Health & Safety

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

Reporting a Case of COVID-19

Any member of the university community who tests positive for COVID-19 should promptly notify the UNL Public Health Advocacy Team at or via text message at 402-266-6865.

See the Positive Case Reporting page for more detail on reporting a case.

Report positive test: By Email By Text Message

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 six 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.

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 (iOS, Android, or web version) 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 students are required to sign our Spring 2021 Cornhusker Commitment. Students should also complete the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Training.

All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to receive a flu vaccination if you have not already done so. Flu vaccinations are available free for students at the University Health Center.

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

If You’ve Been Exposed to the Coronavirus

If you believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus, get tested.

Close contact exposure occurs when an individual was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. As long as face masks are worn and six feet of physical distancing is maintained, being in the same classroom as someone who tests positive for COVID-19 does not constitute close contact.

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

If you feel sick with any of the symptoms of COVID-19, get tested. You may also want to contact your health care provider, the University Health Center 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. Your health care provider should provide you with guidance on your immediate next steps.

If, after contacting your health provider (or the University Health Center), you need to get tested for COVID-19, or if you simply want to be tested, register for a same-day appointment at the UNL On Demand Nasal-Based COVID-19 Testing Site.

If you are unable to use the free UNL on-campus COVID-19 testing site, there are additional testing sites in the Lincoln area. Each site varies and appointments and payment may be required. You are encouraged to contact the testing site to confirm what you will need to do prior to receiving a test.

During this period, members of the UNL community should be more cautious than usual. You should contact a health care provider and 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.

  • Follow quarantine protocols to prevent spreading any potential illness to others.
  • Students living in UNL residential facilities should familiarize themselves with the Quarantine and Isolation guidelines on the University Housing website.
  • If living in a group environment, review the group quarantine guidelines.
  • You should contact your instructor(s)/supervisor to make sure they know you are self-quarantining and discuss any needs you may have during this time period.

Learn about COVID-19 and its symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control.

Campus Preparation

  1. University Operations has designed and built free-standing large capacity hand-sanitizer dispenser stations that are 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. During the academic year, high-touch points in high-traffic student and public use areas are being 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. UNL Environmental Health and Safety has developed a cleaning procedure guide, Cleaning and Disinfection – SARS-COV-2 Risk Mitigation (pdf).
  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; 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 to help ensure a safe campus environment.

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 six 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.

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 COVID-19 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.