Campus Guidance

University leaders continue to update campus COVID-19 guidance based on science and public health practices. Updated Nov. 11, 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. 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. Hours for both testing locations are 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Mondays and Wednesdays in the Williams Science Hall, level one atrium.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays on the third floor between the Durham Outpatient Center and the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center (by the Z elevators).
  • 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

  • UNK Student Health office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. COVID testing is available at no cost if indicated (symptoms/exposure). For travel and if not indicated, there is a charge ($75). Appointments preferred, and seen first, but walk-ins are always welcome. For more information, contact UNK Student Health at 1-308-865-8279 or email UNKHealth@unk.edu.

Lincoln campus

Norfolk campus

  • Testing remains available at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk. Questions? Contact UNMC’s Kristi Brummels at kristi.brummels@unmc.edu.

Scottsbluff campus

  • Walgreens, Quick Care and Urgent Care offer COVID testing and will bill the student or employee's insurance. 

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 for healthcare personnel regarding isolation and quarantine after a positive test or exposure.

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

Beginning Sept. 26, 2022, UNMC updated its COVID-19 guidance in response to several weeks of lower COVID-19 risk levels across the state, fewer employees and students reporting COVID-19 infections and the availability of COVID-19 bivalent boosters.

UNMC leaders continue to monitor local case counts and will modify its guidance as needed.

  • Masking is recommended but optional in non-clinical settings, including research and administration areas, on UNMC campuses (including, but not limited to, classrooms, cubicles, conference rooms, study rooms, breakrooms, hallways, elevators and other common areas).
  • Masking is strongly recommended when performing research procedures that require two or more people to be in close contact for prolonged periods of time.
  • Masking will still be required for some clinical simulation and training experiences.
  • Masking and social distancing are recommended but optional for UNMC gatherings. Safety event plans for gatherings are no longer required.
  • In non-clinical settings on UNMC campuses, masking is strongly recommended for visitors, vendors and individuals with an approved exemption to the vaccine policy.

What’s not changing:

  • Masks will continue to be required for all students, staff, faculty, visitors, vendors and individuals with an approved exemption to the vaccine policy in buildings and spaces that include patient care areas and in common areas accessed by patients. Buildings with patient care areas include but are not limited to the Munroe-Meyer Institute, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Lied Transplant Center, Poynter Hall, Durham Outpatient Center, University and Clarkson Towers and UNMC dental clinics.
  • Symptomatic individuals, regardless of immunization status, should mask and report to the Employee Health clinic, Student Health clinic or personal health care provider as appropriate. These individuals should remain at home and continue to mask until cleared by one of these clinics.

In research areas:

  • Masks are required when conducting research in any clinical area and when conducting any face-to-face clinical research (unless outdoors).
  • Masks may continue to be required by some shared facilities (including cores and comparative medicine) that have small procedure rooms. Signs will be posted in these areas and communicated to users.
  • Masking continues to be required for specific research activities (such as surgical or other sterile procedures, high biosafety risk, in high-containment spaces) or as required for certain individuals.

As an academic health sciences center, UNMC asks people to remain respectful of anyone who continues to mask in order to minimize their risk. Masks are recommended for 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. 

Monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 is strongly recommended. Download the free 1-Check UNMC app — created exclusively for the UNMC community — to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms. See details.

Testing for COVID-19 remains an important tool in the med center’s COVID-19 response. The saliva testing site at Williams Science Hall also incorporates testing for Influenza A and B.

UNMC will continue to monitor data for its campuses and communities to inform its COVID-19 response and adjust as needed, which may include further reduction in COVID-19 precautions or requiring masks in non-clinical spaces if warranted.

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 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, the Office of Global Engagement 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 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

Masking and social distancing are recommended but optional for UNMC gatherings. Safety event plans for gatherings are no longer required.

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.