Health & Safety

Personal Hygiene, Prevention, and Well-being Measures Campus Preparation Testing and Contact Tracing Financial Support and Extension

Personal Hygiene, Prevention, and Well-being Measures

Preventing Illness

All University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) faculty, staff, students, and visitors will consistently practice personal hygiene and prevention measures including:

  • Self-monitoring for symptoms and staying home when ill or after having been exposed to someone known or suspected of having COVID-19.
  • Washing hands thoroughly and often.
  • Refraining from touching the face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Practicing physical distancing, by maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

All UNL faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, and others) will wear facial coverings when indoors on the UNL campus, with a few exceptions, and in keeping with UNL's Face Covering Policy. Facial coverings will also be worn during UNL activities performed outdoors if safe physical distancing and gathering practices are not possible.

As part of this effort, each faculty, staff and student will receive two cloth face masks for use.

  • For faculty and staff, these will be distributed to deans and vice chancellors in early August, and in a couple of weeks you can reach out to your unit leader or department chair for distribution within your group. Instructors may also request a face shield from their department chair.
  • For students, distribution stations will be open on August 10. Pick up details will be forthcoming in a future communication.

Covid screening app logo All are encouraged to self-monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 by using the 1-Check COVID-19 Screening app for iOS and Android developed by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 1-Check COVID-19 enables individuals to privately answer a series of questions and assess their risk of having COVID-19. Then the app issues a “low risk,” “urgent risk” or “emergent risk” assessment and guides users toward possible next steps specific to their needs.

Cornhusker Commitment logo

All UNL faculty, staff, and students will complete training to provide them information on required safety practices and tips for navigating the new normal on campus. All students will be asked to sign our Cornhusker Commitment. We encourage all faculty and staff to voluntarily sign this as well and demonstrate your commitment to the safety of our campus community.

All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to receive a flu vaccination in the fall. The University Health Center has ordered over 6,000 doses and will be holding flu clinics conveniently located across the campus for students.

All will participate in testing and contact tracing as necessary and directed under prescribed protocols.

If You’ve Been Exposed to the Novel Coronavirus

If you believe you have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, contact the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. A hotline has been established for self-reporting, guidance and next steps.

Call 402-441-8006 or visit the Health Department website.

Additional information and guidance regarding exposure, prevention and treatment is available through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control.

If You Feel Sick

Contact your health provider or the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Coronavirus Hotline: 402-441-8006. Some providers may be able to offer telemedicine; UNL faculty and staff may have access to Teladoc, for example. The University Health Center is now available to faculty and staff members as an acute care option.

The State of Nebraska has initiated TestNebraska, a coronavirus testing program, for which you can register. You can also learn about COVID-19 and its symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control.

During this period, members of the UNL community should be more cautious than usual. You should stay home if you have symptoms (coughing, fever, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or if you are otherwise feeling ill. Students living in UNL residential facilities should familiarize themselves with the Quarantine and Isolation guidelines on the University Housing website.

If You've Traveled to Areas of Widespread Transmission, Self-Quarantine

Based on guidance from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, we ask any student, faculty or staff who may be returning from travel in areas with widespread transmission of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Campus Preparation

  1. University Operations has designed and built free-standing large capacity hand-sanitizer dispenser stations that will be strategically located in high-traffic areas throughout campus. Each station holds three gallons of hand sanitizer that is being produced at Nebraska Innovation Campus. University departments can request free hand sanitizer in smaller volume containers through a newly established Marketplace website.
  2. University Communication has developed a COVID-19 Signage collection for all campus units’ use on public hygiene topics such as signs and symptoms of COVID-19, reminders to stay home when ill, elevator etiquette, and more.
  3. High-touch points in high-traffic student and public use areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice a day. Custodial and building systems employees have received training specifically related to COVID-19 and are following strict policies while conducting work in occupied spaces.
  4. Heating and Air Conditioning systems in all UNL facilities are designed and maintained in accordance with ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards. UNL air handling systems have been designed to recirculate outside air at a rate above the ASHRAE standard; during the fall semester, to ensure campus safety, Facilities is increasing taking in outdoor air to double the standard. Filters in all air handling systems are, per ASHRAE recommendation, being shifted from the MERV 8 standard (efficient for capturing dust) to MERV 13 (efficient for capturing viral particles). Facilities will continue to monitor recommendations from CDC, ASHRAE and other expert agencies and adjust accordingly. See more on the site FAQ.
  5. All are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting in areas that are not public, particularly those with limited service by custodial staff (e.g. laboratories, offices, residence hall bedrooms, etc.).

