Campus Guidance

University leaders continue to update campus COVID-19 guidance based on science and public health practices. Updated May 20, 2022.

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Vaccination

UNMC will require all students, staff and faculty to report they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 22, 2021. Learn more about the requirement.

As the more transmissible omicron variant displaces the delta variant as the most dominant strain of the coronavirus, UNMC faculty, staff and students are now expected to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible and to document it in the medical center’s Health Tracking System (faculty/staff) or My Records (students).

A second booster of the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for people over the age of 50, as well as those who are immunocompromised. Learn more about a second booster

UNMC’s expectation to receive a booster currently is not included in the vaccination policy.  However, campus leaders continue to weigh the possibility of requiring vaccine boosters to help reduce transmissibility and ensure the safety of faculty, students and staff, as well as the community and the continuity of our academic, clinical and research operations. The policy may be revised in the future based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and scientific data.


Screening

Effective July 1, 2021, all new incoming/onboarding personnel are required to download the 1-Check UNMC application and use this app each day that they are present on our campuses until they are fully vaccinated. Personnel are also encouraged to upload their CDC-issued COVID vaccination card to the 1-Check app for purposes of mobile documentation.


Asymptomatic Testing

UNMC faculty, staff and students who are not sick and want to be tested for COVID-19 for any reason can do so. This testing is available only to UNMC faculty, staff and students. It is not available to the public.

Saliva testing

Saliva PCR testing is easy — simply spit in a tube — and results are returned by email within a day.

  • Located in Williams Science Hall, level one atrium.
  • Monday through Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • No reservations are needed, but individuals should register online prior to testing. Individuals who have previously registered for saliva testing do not need to re-register.
  • Testing is performed by the UNMC Emerging Pathogens Laboratory.

Nasal swab collection

Nasal swab collection for COVID PCR testing is a simple, painless nasal swab and is not a nasopharyngeal test. Results are returned by email within 24-48 hours.

  • Located in Nebraska Medicine Doctors Building South.
  • A reservation is required, and walk-ins are not allowed. Reserve an appointment.
  • Testing is performed by the Nebraska Public Health Lab.

Testing for campuses outside of Omaha

UNMC faculty, staff and students on campuses outside of Omaha can obtain testing through the following resources. (Details vary per site so please make direct contact for more info):

Kearney campus

Lincoln campus

Norfolk campus

Scottsbluff campus

  • Nomi Health drive-thru testing site near Regional West Medical Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. for rapid testing only. Appointments are preferred but not required. Register here. To schedule an appointment for PCR testing for travel purposes, call 308-436-2101. For symptomatic testing, proceed to Urgent Care at 3011 Avenue B or call 308-630-2100 for COVID-19 questions.
  • Walgreens - Weekday testing available (limited number of spots per day).
  • Urgent Care - Walk-in only so wait time will vary, insurance information needed.
  • Quick Care - Walk-in only so wait time will vary, insurance information needed.

Positive Cases & Exposure

As COVID-19 variants continue to spread, UNMC is committed to following best practices to keep our students and employees safe. UNMC will follow the CDC guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine after a positive test or exposure. Also see the CDC guidelines for healthcare personnel.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, it is recommended that students contact the Student Health clinic serving their campus and employees contact Employee Health at 402-552-3563 and their supervisor for guidance on returning safely to campus.

If you test positive for COVID-19, students should contact Student Health and employees should contact Employee Health (402-552-3563) to report the positive test.


Masks

Effective May 23, 2022, masks must be worn in all areas on the UNMC campus.

UNMC is updating its masking guidance due to a rise in COVID-19 transmission across the state and a sharp increase in the positivity rate for UNMC asymptomatic saliva PCR tests done on the med center campus.

In late April, campus testing yielded a positivity rate of 0.8%. By early May, that had climbed to 9.2%, and mirrors increased positivity rates seen across the state and country.

Nebraska Medicine updated its mask guidance on May 20, noting an increase in both community transmission rates and employee absenteeism.

Effective May 23:

  • Procedural masks (surgical, N95s, KN95s) are required for all UNMC students, staff, faculty and visitors in:
    • Public, common and patient-facing areas across all UNMC campuses. Public and common areas include but are not limited to: Clinics, hallways, elevators, atrium spaces, bathrooms, lounges, open areas in McGoogan Library and dining areas (except while eating); and
    • Non-clinical, non-public areas, including classrooms, and shared office spaces, break rooms, cubicles and conference rooms.
    • All research laboratories, instrument rooms and other support spaces unless they are the only one in that space. Some cores may require masks for all those in the core regardless of the number of users.
  • Although masks are encouraged in all settings, they are not required when alone in an office or room with a closed door, in individual library study rooms, or when eating indoors or outdoors.
  • For conference rooms and auditoria, individuals can unmask if the number in the room is 40% or less of the room capacity and all individuals are socially distanced. Socially distanced room capacities for some rooms are available online.
  • Procedural masks are required in all areas of Nebraska Medicine, including patient-facing and public areas, as well as such nonclinical, nonpublic areas as office spaces, break rooms, cubicles and conference rooms.
  • Masks are required for individuals who have an approved exemption to the vaccine policy. They also may be worn by individuals who are immunocompromised and/or at higher risk of severe disease, as well as those who are more comfortable masking or choose to do so for any other reason.
  • Campus administrators may provide additional restrictions for research specific activities and other unique spaces.

