Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve responded to your questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will continue to do so. For your convenience, answers to frequently asked questions are listed below.
Health and Safety on Campus
Are face coverings required?All unvaccinated members of our campus community are expected to wear face coverings when indoors and when social distancing cannot be observed outside. Learn more about UNL's face covering policy.
Why are we expecting unvaccinated people to wear face coverings?We respect and care for ourselves and every person that we encounter on campus. That’s why we expect those who are unvaccinated to wear face coverings – to protect ourselves and others.
How are we enforcing face coverings?The reason we wear masks is to protect ourselves and others. If an individual who has voluntarily disclosed that they are unvaccinated does not wear a face covering in a setting where one is required, they will be asked to put one on. Any employee, student or visitor who has voluntarily disclosed that they are unvaccinated refuses to wear a facemask may be asked or directed to leave the campus space. Employees and students who are directed to leave a campus space due to refusal to wear a face covering may be taken off duty and/or be subject to disciplinary action.
Is COVID-19 testing available on campus? Are you providing tests to all students?
To create the safest possible environment at Nebraska, we're offering minimally invasive, voluntary saliva-based testing for COVID-19, and pairing it with a new app called Safer Community. Learn more about testing.
How does social distancing work for residence hall rooms?One or two students are assigned per bedroom. All beds are placed 6-feet apart, head-to-head. Roommates are encouraged to discuss their risk tolerance in relation to COVID-19. This includes vaccination status, visitors, and use of shared items/spaces.
How does social distancing work in the halls themselves?Students who are not fully vaccinated are expected to maintain 6-feet of social distancing from others and wear a face covering in the residence hall unless in their assigned room.
My roommate may have COVID-19 but has not been tested. What should I do?If your roommate is symptomatic, you should encourage them to get tested or see a medical provider. You should closely monitor yourself for symptoms. If your roommate tests positive, they must isolate by moving to a dedicated university isolation facility. You should begin to quarantine for 10 days and closely monitor for symptoms.
My roommate tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?If a roommate tests positive, you should quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If you develop symptoms, you should isolate and seek medical consultation.
A person I came into contact with has tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?Contact tracers from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will alert you if there is a concern regarding exposure to the virus. If social distancing and facial covering protocols are being followed, exposure should be limited. If you had close contact with the individual (within 6-feet or less for 15 minutes or more), self-quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days. If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and seek medical consultation.
Health and Safety in Classes I Teach
What should I do if a student in my class reports testing positive for COVID-19?Contact tracers from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will alert you if there is a concern regarding exposure to the virus. If social distancing and facial covering protocols are followed during class sessions, exposure for others would be limited. Unless notified otherwise or if symptoms arise, instruction should continue.
The instructor who teaches in the same room has tested positive for COVID-19. Should I get tested as I use the same lectern?Health officials consider this a low-risk scenario. However, individuals should self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate and seek medical consultation if you become symptomatic.
If I suspect I have COVID-19 and await results from a test, can I still teach my class in-person and who should I tell?If you expect exposure and are awaiting test results, you should pivot to remote instruction and self-quarantine until advised by a medical professional that you can return to a classroom. If you test positive, contact tracers will be initiated to identify those who may have been exposed. You are encouraged to contact a supervisor to let them know that you are being tested and the result.
A member of my household tested positive, can I still teach in-person or do I need to quarantine?If a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, and you are not fully vaccinated, you must teach courses remotely and self-quarantine. If symptoms present, seek medical consultation until advised that you can return to campus.
My child’s daycare provider/teacher tested positive. Can I teach my course in-person?You are only required to self-quarantine if your child becomes symptomatic and you are not fully vaccinated.
I’ve been notified that a student will be in self-quarantine. Can I inform other students in the class about the quarantine?No, instructors should never disclose a student’s protected health information to any third party unless the student authorizes it in writing or permits the disclosure. Individuals in quarantine may or may not develop COVID-19. Should an individual test positive, contact tracers will identify and notify persons who may be at risk based on interactions.
