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72 Replies
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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Thanks for the link, Nat. This was inevitable. The question is only how bad will it get. That's not a large number given the size of the student body. But the school year has just begun in the last two weeks.

We do our best to avoid contact, including staying totally away from certain places. But we live 4 blocks from the campus, and many students live in nearby apartments and houses. Although we take walks in parts of our neighborhood, we only go to on-campus places (such as the gardens -- NOT to any buildings) if we are wearing masks and also plastic gloves. That is also what we do if we go into any stores. Only two stores are regular for us:  pharmacy and a natural foods grocery that no students ever shop at (about 2 miles from campus). (They also sell wine.) Other than those, our shopping is entirely online. Added: an old friend and neighbor of ours shops at Whole Foods for us almost every week. If we want a special cut of meat we may get it at Mert's Market. We don't go inside the market; we call in our order and when it's ready we drive up and call them and they put it in the trunk of our car. Also, when I fill the gas tank on my car, I'm wearing disposable rubber gloves. We use those (as well as masks) on some other occasions, such as visiting the Japanese garden.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Juris

The number in UT, Knoxville has exceeded more than 2100 as of last Wednesday. The Chancellor has announced more strict measures. But, I do not think that it would work because these kids are not school aged children. They are adults and will do whatever they want. Therefore, college towns are problematic places to live. My family does not allow me to go out of my drive way. I believe that Cookeville High school has twelve cases and hundreds have been quarantined. But, they have played four football games so far.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Nat,

We haven't been downtown since our return from Florida in late March. We grocery shop during senior hours and avoid the largest grocery chain where students typically shop.

We stopped walking on campus in late August.

We pretty much stick to outdoor meetings with friends and neighbors.  Sadly, when the cold weather comes we will have much less social interaction.  We both have Zoom fatigue.

Still not sure about exercise class--waiting to get specifics on how it will be organized.

I hope this predictable outbreak does not aggravate town and gown relations over the long term. The students and university are central to this town's identity and existence.

Bob

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Bob, for exercise we walk. Almost every day (until the weather gets too cold) we walk a couple of alternative routes away from the campus. The round-trip is 1.2 miles. We don't walk downtown to the commercial area at all. During the break periods we have walked along the river -- no students were on campus. But except for the Japanese Garden, which is usually virtually deserted, we don't walk on the campus.

I've also got a few makeshift weights that I use indoors at home. One is a 2.95 L plastic bottle of liquid Tide. Another is a 2.40 L plastic bottle of Clorox. I do arm and shoulder reps with those a couple of times a week. But this is all upper-body stuff -- arms, shoulders, chest. We haven't seen our personal trainer since March.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Hi Juris,

Even prior to covid-19 we set up our finished basement with free weights, kettle bells, bands, and mats.

Since we are not returning to Florida this winter and are hesitant to return to the gym, we have ordered a treadmill to compensate for outdoor walking and my use of an elliptical at the gym.

One thing we will truly lament is the end of the local farmers market in a few weeks.

Bob 

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

You are lucky to have a local farmers market that is even open. Our's did not this year.

 

The University I retired from is 60 cases away from going all remote learning. I'm glad I do not have to go to work there any more.

 

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

David,

I was a member of the founding group. It is a growers only market led largely by the growers themselves.

Our college town provides the market manager and other resources.

With Covid-19 the growers and city implemented a well-thought out plan, including masks, social distancing (for growers and customers), controlled entrance and exit, plus regulation of the number of customers allowed at any one time.

The setting is open air in a lovely park bordering both downtown and campus. Many folks walk or bike ride to the market.

I am no longer part of the market committee, but I give leadership the highest possible marks.  I also commend the tremendous cooperation from those who shop at the market. It makes Sundays special. 

Bob 

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Explorer ○○○

Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

I was perhaps spoiled, We had a farm stand I could walk to that was open 5 days a week. Not really a farmers market, but they did sell other peoples products.

 

I think I need to start a cheat sheet that connects user names with real names. Obviously you have one!

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

You once signed off as David!

Bob

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Explorer ○○○

Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Silly me!

I could be Diane. David could be a temporary on line name.

Who knows, and who cares?

 

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Dk from here on.

