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One of the immediate challenges that campuses across the country are facing as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus is how to move students off campus. This has also led institutions to determine how to issue room and board refunds to residential students who will no longer be utilizing those services.

The University of Connecticut is the latest to announce that it will be issuing refunds to its residential students who can no longer call their campus home.

According to an official university release, UConn students will receive pro-rated refunds for housing, dining plans, and Study Abroad programs that were discontinued due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, UConn's Board of Trustees gave administrators the authority to make the reimbursements, which consists of several thousand dollars for many on-campus residential students. The payments will be credited on the fall semester’s fee bills, while students who graduate or don't return to UConn for other reasons will receive refunds.

The comprehensive release also details early projections for the financial impact that the virus shutdown will have on the university.

The room and board refunds are estimated to cost about $30 million and will be pro-rated amounts from the time when students could no longer use housing and dining services, or approximately seven weeks dating from March 23 forward. For students whose room and board were covered either partially or in full by financial aid, the money will return to the student's financial aid and scholarship accounts for future use.

At UConn Storrs and its regional campuses, the refunds represent roughly $32 million in expenses, combined with an estimated $6.7 million in lost revenue from cancelled events like athletics, conferences, and performing arts. UConn also expects to have at least $400,000 in additional costs directly related to COVID-19 preparation and response.

Individual room and board refunds will range from $1,600 to $3,200 for students on the Storrs campus, depending on which campus housing option they chose; and between $1,200 and $1,400 for dining plans. Students who lived in UConn's Stamford campus residence halls will be refunded between $2,800 and $3,100.

Most UConn employees are telecommuting, and students have been sent home from residence halls. UConn has, however, allowed exceptions for international students, those who have family members that are immunocompromised, and others with specific circumstances. In total, roughly 1,200 students have been allowed to remain in their Storrs residence halls based on these exceptions.

Beyond room and board

UConn officials are already projecting potential revenue loss across its campuses in the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, which is expected to range anywhere from $18 million to $70 million based on the potential for restricted international enrollment.

That enrollment hit could depend significantly on whether UConn loses only potential incoming international freshmen, or if it includes current UConn students who had returned to their home countries and either cannot or do not return for the next academic year.

UConn also reports that the current financial impact is estimated at nearly $134 million for the current semester across the flagship Storrs campus, UConn regional campuses and UConn Health. That number includes a roughly $101 million loss related to postponed elective surgeries conducted by UConn Health, which is now refocusing its efforts toward serving the state and its residents during the pandemic.

With the COVID-19 virus driving students back to their homes for remote learning, there are resources left on campus that are no longer being utilized. Recognizing this, the University of Virginia's dining services department has decided to repurpose perishable food on campus at risk of going unused by donating it to neighboring food banks and charities.

According to an official university release, UVA Dining is donating perishable foods due to the lack of both students on campus and university food service locations being closed.

The first of the donations went out on Wednesday, with UVA Dining delivering perishable food items to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, The Haven, The Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry and the Food Pantry for Fauquier County. Donated items included fresh fruits and vegetables, already prepared fruit salad, potatoes, onions and cheeses.

More donations are expected to be made over the coming weeks, as UVA Dining continues to assess its existing inventory. University officials are in discussion with local charities about their needs and determining what is available to donate. UVA Dining is also freezing and preserving foods for later use wherever possible.

The university release goes on to explain that during a normal school year, UVA Dining keeps several days worth of food inventory and products on campus, which are constantly replenished from its vendors.

UVA is still serving a limited number of students that have remained on campus. For those students a campus dining hall, food court, c-store and an on-campus Einstein Bros. Bagels location will stay open indefinitely – all for take-out orders only.

The COVID-19 virus has brought on-campus operations to a grinding halt. Classes for a growing number of universities have been moved to an online format for the remainder of the academic year, and students that have left for spring break are being encouraged not to return to campus.

These continuing developments, alongside others, have led universities to determine ways to best move students out of on-campus housing while still meeting health and safety guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

This process will certainly look different for each university, and there will be more information in the coming weeks showing how other institutions are dealing with the challenge. But in the meantime, here are a couple of early examples of how universities are moving students out of campus housing:

Kansas State University

Kansas State University has laid out a comprehensive process for students living in university residence halls, and will begin a 10-day move out process Friday, March 20.

