Return to Campus Guidance

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The guidance is purposefully general as it is recognized that each college and unit will adapt the guidelines to their unique number of students, curricular needs, space, etc. This document should be considered a living document, and reflects our thoughts as of May 29, 2020. The UNMC Campus-Wide Pandemic Mitigation and Response Team and others will continue to work on additional teaching/learning guidelines as we move forward.

Returning Students, Faculty and Staff

Subject to change, in accordance with the current Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services guidance for travelers returning from any travel outside of Nebraska (domestic or international), all UNMC faculty, staff and students (with the exemptions noted below) returning to one of the UNMC campuses after travel within Nebraska or any other U.S. state should self-monitor using the free 1-Check UNMC mobile app (available on Android and iOS devices).

Those evaluated to be at “low COVID risk” can proceed to their campus, following the specific guidance put into place for mitigating risks on that campus (e.g., masks, social distancing, hand hygiene). Anyone returning from travel from any area who feels ill or screens at “moderate COVID risk or high COVID risk” on the app should stay home and contact their health care provider. All students, faculty and staff returning from international travel also are advised to use the mobile device application and will need to continue to observe a full 14-days of self-quarantine.

If required to go into self-quarantine or self-isolation due to international travel or symptoms, the individual must notify campus Employee Health or Student Health, as appropriate, for a standardized wellness screening and/or testing prior to returning to campus for any reason.

For this reason, international students are advised to come in a minimum of a full two weeks prior to the beginning of classes unless they fit the exemptions below. All other students going from home or from one campus to another within Nebraska or from any other state should self-screen using a COVID mobile app that can evaluate risk (on Android and iOS devices) and give evidence based directions as to next steps to take. Those evaluated to be at low risk can proceed to their campus, following the guidance put into place for mitigating risks on that campus.


Students, staff, faculty, residents and fellows who are uncomfortable in returning to campus for any reason and specifically those considered to be in a “highly vulnerable group” due to age, associated comorbidity or other factors should communicate their concern. All such communication will be confidential. Students or their health care providers should reach out to either their dean or a designated campus official. Faculty and staff or their health care providers should reach out to their dean, supervisor or the designated campus official.

Students, staff, faculty, residents and fellows who are involved in providing direct patient care (full-time or part-time) or support for patient care, including students participating in clinical education rotations at Nebraska Medicine, Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha and other clinical care delivery settings are expected to follow the rules set by the respective clinical institution or clinical unit.

Who to Notify

If required to go into self-quarantine or self-isolation due to international travel, symptoms or confirmed illness, the individual must notify Employee Health or Student Health, and the local county health department as appropriate for a standardized wellness screening and/or testing prior to returning to work or campus for any reason.


General campus guidelines

Returning to campus safely and staying safe will require the cooperation and persistent effort of every member of the UNMC community. Several general guidelines should be considered as we return to campus in pursuit of UNMC’s academic mission. Foremost, safety and disease mitigation will be enhanced by reducing the frequency of interpersonal interactions, as well as the number of individuals involved in any given interaction, and in any given space. Faculty and staff who can effectively work from home and whose jobs do not require them to be physically present on campus should do so. Students should not return to campus for the sole purpose of studying or gatherings, in order to continue social distancing, unless they have permission from their respective dean or their designee.

With this in mind:


Campus controls

To support social distancing, each UNMC campus is developing strategies to assist with the flow of individuals on campus, particularly in high traffic areas. These administrative controls include: the distribution of written plans, designation of entrances and exits for specific buildings, use of badge access, appropriate signage and floor markings to indicate appropriate distancing and traffic flow, EVS scheduling for room cleaning, expansion of hours, encouraging personnel to walk on the right in common hallways, increasing transition time between classes, and hand sanitizers at the entrance of each building/classroom/teaching lab.

As weather permits, all individuals are encouraged to traverse outdoors between buildings rather than using tunnels and bridges.


Procedures for return to campus by type of instruction definitions

For purposes of the rest of this guidance, the following definitions will be used:

In-Person teaching refers to teachers and students, or colleagues and peers experiencing educational interactions on-site in the same time and place, attending classes on any of our campuses in the same or connected physical spaces, or attending clinical rotations, simulations (including instructional laboratory experiences for skills education), off-campus field work, internships, or service learning. As noted earlier, learners coming into clinical rotations or experiences will follow the guidance provided by the clinical care delivery organization/unit providing the rotation.

Remote teaching refers to teachers and students, or colleagues and peers instructor-student interactions meeting outside of a physical classroom or teaching /research laboratory synchronously using digital technology at the scheduled times according to the Registrar’s calendar.

Online instruction refers to asynchronous instructor-student interactions using digital technology to make academic content available to students, with students able to interact with each other and the instructor at flexible hours.

Didactic Curricular Content

Clinical Education

It is expected that clinical education will be guided by the policies provided by the clinical setting, with assurance that the setting will have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for the specific levels of risk the learner is being exposed to. Failure to assure this should prohibit the student from attending the clinical experience. However, if a clinical entity or training site requests that students and faculty bring certain components of PPE to their sites to facilitate access to training there, they may do so given that training and the appropriate PPE has been provided by respective program or college, including the proper transportation and disposition of the equipment.

Simulation or Skills Lab Curricular Content

Simulation and skills labs are essential components of health profession education. Under this return to campus guidance, students and faculty can return to campus to engage in small group learning for simulation and skills labs experiences, adhering to the General Administrative Control Guidance listed below. Each college and faculty will need to apply the guidance to their unique learners and learning experiences based on building and space size and other engineering or administrative control features (e.g. The Davis Global Center has its own specific detailed plans in place that will be used to guide use of that building).

General Administrative Control Guidelines

Research Laboratory Curricular Content

For students and faculty involved in laboratory research, strict adherence to social distancing is essential. Other factors for consideration include:

Student Advising and Office Hours 

Student advising and office hours are crucial to our academic mission. These should continue remotely during business hours, and in the case of emergencies, after hours.

Limited access to in-person advising may be allowed with priority given to skills courses that cannot be taught remotely. This should be by appointment when possible.


Experiencing symptoms on campus

Faculty, staff and students who experience any symptoms while on campus, including but not limited to, fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, should stay calm, adhere to social distancing, keep their mask on, and leave the building using the most direct route and closest exit (preferably outside), to go straight home. They should first notify their health care provider(s) and then their supervisor or the Office of Academic and Student Affairs or equivalent at their college(s) and/or institute they are enrolled in and/or taking classes in. Procedures should be established for persons who may be unable to leave immediately and need to be transported home or to a healthcare provider. Steps should be taken to separate the person from other employees and students into a designated space where there is not ongoing exposure to others pending their departure. Follow CDC recommendations.

In the case of a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the medical dispatcher about the symptoms.

The ill person, following their health care provider’s advice, commonly should stay home for 14 days and self-monitor, and inform their local health department. If the illness becomes severe such as upper respiratory distress, or the person feels additional medical care is needed, they should call their physician, public health office, urgent/emergency care provider or 911 as the situation dictates for further instructions.

Return to work or school only when the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met in consultation with healthcare providers.

Students who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 (either lab-confirmed or clinical diagnosis) should notify the Office of Academic and Student Affairs or equivalent at their college(s) and/or institute they are enrolled and/or taking classes. Faculty and staff should inform their supervisor. Students, faculty and staff aforementioned should not present on-site, but rather self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

If sick or caring for someone who is sick, follow CDC recommendations.