Chancellor outlines testing plans for fall semester

· 4 min read

Chancellor outlines testing plans for fall semester

Remote working option, travel restrictions extended
All masked up, students make lunch selections in the Cather Dining Center earlier this summer. In a July 23 email, Chancellor Ronnie Green outlined a number of safety protocols — including the use of facial coverings — that the university community will follow in the fall semester.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
All masked up, students make lunch selections in the Cather Dining Center earlier this summer. In a July 23 email, Chancellor Ronnie Green outlined a number of safety protocols — including the use of facial coverings — that the university community will follow in the fall semester.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln plans for a return to on-campus, in-person instruction this fall include offering COVID-19 testing through a partnership with a state program.

The testing initiative — which will include the state-funded TestNebraska program and the University Health Center — was announced in Chancellor Ronnie Green’s July 23 email to students, faculty and staff. The email included additional details about plans for the fall semester, including workplace guidance, continued restrictions on university-sponsored travel, and an overview on what to do if a member of the campus community tests positive for the virus.

“The last six months have brought an unprecedented level of change as we moved all learning to a remote basis in the spring and as we’ve undertaken the comprehensive, detailed and interconnected planning necessary to safely returning to a level of in-person instruction in the fall,” Green said. “It has been, and continues to be, a herculean task — and our UNL community has delivered.”

The partnership with TestNebraska will include a designated, on-campus site where testing will be completed. It will be open to all students, faculty and staff who are symptomatic or desire testing. Additional details about the TestNebraska site, including hours of operation, will be announced prior to the start of the fall semester.

Testing is currently available on campus through the University Health Center and other local medical facilities.

All faculty, staff and students are also encouraged to use the 1-Check COVID-19 screening app developed by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The app allows users to privately answer questions and assess the risk of having COVID-19. It issues an assessment of risk and guides users toward possible next steps.

The university is continuing to work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to finalize plans for processes for contact tracing, isolation and return to campus after recovery. Details will be announced.

If they test positive, students are encouraged to contact instructors regarding assignments or classwork they may miss while in isolation. Employees who test positive are also encouraged to contact supervisors so work assignments can be adjusted.

Video: The Nebraska On-Campus Experience

Other points in the chancellor’s message include:

  • Through August and until further notice, employees and supervisors are encouraged to continue to follow and allow remote working arrangements when possible. The university continues to allow for the creation of an alternative work arrangement for employees at risk for COVID-19, those who care for someone who is at risk, or anyone who feels unsafe returning to campus.

  • Employees must also follow all safety protocols and departments/units should continue to abide by local health guidance.

  • All university-sponsored international travel is prohibited until further notice and domestic travel outside of Nebraska is highly discouraged. An approval process has been created for university-sponsored domestic travel deemed absolutely necessary.

  • Students are being asked to sign the Cornhusker Commitment, a document that outlines a desire to take steps to protect themselves and the greater community. Faculty, staff and alumni are also encouraged to voluntarily sign the document. Within the first two hours of the chancellor’s message, more than 440, including 270 students, had signed the Cornhusker Commitment.

  • The university will provide two cloth masks to every student, faculty and staff employee. Masks for employees will be distributed in early August via deans and vice chancellors. Instructors can also request clear face shields from department chairs. Student distribution will be available after Aug. 13. Further details will be announced.

  • Protocols to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of the campus community will include changes to HVAC systems university-wide. To mitigate the risk of virus transfer within buildings, facilities employees are increasing by nearly 50 percent the amount of fresh air being drawn into HVAC systems. They are also upgrading filters to more efficiently capture and reduce large and small particles in the air.

  • Students will move into university housing from Aug. 13-16. Move-in will be coordinated by a team from the Devaney Sports Center. Learn more about this process.

  • Starting Aug. 10, campus buildings will be open and accessible as during any other academic year. Mail delivery will also return on Aug. 10.

  • Love Library and the Marvin and Virginia Schmid Law Library will reopen with regular fall semester hours starting Aug. 17. Dunkin’ Donuts in the Adele Hall Learning Commons in Love Library North will reopen Aug. 10.

Additional information regarding campus safety measures and related policies is available on the COVID-19 website.

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