Chancellor outlines COVID-19 protocols for fall semester

· 5 min read

Chancellor outlines COVID-19 protocols for fall semester

Aerial shot of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Chancellor Ronnie Green outlined COVID-19 policies and protocols for the fall 2021 semester at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and highlighted upcoming opportunities for vaccination.

In a campuswide email on Aug. 6, Green announced policies encompassing use of personal protection, vaccinations and required re-entry testing. Green noted that the university is working closely with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to monitor COVID-19 cases in the community, and that policies will be adjusted as necessary.

“We have come so far since the beginning of this global pandemic, but we have not yet completed our journey,” Green said. “The rising infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from the highly transmissible Delta variant, particularly among younger individuals, show that we must remain vigilant as we continue to move forward. And wherever there is a sizable population of unvaccinated individuals, the threat of new, even more deadly variants continues to exist.”

Green encouraged all within the university community to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

“Vaccinations have provided tremendous protection against the risk of serious illness from COVID-19, enough for those fully vaccinated to enjoy much greater freedom of activities,” Green said. “For example, those who upload their vaccination information to our voluntary registry will be exempt from the testing requirements on campus after one round of campus re-entry testing for everyone.”

The COVID-19 announcements and policies for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln community are as follows:

Use of personal protection

Following the policy issued by Ted Carter, University of Nebraska System president, vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks on campus, but are strongly encouraged to do so indoors.

The Centers for Disease Control recently advised fully vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission (which is the current status in Lancaster County). As cases of the Delta variant increase in Nebraska, university leadership will continue to closely coordinate with county health officials and will adapt if needed, should directed health measures change.

Anyone who is unvaccinated remains susceptible to infection, particularly the highly transmissible Delta variant, and is expected to wear a face covering.

There are many who have family members who are unable to be vaccinated. Instructors who face these circumstances (e.g., with family members too young to be vaccinated) may request that face coverings be worn in their classes.

Vaccination opportunities

As the semester begins, the university will be providing a number of opportunities for students, faculty and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Walk-up clinics will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Aug. 15-19 at the Devaney Center. These clinics are open to any member of the university community and are being held in conjunction with the moving check-in for residence halls and sororities.

  • Walk-up clinics will be held on the plazas outside the City and East Campus Unions, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Aug. 25-26.

In addition, the University Health Center will offer walk-up vaccination opportunities during clinic hours starting Aug. 16.

Required re-entry testing/vaccine registry/Safer Community app

At the directive of county health officials, one round of campus re-entry saliva-based testing will be required between Aug. 15 and 22 for all students, faculty and staff who will be on our Lincoln campuses, regardless of vaccination status. Tests may be scheduled through the Safer Community App or online portal. Those who arrive on campus prior to Aug.15 will still need to test during the re-entry window of Aug. 15-22.

After the first round of campus re-entry testing for everyone between Aug. 15-22, those who have uploaded their vaccination information to the registry will be exempt from continued saliva-based testing. Similar to this spring, those who can document a recent case of COVID-19 or have a medical exception to saliva testing will be exempt from all testing, including the re-entry test.

Students, faculty and staff who will be on Lincoln campuses and who have not uploaded their vaccination information to the registry will be required to participate in several rounds of weekly tests in order to have access to academic buildings and many other campus spaces. The results from these initial rounds of testing will help determine the testing posture for the remainder of the semester, in close consultation with county health officials.

Students, faculty and staff can utilize the Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccine Registry to upload vaccine information. By registering vaccination information, individuals will have the opportunity to win a number of weekly prizes during the rest of the summer, many of which have already been awarded. In addition, several grand prizes will be awarded at the beginning of the fall semester. Anyone who registers by Aug. 15 is eligible.

  • Student Grand Prizes - five prizes worth one year of resident undergraduate tuition and fees ($9,872).
  • Faculty/Staff Grand Prize - trip for two to Ireland with the Chancellor and wife, Jane, to watch the Huskers play football against Northwestern in Dublin in August of 2022.

Uploading vaccination information to the registry will also help leadership understand the vaccination rates in the university community. The higher those rates are, the more likely an open environment can be sustained on campus.

Again this fall, the campus community will utilize the Safer Community app to allow for access to campus buildings and campus activities. Those who have uploaded their vaccination information into the registry and have completed the initial round of campus re-entry testing will have a continuous “Access Granted” status in the app until such time as any vaccine boosters may be required.

Those utilizing campus dining halls or Campus Recreation will need to use the Safer Community App for access starting the week of Aug. 16. Indoor welcome back and orientation events will also use the app for access to those activities. Any necessary testing should be timed accordingly.

New students, faculty and staff can download the Safer Community app here.

The university will continue to provide resources for any student who tests positive, including isolation housing and academic support.

More details on these policies and all of our safety measures are available on university’s COVID-19 website.

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