Information for Instructors / Researchers

This page contains information related to your role as an instructor and/or researcher at the university. For additional information pertaining to all who are employed at the university, please see the Information for Employees page.

Required Re-Entry Testing

As we came back to campus for the Fall semester, at the directive of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, we conducted one round of required campus re-entry saliva-based testing between August 15 and 22 for ALL students, faculty and staff, regardless of vaccination status.

After the first round of campus re-entry testing, those who have uploaded their vaccination information to the Vaccination Registry are exempt from weekly saliva-based testing. Similar to this spring, those who can document a recent case of COVID-19 or have a medical exception to saliva testing can also file an exemption from all testing.

Students, faculty and staff who will be on our Lincoln campuses and who have not uploaded their vaccination information to the Registry will be required to participate in several rounds of weekly tests in order to have access to academic buildings and many other campus spaces. The results from these initial rounds of testing will help us determine our testing posture for the remainder of the semester, in close consultation with LLCHD.

Testing and Reporting

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers free COVID-19 testing services. Any member of the university community who receives a positive test report should report their case to the Public Health Advocacy Team. For the health of the university community, please cooperate with any contact-tracing information requests you may receive.

For more information, please refer to our comprehensive resources on Testing, Reporting & Contact Tracing.

Voluntary Vaccine Registry and Fall 2021 Testing

To help us understand the breadth of vaccination rates in our community and more accurately prepare for Fall, we have created a voluntary COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. You must have completed your final dose in order to register.

To help us continue to monitor and prevent any spread of COVID-19 on campus in the Fall, we will again require weekly saliva-based testing for all students, faculty and staff who will be on our Lincoln campuses. Tests will be offered Sunday through Thursday each week and will remain required weekly for those without exemptions, until public health guidance advises that we may be able to pivot to random testing. Those who have provided documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination in the registry will be exempt from weekly testing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not ask about others' vaccination status. Such information is considered private.

Academics & Deadlines

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.

Syllabus Language for Face Coverings in Instructional Spaces Updated

On August 24, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department issued a directed health measure for the use of face coverings indoors. UNL has implemented this requirement in all indoor spaces beginning August 25. Face coverings will be now required in all indoor spaces with some exceptions, including:

When giving a speech, lecture or broadcast to an audience so long as six (6) feet of distancing from other individuals is maintained and only while said speech, lecture or broadcast is being delivered.

Given this guidance, instructors may remove their face covers while delivering lectures so long as they maintain six feet of distance from other individuals in the classroom.

This policy will remain in effect for the duration of the county’s directed health measure, which currently extends to September 30.

Instructors can refer to the Chancellor's August 24 COVID-19 Update to communicate this change with their students. The guidance from the Faculty Senate Syllabus Policy on Face Coverings on what to do in instances of noncompliance should be followed. Instructors should refer students to Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) if they need an accommodation.

Previous syllabus language for face coverings in instructional spaces released in the August 17 Academic Update for Instructors should not be used at this time and will be reevaluated as Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department requirements evolve over the course of the semester.

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

University Libraries

Libraries are open. Learn more about specific library policies on the Libraries and COVID-19 page.

When Students Miss Tests and Project Deadlines

In order to avoid encouraging students to come to class when they are actively ill or potentially infected, you should offer students who are in quarantine/isolation opportunities to make up exams (in-person or remotely) or turn in projects.

Academic Support

It's important to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed. If you have concerns about a student's academic performance, you can raise a red flag or make a referral to the Center for Academic Success and Transition through MyPLAN. CAST has created an easy-to-use resource to help you decide how and when you should use these tools. There's also an option to give kudos to students who are excelling academically. If you have concerns about a student's mental health and well-being, the Behavioral Intervention Team and Counseling and Psychological Services have separate resources that can help.

Graduate Studies Guidelines and Updates

Guidelines for graduate students are available on the Graduate Studies COVID-19 page.

In the Classroom / Lab


Classrooms are equipped with wellness stations and disinfectant for technology equipment at instructor stations.

Research, Travel, & Study Abroad

Research Planning and Continuity for Researchers and Research Groups

The needs of research groups for continuity of operations are many and varied. The Office of Research and Economic Development has created a COVID-19 Research Planning resource to assist researchers in operations and planning through this period.


  • A new Travel Policy has been published, allowing pre-approved domestic and international travel for essential university business for faculty, staff and students. For international travel, submit travel requests well in advance of the purposed travel date to ensure the approval process does not delay travel preparations.
  • For policies regarding use of university vehicles, see the Fleet Management COVID-19 information and FAQ page).
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Since the beginning of this public health crisis, we’ve been answering your questions about how UNL is planning and responding. We’ve compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions on the FAQ / Contact Us page. For questions and answers of specific interest to instructors and researchers, please see the FAQ section Health and Safety in Classes I Teach.

Emails to Instructors / Researchers

This is a list of all messages sent specifically to instructors and researchers. Please see the latest updates page of this site for university-wide messages.