In a letter to students, K-State Housing and Dining officials said they will be scheduling move-out time slots between March 20 and March 30 and will conform to CDC social distancing guidelines.

Students must first fill out a survey, circulated to them in a letter from K-State Dining and Housing, at least 24 hours before their anticipated arrival to campus.

Students who are sick, under quarantine or out-of-state and unable to return by March 30 are advised to indicate as such on the survey. Special arrangements for these students will be made to enable them to pick up belongings and move out at a later date.

Once on campus, students will have one hour to collect their belongings, and each student may be accompanied by up to two people. Moving carts and dollies that are typically provided by the university, will not be available so as to prevent the potential spread of the virus. Students are, however, allowed bring their own carts.

Additional move out measures include:

Students will not be required to clean their dorm rooms, and K-State officials said the university will dispose of any belongings leftover after 30 days. K-State will also not assess room cleaning charges to residents.

Finally, K-State will reportedly issue student residents a pro-rated refund for housing and meal charges for the remainder of the semester.

University of Kentucky

All students living in on-campus housing at the University of Kentucky are required to move out of campus residence halls. All undergraduate students must be moved out by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

The university is in the process of determining a prorated refund package for residential students.

Students who have appealed and have been approved to remain on campus will all be relocated to a single campus residence hall. All other residence halls will close.

The university is scheduling move-out appointments to keep with CDC guidelines. If students can't be on campus to move themselves out, they can sign an online waiver authorizing another person to remove their items.

UK residence halls will be available for move-out from March 19-27. A limited number of appointments are available for each time slot to minimize the number of students moving out at any one time.

All students living in residence halls will select a move-out appointment online using their university credentials via the campus housing portal.

Have a tip? Let us know what your institution is doing to facilitate the student move-out process by emailing [email protected], and we'll amend this post to keep things up to date.

The ripple effect of the COVID-19 virus has been far reaching over the past few weeks, and amongst the hardest hit are public events and large gatherings. In response to the evolving situation and circumstances, The National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) has made the decision to cancel its 2020 Annual Conference due to be held in Austin, Tex. on April 19-22.

In a statement to its membership, NACCU Executive Director, Dawn Thomas, stated the following:

"NACCU was forced to cancel the annual conference scheduled for April 19-22, 2020 at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. This year’s conference will not be rescheduled.

While we had options to postpone this conference to early June, the uncertainty surrounding large-scale events is likely to continue into the summer. In addition, travel bans make it nearly impossible to determine whether a viable number of presenters and attendees are able to attend an event during the summer."

Hinting at educational opportunities that may arise in lieu of the in-person conference, she added:

"We want to thank our volunteer leaders who have worked diligently for more than a year to create an outstanding conference program. With such an abundance of timely sessions, we are working on ways to repurpose content in virtual and other formats. Please stay tuned for more information."

NACCU reiterated that its number one priority is providing educational and exhibit opportunities in a safe environment.

"While we are all having to make decisions as a result of this fast-moving threat, NACCU stands with its members, volunteer leaders, industry partners and other stakeholders," added Thomas. "For those of us who are distanced from colleagues and friends in the industry, please stay in touch with each other and offer support through this challenging situation."

The team here at CR80News is disappointed to miss the opportunity to meet with our readership in person, as the NACCU Annual Conference provides the best environment for collaboration and learning within the campus card industry. We do, however, understand the difficult circumstances at hand and applaud NACCU and its leaders for looking after the safety and health of its membership.

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, universities have enacted a number of measures to safeguard their campus communities. University dining programs are having to shift operations to meet the needs of students left on or near campus, while still meeting requirements around the management of COVID-19.

In an effort to provide guidance and information to universities serving students during this time, CBORD has scheduled a free webinar discussing ideas and best practices to manage dining operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The webinar -- originally held Thursday, March 19 -- has been recorded and made available in on-demand fashion. Registration for the FREE recorded webinar is available here.

“Extraordinary times like these have a way of bringing people together. We are actively engaging with our customers and partners to leverage our combined technologies and operational capabilities to better serve students and communities in need," says Jim Hoefflin, president of CBORD & Horizon Software. "It is wonderful to see all of these organizations and institutions pull together for the greater good.”

