday, August 18
8:30 a.m. Welcome Back Convocation
10:30 a.m. Welcome Back Keynote Speaker
noon All-Employee Picnic

Wednesday, August 19
7:15 p.m. Music in the Park: Kroshus & Krew

Thursday, August 20
Freshman Move-In Day
11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Welcome students and families with hot dog lunch
4-6 p.m. Farmers Market, Rosebud Visitor Center Parking Lot
6-9 p.m. Summer Nights on Central with music by Tripwire

Friday, August 21
4 p.m. North Dakota Winter Show Fun Night Horse Show and Market
5 p.m. Marketplace Picnic, McFarland Front Lawn

Saturday, August 22

Sunday, August 23

Visit to see more events happening in and around Valley City.