UNMC supervisors, managers or administrators may order disposable surgical/procedural masks via the UNMC Mask Request Form. Departments may continue to order KN95 masks through eSHOP using their own cost center.

The campus community is strongly encouraged to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms daily using the 1-Check UNMC app and get their vaccine boosters as recommended by the CDC.

If you are having symptoms of COVID-19 or flu, stay home and call Employee Health at 402-552-3563 or the Student Health clinic serving your campus.

Reusing a KN95 mask

  • Patient care setting: Facemasks worn during patient encounters may be reused during a single shift but should be discarded at the end of the shift. Nebraska Medicine will supply masks at the entrances to their patient care areas.
  • Non-patient care setting: A disposable facemask can be worn for several hours or up to a few days when stored safely and when not wet or distorted. Masks should no longer be used if soiled, wet, the straps begin to stretch, threads become separated, or the mask begins to lose shape.
  • One study published in the journal Medicine had volunteers wear N95s for eight hours a day and found that the average filtration efficiency of the masks was still 97% after three days of use.
  • If possible, rotate through different masks and keep them in a dry place between uses (ie: a breathable paper bag or an open sandwich baggie).
  • Consult your department for specific guidance as roles, uses and infection control measures vary.
  • Refer to these extended use guidelines for additional details.

Mask Extenders

Mask extenders (also known as ear savers) prevent the elastic straps of your mask from making your ears sore from prolonged use. UNMC has a limited number of mask extenders that it plans to distribute to each college/unit.

If you have access to a 3D printer, you may print your own mask extenders. Learn more about 3D printing mask extenders.


Return to work

Guidance relevant to the return of personnel to on-campus work is currently information available on the COVID-19 website.


Research

With recent improvement in community COVID-19 cases and changes in overall UNMC guidance, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) has provided the following research-specific COVID guidance (effective 3/4/22):

  • Masks are required inside all buildings, including research buildings, laboratories and associated research spaces. You must use a surgical, KN95, or N95 face mask. Masks may only be removed while eating in a designated space or when alone in an office with the door shut.
  • International scholar applications are now being accepted by the Office of Global Engagement.
  • Research volunteers are allowed. The unit director and the leader of any other organization where activities occur, such as Children’s Hospital & Medical Center or other community organizations, must approve of volunteers. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated (booster is highly recommended). No exemptions will be allowed. Volunteers must follow UNMC masking guidance and policies, and mentors and supervisors must actively orient and supervise research volunteers on-site.
  • Principal investigators are encouraged to oversee their research team activities on-site for their team’s wellbeing, safety, and appropriate oversight of research activities.
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) students are expected to be in person. SURP students must be fully vaccinated (booster is highly recommended). No exemptions will be allowed. SURP students must follow UNMC masking guidance and policies, and should be actively oriented and monitored in person while on campus.
  • Data safety monitors should continue to conduct work remotely whenever possible. When required on-site for study initiation, closure, or required time points, monitors must be masked and escorted, and follow all applicable UNMC/Nebraska Medicine policies.

Contact research@unmc.edu with any research-specific questions. For general COVID questions, contact healthsecurity@unmc.edu.


Teaching

UNMC continues to recognize the high value of in-person learning and encourage in-person instruction. We remain flexible regarding remote learning where it does not significantly impact the educational goals. Students who have questions or concerns should contact the college administrative official responsible for that course.

  • Faculty members who have been teaching remotely are encouraged to return to in-person learning and should discuss options with their supervisor.
  • Lecturers should wear masks unless it significantly interferes with their ability to be heard or understood. If no mask is worn to optimize the learning environment, lecturers must have at least six feet distance from others.
  • Clinical and laboratory courses and experiences will continue in person, all using appropriate PPE consistent with the clinical best practices.
  • Clinical rotations for health science students will continue, with students complying with COVID regulations of that clinical environment.
  • Questions from faculty, staff, or students regarding the status of a particular course should contact the college administrative official responsible for that course.

UNMC is utilizing multiple layers of non-pharmaceutical interventions including masking, vaccination, good hand hygiene and self-monitoring for symptoms using the tool 1-Check UNMC app.


Travel

Based on the widespread activity of COVID-19 across every state in the U.S. and recent CDC revisions to travel guidance, UNMC is issuing new guidance for domestic travel in order to further protect all employees and students.

Domestic travel

UNMC will follow the CDC guidelines regarding domestic travel during COVID-19.