Webinar attendees will hear information on the following concerns:

Attendees will also learn about measures being taken by Grubhub to help campuses deploy meal ordering options for both pickup and delivery, and enabling students to utilize unused flex or dining dollars to purchase meals in their communities.

The webinar will also include updates on measures being taken by Swipe Out Hunger.

CBORD will also post relevant information for both dining operations and on-campus housing as it’s available on a continuous basis, as well as responding to campus concerns directly.

Universities and high schools in the state of Arizona could start printing suicide prevention hotlines on student ID cards as soon as next year. The state recently passed new legislation from the Senate Education Committee that would require the contact information to be printed on all newly issued student ID cards.

Senate Bill 1446 would take effect July 1, 2021 but would not require students who already have IDs to replace them for a new one. Following the lead of other states across the country, the bill would require high schools and universities in the state of Arizona to add contact information for suicide prevention resources, local crisis centers or emotional support services onto newly issued ID cards.

According to a report from The Patch, the bill has already passed the Committee unanimously and is set to be heard by the full Arizona Senate.

"I think it's really important to make our young people aware of the resources that are available to them," said Sen. Sean Bowie, D-Phoenix, the sponsor of the bill. "If they are struggling and need some help, there is a free number on the back of their ID cards that they can turn to and that they can call if they do need support."

Bowie said several districts across the state of Arizona are already printing suicide prevention resources on their issued ID cards, but there's no reason not to do so statewide.

Arizona would join Wisconsin, California, and Nebraska in moving to a statewide ID card mandate, while select universities in other states have decided on their own to print suicide prevention and mental health resources on campus cards.

HID Global has revealed HID Signo, the company's new line of access control readers. The Signo line greatly simplifies system deployment and management, and is designed to set organizations up for smarter, more connected access control.

To boost versatility, the readers are interoperable with over a dozen physical and mobile credential formats enabling campuses to use their technology of choice and easily migrate to the latest solutions at their own pace. The readers also boast support for Apple's Enhanced Contactless Polling (ECP) to enable Student IDs in Apple Wallet, HID Signo is driving the next wave of flexibility and convenience with mobile access.  

“With the industry now seeking to use access control systems as a backbone for creating intelligent environments, consultants, integrators and end users are increasingly demanding more versatile, high performance solutions,” says Harm Radstaak, Vice President and Managing Director of Physical Access Control Solutions, HID Global.

HID Signo is built on an open platform and delivers on our commitment to innovation with its unprecedented flexibility and robust set of forward-looking features that optimize workplace experiences," adds Radstaak. "Our goal is to put more choices in the hands of our customers and give them peace of mind in knowing they can continually adapt their systems as requirements change.”

HID’s new readers are packed with features, including automatic surface detection that recalibrates and optimizes read performance based on the mounting location. And for rugged, outdoor performance the readers are IP65 rated, and feature a capacitive touch keypad resistant to harsh weather conditions.

The Signo line also enables administrators to remotely configure and diagnose readers, as well as monitor status through a centrally managed and connected reader ecosystem. Reader configuration can be further streamlined through the controller via the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP). Additional features packed into the Signo reader family include:

HID’s novel approach to access control also lays the foundation for a future of cloud-connected systems that will enable new applications and innovative capabilities, such as the ability to proactively anticipate and address system issues before they occur,” adds Radstaak.

Delivering multi-layered security with built-in support for OSDP Secure Channel and HID’s proven Security Identity Object technology, the readers store cryptographic keys on certified EAL6+ secure element hardware and custom authentication keys can be used to further enhance security.

HID is hosting a free webinar on April 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST to cover all the ins and outs of Signo. Attendees will get a comprehensive overview of the entire new access reader line and discover how HID Signo is providing new options in campus access control.

This week at its annual client conference, Transact announced a new collaboration with HID Global that will enable Transact Mobile Credential to be accepted on HID physical access control readers. Transact Mobile Credential supports student IDs in Apple Wallet and Google Pay, and enables students to use their mobile device to secure access to campus facilities and residence halls, as well as payments for dining, laundry, vending, and retail.

In the future, students using Transact Mobile Credential will simply present their NFC-enabled devices to HID readers to gain secure access to campus buildings.