Bob

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Participant ○○

Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

We live pretty close to that farmers market. There was an excellent fish monger there, too. It is terrific. But we haven't gone there this year at all b/c we just don't trust the social distancing in an environment that's basically like a crowd. We also stay away from other downtown locations, including green-grocers. We use the drive-up services of the downtown CVS, though. When we vote, we'll drop our paper ballot into a box at City Hall, rather than go to the usual polling station in our neighborhood.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Juris,

The space has been completely reconfigured. It is much larger with the same amount of vendors as before. There is just one (monitored) exit and entrance.

You should take a look next Sunday from the street above Valley Court Park.

Mark, the former fish monger, is no longer at the market. But DMS--out of St. Ignace, I believe--has excellent fresh fish.

Bob

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

There is an update on this story just released.

https://tinyurl.com/y48zprly

Why don't they close the university for two weeks and start all over again instead of the whole community taking the risk? Just a thought.

Quote:

 
Michigan State students to quarantine amid coronavirus outbreak

Students at Michigan State are being asked to quarantine within their student residences due to an "alarming" surge in coronavirus cases among the campus community and surrounding area, according to local health officials.

A statement from Ingham County health officials on Saturday cited cases in 30 residences defined as "large" centers of student housing on and around the campus in an order requiring those affected to "quarantine immediately for the next two weeks."

The university added in its own statement that the order applied to "all local Michigan State University students," while the county's statement specifically referred to Greek life housing as well as other student residences.

“This is an urgent situation,” said county health officer Linda Vail in a statement. “The exponential growth of COVID-19 cases must stop. I am concerned about the health and safety of the MSU community, and importantly, I am seriously concerned that unchecked transmission locally will affect the health and safety of all Ingham County residents. If we do not slow the spread immediately, we will be dealing with the consequences across the county for months to come.”

 

 

 

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

A while ago, some schools announced that they would go online for the fall semester.  For others, I have reason to think that they have a strategy to keep their school open as long as possible because they want to minimize financial losses.  Student retention, which is also tied to finances, is also a very important factor.

First line of defense...   Announce that the campus will be open.

Second line of defense...  If the number of cases goes beyond a certain number, quarantine some/all residence halls and/or go online temporarily for, say, two weeks.

Third line of defense...  Go online completely but keep residence halls open.

Fourth line of defense...  If nothing "works," send students home.  If possible, they may resist this idea as long as possible and can use the defense that students will spread the virus to many communities if they go home. 

This way they will minimize refunds to students for residence hall and meal plan payments.  This approach also gives them a thicker guard to resist any demands from state legislators that at least some of tuition money should be refunded to students.  Call it the fifth line of defense.

University administrators may have couple more details in their strategy that I do not understand yet.

P.S.  I was not such a person when I was a young assistant professor.  What I saw first hand over the years has changed me.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Bob, something new!

From the website of our institution:  "You contribute a maximum of 5% of your annual base salary to the Base Retirement Program. When you meet eligibility criteria, the University will also contribute 5% of your annual base salary. NOTE: The 5% University contribution amount became effective July 1, 2020. In order to receive the University's matching contribution, you must contribute 5% of your annual base salary to the Base Retirement Program."

This is a shocker. Since before I began to participate in this program in 1975, the university contribution was 10% on top of the employee's required contribution of 5% of gross salary. I enjoyed this "15%" per month contribution to TIAA for 39 years until I retired.

It used to be a bragging point by university administrators (I once heard it from LAKS) that MSU had the highest contribution rate in our "conference." That was sometimes referred to in order to rationalize our having a somewhat lower salary structure. Of course salaries are to individuals, and the pay is adjusted annually. But that 15% going "to the retirement savings bank" every month really added up! And I think it's something that also increases retention of the faculty and staff.

Possibly this change is a temporary response to the economic crisis. The university effectively increases its disposable/spendable budget. But nothing in the website announcement speaks to this matter. I imagine that the rationale was provided in communications to individual faculty and staff.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

The whole concept of running a University as a business really bugs me.

But I guess it is the reality. Like it or not.

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Re: Bob and Juris: Be careful out there

Yes, Juris.  President Stanley announced the change a while ago.  Don't know whether it's temporary.

And then there's the upcoming change in our supplementary health plan from BC/BS to Humana.

The coverage from BC/BS has been excellent.

Bob

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