Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

COVID-19 Announcements: The College of Dentistry is using email to distribute important COVID-19 announcements. It is imperative that you are checking your email on a regular basis as we will all be held accountable for the communication delivered. 

Main UNMC COVID-19 Resource: UNMC Coronavirus Resources Webpage (UNMC-wide announcements, UNMC-wide resources and more)   

Spring 2021 Updates

Patient Care Changes 

The College of Dentistry’s clinic reentry task force, along with college administration and UNMC infectious disease experts worked to determine how to resume patient care while keeping students, faculty, staff and patients safe. Following is a summary of the clinic reentry process and the changes that were made so students could resume their clinical educational experiences in the safest environments possible, and patients could resume receiving routine, urgent and emergency dental care.

Timeline:

  • On March 16, Nebraska closes dental offices for routine care. Starting March 17, the college’s faculty and resident clinic teams continue to serve communities by providing important emergency patient care services in the following clinics: Lincoln, Durham Outpatient Center, and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.
  • In April, a clinic reentry task force is formed that develops guiding principles for resuming patient care.
  • On May 4, Nebraska opens dental offices for elective procedures.
  • On May 29, the college’s clinic reentry manual is published, which is based on recommendations from the clinic reentry task force and guidelines from numerous sources, including: CDC; OSHA; ADA; NDA; UNMC infectious disease experts, engineers and facilities teams; and other dental programs.
  • Key differences between a private practice and a dental school that affect reopening:
    • large open bay operatories vs. smaller controlled environments;
    • large college community (faculty, staff, students, patients); and
    • the experience of operators (dental students and residents).

Changes that were made to create the safest possible environments:

  • Redesigned service operation and flow from the time a patient is contacted to the time they exit the college.
  • Made changes to deal with airflow and clinic spacing to conform with the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations from organizations such as the CDC.
  • Made changes in treatment approaches to minimize aerosol generating procedures; purchased extraoral high evacuation suction units to assist in minimizing such aerosols.
  • Students are paired up as first and second operators and there is an assistant for procedures. Made changes to clinic workflow so runners are available to get needed supplies and alert faculty and staff when students need assistance.
  • Secured an adequate PPE supply of gowns, face shields, masks and respirators. Provided fit testing of N95 respirators for all students and staff. Provided PPE training for students and staff on new donning and doffing procedures.
  • Trained providers on nasopharyngeal swab collection and partnered with the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory to test patients for COVID-19 before they are scheduled for aerosol generating dental procedures (using the gold standard in COVID-19 testing).
  • Redesigned the electronic health record to add patient screening questionnaires.
  • Received the NE CARES Response and Recovery Award and Stabilization Grant to create nine airborne isolation infection rooms for safety (3 rooms in Lincoln Dental Clinic; 3 rooms in Omaha Dental Clinic; 3 rooms in Munroe-Meyer Institute) and purchase extraoral evacuation units.

Updated clinical protocols - October 2020:

As we have learned more about SARS-CoV-2 infections and transmission of the virus, the college has continuously evaluated the clinical protocols and the evolving guidelines published by the CDC, OSHA, and the ADA, and continued discussions with other dental schools throughout the country. Evolving evidence and acquisition of supplies supports the following changes in the college’s clinic protocols:

  • Changes in COVID-19 testing protocols. (Adults – continue PCR testing for high-risk aerosol generating procedures, Children – continue COVID-19 testing for aerosol generating procedures, etc.)
  • Continue duplicate screening processes and continue to use the appropriate PPE, rubber dam isolation, intraoral high-volume evacuation extraoral suction units and assistants for aerosol generating procedures.
  • Continue to seek a point-of-care test and initiate the process for a CLIA certification waiver.
  • Increase capacity in the clinics.
  • Students resume experiences at service-learning sites statewide.

The college will continue to evaluate these protocols and use local and national guidance and research to make further modifications, if needed.