“We are excited to join forces with HID Global for clients to preserve their investments in their already established physical access control readers on campus,” says David Marr, CEO of Transact. “This collaboration speaks to our company’s commitment to openness as well as delivering elegant and frictionless solutions that leverage our clients’ current infrastructure.”

The agreement will enable current and prospective Transact Mobile Credential campuses to choose physical access control hardware from HID. Additionally, most installed HID readers can be field-upgraded to support Transact Mobile Credential.

“Higher education institutions have been one of the first to truly embrace all of the benefits that mobile access control offers,” says Harm Radstaak, Vice President and Managing Director of Physical Access Control Solutions, HID Global. “Working with Transact underscores HID’s dedication to providing colleges and universities with flexibility and choice to easily incorporate mobile access control into their infrastructure.”

Reportedly, HID's iCLASS SE and multiCLASS SE readers shipped from 2013 forward are firmware upgradeable to support Transact Mobile Credential. The newly revealed Signo line of access readers from HID will also support Transact Mobile Credential.

"This is great news for our clients with HID door access devices on campus," says Jeff Staples, VP of New Market Development at Transact. "Our approach to credentials, including mobile credentials, has been focused on delivering a ubiquitous user experience across all use cases, with a deference to supporting existing NFC-capable devices wherever possible."

The agreement is specifically for the Transact Mobile Credential, and legacy HID cards that have already been issued on campus – or are issued in the future – will continue to be supported. "Institutions can continue supporting existing HID cards, while introducing the ability to deploy Transact Mobile Credential without having to disrupt their cardholder population," explains Staples.

The value for campuses interested in a move to Mobile Credential is evident, with many institutions leveraging HID hardware across campus.

"Our client base is diverse and we work with a number of access control solutions on campuses – including our own solution – and our clients using third-party solutions have typically leveraged the card as the point of integration," says Staples. "In our market research and client discussions we’ve identified dozens of clients and prospects with sizable HID deployments, and based on the overwhelmingly positive response to this news, I suspect we’ll hear from even more in the coming weeks."

"We have been shipping Transact devices with NFC capability since 2010, and as a result our clients have been preparing for Mobile Credential for a decade," adds Staples. "This breakthrough makes it possible for those with compatible HID readers to leverage that investment and focus on delivering that consistent experience for students everywhere on campus."

CR80News is constantly looking for leads, stories, and experiences from within the industry, and there's nobody better than our own readership to contribute! Whether a university professional in the card office, auxiliaries, or IT, or a vendor serving the campus card industry, we want to hear from you!

Has your campus embarked on a card technology upgrade or migration? Implemented something new? Created its own unique solution to solve a challenge? We want to hear about it!

Take the lead on writing the article yourself, let one of your student employees or staff get creative, or pass the work to our editorial team... it's up to you! We simply want to share your successes with the 6,000-plus higher ed professionals eager to learn more about what's happening in their industry.

Email your article idea, case study, or project to us at [email protected], and share your experiences with your fellow campus card professionals!

Public schools and universities in the state of Wisconsin now have an official date that they will be required to issue student IDs featuring suicide prevention hotline numbers. The student ID card measure, which has been in process for some time, was made final this week after Governor Tony Evers signed the bill into law.

According to the official bill transcript, the mandate takes full effect July 1, 2020 and applies to any institution of higher education in the state that issues ID cards to students.

A report from The Badger Herald suggests that the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Wiscard will take the bill a step beyond just suicide prevention by also including contact info for the Rape Crisis Center and UWPD. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is expected to have updated card designs ready for the new WisCards by March 15. State legislature has set a deadline of June 2020 for the rest of the schools in the state.

As laid out in the bill, institutions "shall include on each identification card issued to a student the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or one of its affiliate crisis centers or, if the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ceases operations, another national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day and 7 days a week."

Universities in Wisconsin also have the option to include on their campus card any of the following information:

  1. A statement that the text-based emotional support service of the Crisis Text Line may be accessed by texting HOPELINE to 741741.
  2. Instructions for contacting a text-based state or national organization that provides free support to individuals in crisis 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
  3. The telephone number for a local suicide prevention hotline, which can be either printed on the student identification cards, or affixed to cards via a sticker that contains the information.

With regards to any potential recarding efforts, the bill does state that any university that "has a supply of unissued identification cards that do not comply with the requirements may continue issuing cards from the supply until the supply is depleted."

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