Academic Update for Instructors - 8/17/21

August 17, 2021

The fall 2021 semester begins next week! Are you ready? Information about the return to campus, along with a detailed FAQ, is available at Fall 2021 on Campus.

Wellness attendants will once again be checking the Safer Community App this semester to grant access to select events and academic buildings on campus. Instructors will need to complete their first saliva-based test by Saturday, August 21 to ensure that a negative COVID-19 test result provides for the "Access Granted" status in the app by the first day of classes, Monday, August 23.

Throughout the semester, check Information for Instructors/Researchers for the latest updates, as well as @UNLacademics on Twitter.

Included in this email:

  • Syllabus Language for Face Coverings in Instructional Spaces – new
  • Syllabus Language for Experiential Learning – new
  • Faculty Senate Class Attendance Policy for Fall – new
  • Academic Flexibility for COVID-19 – update
  • When Students Forget Masks – update
  • Libraries Reopen Print Collection – reminder

Syllabus Language for Face Coverings in Instructional Spaces Updated

See the Academic Update for Instructors - 8/25/21 for updated guidance on syllabus language.

In support of UNL's goal of successful, in-person residential education this fall, there are some instances where face coverings may be required or requested in classrooms given the current transmission level of COVID-19 in the community.

  • Colleges/departments may require face coverings for courses if students must work in close physical proximity to one another for extended periods of times.
  • Instructors may receive approval to require face coverings for a documented instructor or student need after submitting a Request to Require Face Covering Form.
  • Instructors may request students join them in wearing face coverings.

Syllabus language for these scenarios has been developed in consultation with Faculty Senate for use by instructors to communicate about face covering expectations with their students. For courses that have been approved by their college dean’s office to require face coverings, instructors must include language on the course syllabus informing students of the requirement and the reason for it. You will receive a notification from your college dean’s office if your course or section has been approved for required face coverings; this notification will include the required syllabus language.

Beyond the particular situations in which a face covering requirement may be approved, an individual instructor may have a preference that face coverings be worn in their class. Instructors may not require, but may ask that students do so. The language below may be used on the syllabus in these instances:

Given current CDC guidance and the current transmission level of COVID-19 in our community, I respectfully request that you join me in wearing a face covering during our classes.

Course Experiences Off-campus Updated

For courses that include travel outside of the classroom, instructors may use this syllabus language:

Student participation in course experiences that take place outside of our classroom will entail the use of the Safer Community app. All participants will need to have “Access Granted” status on the app in order to travel to and participate in such experiences.

Faculty Senate Class Attendance Policy for Fall

Faculty Senate has updated its class attendance policy for the fall 2021 semester to include the following preamble:

Although the attendance policy of the institution remains in effect, faculty are encouraged to not create course policies that incentivize students’ attendance while ill. Thus, for fall 2021 faculty may build in some flexibility in the “Attendance and Engagement expectations” they develop for their courses so that students can be academically successful. Students are advised that some learning cannot be easily moved online or reconstructed outside of the in-person classroom, or that an instructor is required to do so. In the event that absences are accumulating and/or the student feels unable to learn the material, they should consult with their academic adviser or the instructor as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

Academic Flexibility for COVID-19

Students who have medical documentation of a health risk that cannot be mitigated through vaccination should submit a COVID-19 Academic Flexibility Request. Those with a disability and/or chronic health condition that makes them high risk for the virus should seek support via Services for Students with Disabilities. International students should contact the International Student and Scholar Office to discuss their options.

When Students Forget Masks

Disposable masks are available for students who need or want them for class. Instructors can direct students to the following locations for a disposable mask at no cost:

  • City Campus – a self-service wall dispenser in the hall by the west doors of the Nebraska Union or the Nebraska Union Welcome Desk located on the first floor near the north entrance
  • East Campus – the Nebraska East Union Welcome Desk located on the first floor near the north entrance
  • Innovation Campus – at Food Innovation Center, 1901 N 21st Street, Room 232
  • Peter Kiewit Institute – at the reception desk in Room 107

Libraries Reopen Print Collection

Access to the Libraries print collection was reopened on July 12. The emergency temporary access service agreement with HathiTrust has ended.