University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes will host a virtual town hall and Q&A Friday at 12 p.m.

According to a press release, the town hall is meant to address UNM's response to the local outbreak of COVID-19.

As of March 25, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said there are at least 112 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, including 48 in Bernalillo County. As a result, Lujan Grisham issued an emergency declaration and closed dozens of nonessential businesses to limit person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus.



UNM has also taken drastic measures to address the outbreak.

Provost James Holloway, executive vice president and chancellor for Health Sciences Paul Roth and senior vice president for finance and administration Teresa Costantinidis will also be in attendance and answer questions.

The Zoom link to call in is https://unm.zoom.us/j/568129772. More ways to participate, including a dial-in line, can be found in UNM Newsroom's article.

As the numbers of confirmed cases grow in New Mexico and across the United States, UNM has taken unprecedented measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The roll out was not entirely smooth.

On March 13, Stokes announced she would "extend spring break" by two weeks. Later that night, a communiqué from provost Holloway said some classes might continue online starting March 23, the original end-date of spring break.

Those contradictory messages elicited an apology from UNM the next day.

Since then, UNM has ratched up its response.

New Mexico's flagship institution went online only on March 19, ending in-person instruction and canceling some classes. That same day, UNM ordered its 2,256 on-campus residents to leave, unless they had nowhere else to go.

Residence Life and Student Housing also promised prorated refunds for students that had to vacate on-campus housing.

On March 24, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling on the provost to allow students to switch to a pass or fail grading option, should they choose it. Holloway subsequently implemented the measure.

The town hall on March 27 was originally scheduled to be a forward-looking conference. It was to be called UNM 2040, as in UNM 20 years from now.

Now — with cases of COVID-19 swelling across the country and the U.S. economy brought to a virtual standstill — what UNM will look like in summer 2020 is more pertinent than in 2040.

Justin Garcia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Just516garc