A student is in quarantine and will miss an exam. Am I required to allow the student to make up the test?To avoid encouraging students to come to class when actively ill or potentially infected, instructors should offer students in quarantine opportunities to make up exams or take them remotely.
Can I require a student to provide documentation for why they require quarantine or cannot attend in-person instruction?To protect students’ health information, instructors cannot require that students provide written medical excuses. Students are encouraged to notify instructors immediately if an absence is required due to illness or injury. Students should also follow related directions provided in class syllabi.
Health and Safety in University Facilities
Can COVID-19 be transmitted through the HVAC?The following is a statement provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).
Facilities has set HVAC controls in all buildings to balance occupant comfort and adequate introduction of fresh air in accordance with ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards. Facilities will continue to monitor recommendations from CDC, ASHRAE and other expert agencies and adjust the controls accordingly. Facilities will continue with ongoing, established air handling maintenance (e.g., cleaning, inspection, filter changes, etc.).
What is the air exchange rate of my building?Each space within UNL facilities may have different air exchange rates. All buildings that recirculate air are taking in outdoor air to twice the ASHRAE 62.1 standard. Facilities has set HVAC controls in all buildings to balance occupant comfort and adequate introduction of fresh air in accordance with ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards. Facilities will continue to monitor recommendations from ASHRAE and other expert agencies and adjust the controls accordingly.
Is my air filtered?Yes. All centralized HVAC air systems filtering are monitored and maintained on a regular basis. UNL facilities is responding to the change in ASHRAE recommendation to increase filtration from MERV 8 to MERV 13 across campus. This will be only limited by availability of filter media and actual time taken to install the filters.
Are the HVAC systems working properly?HVAC systems are monitored at all times for proper operation. Facility Operations staff are alerted to any critical malfunctions.
Are the HVAC systems serviced regularly?All UNL facilities equipment is serviced and inspected on a regular basis.
Should I open my windows (if they do open)?Please do not open windows for ventilation. Buildings on UNL campus are slightly pressurized, meaning we bring in more fresh air from outside than is exhausted. This ensures that any air leakage (doors, windows, etc.) is outward and that all outdoor air coming into the building passes through air filters and is heated or cooled. This results in improved indoor air quality, reduces energy use, increases comfort, keeps the building cleaner and protects building materials from deterioration. It also ensures that doors latch properly. Due to building pressurization, opening windows will not reliably increase ventilation beyond that already provided by the central system. The University of Nebraska is also located in a geographical region where open windows may draw in hot, humid air or very cold, dry air from outside. Our building HVAC equipment may be unable to maintain optimal indoor temperature and humidity within a comfortable range if windows are left open. Our centralized HVAC systems automatically take advantage of ideal outdoor air conditions and maximize the outdoor air ventilation when possible.
The elevator signage indicates a capacity that will not allow for physical distancing, so what should the capacity be?The elevator etiquette signage indicates the occupancy in terms of “maximum”. The actual number of occupants in an elevator should be such that at least six feet of space are maintained between riders, and in no case exceed four persons. Small elevators may only be able to accommodate one or two riders.
How do we obtain signage for our buildings?University Communications has developed universal signage that can be displayed throughout campus. Links and guidelines can be found on the About COVID-19 Signage page.
Are buses running the same routes?Campus transportation options — from city buses to Zipcar rentals — remain available. Real-time bus locations, ETAs and route availability is available on UNL Maps. Consult Parking & Transit Services' Campus Bus Service page for more information. To meet increased ridership demand while protecting health, plastic covers have been installed on the backs of each seat.
We would like to have a one-time event outside our building; do we need to let anyone know?Yes, to send out notifications for your event and arrange for picnic tables, litter and recycling containers the contact is Carrie Jackson, Assistant Director Reservations/Events (402.472.8167).
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