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has created an online resource of COVID-19 signage options that departments and units can use as part of the return to on campus instruction for the fall semester.

Learn more about COVID-19 signage

Distancing, Density Reduction and Air Handling

All university activities, wherever they are performed (classrooms, labs, research facilities, extension offices, etc.), are expected to maintain physical distancing requirements of 6 feet between participants unless an exemption has been approved in advance.

All units are required to identify a person to serve as the COVID-19 site supervisor to document workplace COVID-19 prevention measures and review them with unit personnel. COVID-19 supervisors should use the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan Template form or an alternative equivalent to facilitate this review and communication process.

Requests to have space(s) assessed for proper physical distancing can be made by unit supervisors on the Space Assessment Request form. These requests may include assistance with laying out a seating arrangement to ensure physical distancing guidelines are met, guidance with directional traffic flow and other non-project related inquiries for physical distancing assessment within a building.

Building coordinator requests to establish directional traffic flow in and outside of buildings in order to reduce congestion and enable physical distancing can be made by contacting the University Operations Service Desk at 402-472-1550.

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. Facilities will continue with ongoing, established air handling maintenance (e.g., cleaning, inspection, filter changes, etc.).

See more under the Safety In University Facilities heading on the COVID-19 site FAQ.

Testing and Contact Tracing

All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to self-monitor for and report symptoms of COVID-19 by using the 1-Check COVID-19 screening app (iOS and Android) developed by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 1-Check COVID-19 enables individuals to privately answer a series of questions and assess their risk of having COVID-19. Then the app issues a “low risk,” “urgent risk” or “emergent risk” assessment and guides users toward possible next steps specific to their needs.

For symptomatic individuals or those who desire testing, we will be providing testing through a partnership with TestNebraska and the University Health Center. Additional testing will also be available when a high-risk population has been identified and testing will help to mitigate risks to the broader campus community. Through our partnership, a designated site for testing will be established on our UNL campus. Additional information, including hours available, will be provided prior to the start of classes.

Process when students, faculty, or staff test positive

In coordination with Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department, processes are being developed for contact tracing, isolation, and eventual return to work. The health department has approved a process for isolation and quarantine for students who live on campus. Off campus students, faculty, and staff will isolate at their residence under health department supervision.

Contact tracers will identify people who have been in close contact with a person testing positive and direct a 14-day quarantine period. As long as face masks are worn and the six-foot physical distancing is maintained, being in the same classroom as someone who tests positive does not constitute close contact. While instructors will not automatically be notified if a student tests positive, students will be encouraged to contact instructors regarding any assignments or classwork they might miss while in isolation. Employees who test positive are also encouraged to contact supervisors so that work assignments can be adjusted.

Financial Support and Extension

Financial Hardship? Apply for Assistance

Students can apply for several sources of emergency assistance funding, including funding from the federal CARES Act. For more information, see COVID-19 Resources on the website of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

The University of Nebraska Emergency Assistance Fund helps currently enrolled students and university employees (faculty and staff) who face financial hardship resulting from emergency or crisis situations such as natural disasters, home displacement and food insecurity. These circumstances include the COVID-19 crisis that has affected people across the state.

Aid from the fund is awarded by the University of Nebraska president based on need, and applicants may receive up to $1,000 per calendar year. If you have any questions, contact the university at or call 402-472-2111.

Help Support Students

Student Affairs maintains several funds through the NU Foundation to help support students' non-academic needs. Please consider supporting the UNL Student Hardship Fund, the UNL Food Pantry Fund, and the UNL Student Care and Well-Being Fund. Find out more on Student Affairs’ Help Support Students page.

Information on all UNL and university system funds related to the Coronavirus pandemic can be found on the NU Foundation website.

Extension Supports Nebraskans

Nebraska Extension is providing resources and information aligned with the university’s statewide outreach mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources on Extension's Disaster Education website.