Essential domestic travel outside of Nebraska must be pre-approved for students, faculty and staff. In addition to pre-trip approval using the Concur software program, additional pre-trip approval by the immediate supervisor is required for all domestic travel and is limited to essential university-related business. Because all university travel is contingent upon the traveler agreeing to comply with all guidance, supervisors are not responsible for knowing the traveler’s vaccination status for the approval process and should not ask travelers about such status.

Each traveler is required to monitor their destination’s situation carefully.

International travel

Effective May 23, 2022, UNMC is returning to pre-COVID-19 operations for processing international travel requests for faculty, staff and students on university-sponsored business.

Faculty and staff must submit a travel request in Concur prior to booking travel. Students should notify Education Abroad of their intent to travel.

UNMC, as a part of the University of Nebraska system, adheres to the policy outlined in Executive Memorandum No. 25 and requires prior approval for international travel to higher risk locations (as identified by the CDC and U.S. Department of State travel notices and advisories). Travelers will be notified after they submit their Concur travel request if their destination is considered higher risk and additional information is needed.

For any university-sponsored international travel, the following process takes place:

  • Faculty/staff submits their travel request in Concur. Students notify Education Abroad of their intent to travel.
  • Following supervisor and financial approvals, the Office of Global Engagement (OGE) will conduct an initial risk assessment and will inform the traveler if their destination is considered higher risk.
  • Informed travelers submit an online travel petition to be reviewed by the UNMC International Travel Review Committee.
  • After review, OGE will forward the petition to the Chancellor’s Office with a “recommended” or “not recommended” classification.
  • Chancellor approves or denies the petition and cleared travel will receive final approval through Concur. Students will receive an approval notification through Education Abroad.

For more information and resources, visit the OGE travel website or email internationaltravelunmc@unmc.edu

Study abroad

Study abroad programs remain prohibited.


Parking

All students, faculty, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine employees on campus are now expected to park in their designated/assigned parking lots.  Employees returning to work on campus, who have been working off site, will be eligible for reinstatement to their previous parking assignment, subject to availability. Such reinstatement must be applied for within 30 days after a return to campus or the space may be forfeited.


Gatherings

  • The capacity of the room should be considered when planning an in-person gathering. Considerations should be made for appropriate social distancing, adequate ventilation and, if possible, a virtual option for individuals who choose this option. In-person gatherings where masking is not required should adhere to the socially distanced room capacity or 40% of the normal room capacity. Socially distanced room capacities for the Omaha campus are available online.
  • Food (packaged or unpackaged) is permissible at indoor gatherings if the social distancing guidelines above are met.
  • Gatherings held off campus should follow these same guidelines.
  • Food may continue to be served at outdoor gatherings.
  • This replaces the previous pilot program for gatherings with food.

Gatherings that do not adhere to these criteria are discouraged and require an event safety plan. Events that adhere to these criteria do not require an event safety plan.


Food

Food for indoor gatherings must be to-go options only. Food may continue to be served at outdoor gatherings.


Accommodations

Requests from faculty and staff for accommodations related to COVID-19 will be handled through the University’s existing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations process. Please contact the UNMC HR Employee Relations office if you have a COVID-19 workplace accommodation question or request. More information about this process can be found at the UNMC ADA Request for Accommodations webpage.

Enrolled students with disabilities that qualify for accommodation under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) can find additional information regarding Services for Students with Disabilities online. Please contact the Accessibility Services Center by email at unmcasc@unmc.edu with questions.


Recreation

In addition to existing recreational opportunities available through the Center for Healthy Living on the Omaha campus, the following are permitted effective May 26, 2021:

  • Gymnasium pickup games of 5 on 5 basketball, 5 X 5 futsal, and 6 X 6 volleyball, as well as other activities at the discretion of CFHL staff. Masks are no longer required for participation by fully vaccinated individuals. Participants, as well as spectators, who are not yet fully vaccinated should continue to mask or should decline to participate.
  • Intramural summer outdoor sports of golf, pickleball, soccer, softball, bocce ball and cornhole.
  • CFHL’s equipment may be checked out at the front desk and returned for disinfection before the next usage.
  • Similar activities are permitted on campuses outside of Omaha as long as they are not prohibited by host institutions (UNL, UNK, WNCC, NECC).
  • Fully immunized member guests are permitted to utilize campus recreational facilities effective May 25, 2021.

Recreational opportunities continue to be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis. We will endeavor to increase these opportunities while continuing to follow CDC guidance. See up-to-date information on recreational opportunities on the Omaha campus. For information relevant to other campuses, please contact the appropriate recreational entities.


Visitors

Visitors, volunteers and vendors will be allowed on the UNMC campus based on the following guidelines:

  • The host unit should escort the visitor(s) and ensure they follow all campus guidelines.
  • Masks are required for visitors, volunteers and vendors except when eating.

Have Questions?

UNMC has established a multidisciplinary Vaccine Support Team to answer questions about vaccinations or any COVID policy-related questions. Email your questions to healthsecurity@unmc.edu.