Event Planning 

All UNMC student organization events onsite or off campus need to be approved by the College of Dentistry Office of Academic and Student Affairs. Event descriptions, forms and approvals need submitted to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs well in advance of the event in order to allow for the review and approval process. Contact: Michelle Sullivan

Registered Student Organizations (RSO)

  • Events are approved through UNL. They need three weeks notice.
  • Even if funding isn’t used – if the event is hosted by an RSO, complete the NvolveU Event Planning and Registration (EPR) to ensure help with any services needed.
  • Regardless of the size of the event, a completed risk assessment is required.
  • If an event will have over 50 attendees, an approval process must be completed through UNL. (Details here. There are two recent updates: An advisor must be present for any events over 50 and the application now includes a question regarding venue capacity).
  • If an event will be off campus, college student affairs guidelines require documentation from the venue regarding how they are handling COVID-19 and adhering to the current Directed Health Measures (DHMs).
  • If the event will be held at the College of Dentistry, a building use form also needs to be filled out.
  • The college needs a record of attendees.

UNMC Unregistered Student Organizations

  • Events are approved through UNMC.
  • If an event will have 25 or more attendees, a UNMC Event Safety Plan needs to be filled out and approved (not to exceed 50 in-person attendees).
  • If the event will be held at the College of Dentistry after school hours, a building use form needs to be filled out and approved.
  • The college needs a record of attendees.

The above is subject to change as DHMs and protocols change. Please reinforce physical distancing, proper mask wearing, hand washing/hygiene, and following all other safety protocols whether onsite or off campus.

Safety Measures 

Keeping our College of Dentistry community safe while we continue to pursue our academic, research and patient care missions requires the cooperation and persistent effort of every member of our community.

UNMC leaders have outlined the following seven fundamentals of COVID-19 control to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We all have a responsibility in the fight against COVID-19 and are accountable members of both UNMC and the communities we live in and serve. Please do your part to keep yourself, our campus and our community in good health by following these directives.

  • Work and study from home when you can. Safety and disease mitigation will be enhanced by reducing the frequency of interpersonal interactions, the number of people involved in any given interaction, and the number of people 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, are encouraged to continue working from home. Please work with your supervisor to review expectations. Students should avoid being in the building if they are not in class or working in the labs or clinics. Students are encouraged to study independently at home or in small groups virtually. Student organizations are encouraged to meet virtually.
  • Check the COVID app before coming to campus. The 1-Check COVID app is a unique screening tool that enables faculty, staff and students to screen their symptoms and assess their likelihood of being infected with COVID-19. This exclusive download for UNMC faculty, staff and students (different from the 1-Check COVID app that UNMC released to the public) gives individuals UNMC-specific information based on their screening response and enables UNMC to collect public health data that provides insight as to the number of symptomatic cases on UNMC campuses.
  • Stay away from campus if you screen positive or feel sick. If you screen positive, the 1-Check COVID app includes information on how you should proceed based on your screening response.
  • Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Masks covering the nose and mouth are required for everyone at all times. The only exception is masks do not need to be worn in personal offices if no other personnel are present.
  • Remain six feet away from others. Maximum occupancy signage is posted in classrooms, clinics and other areas. Walk on the right side of the hallway or stairwell. Utilize the mirrors in the stairwells, and wait if necessary to avoid others. Use the patio – but please keep your distance!
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Disinfect your personal and classroom space. Instructions for cleaning classrooms and other common spaces are posted. Disinfecting wipes are available in these areas.
Screening Faculty, Staff and Students 

Keeping our College of Dentistry community safe requires the cooperation and persistent effort of every member of our community!

  • All faculty, staff and students should enter the building through the doors located on the west side of the building next to the Dixon Auditorium or use the northeast entrance.
  • You need to scan your NCARD ID badge for access each time you enter the building. You are encouraged to have a mask on before entering the building.
  • DO NOT piggy back on the person ahead of you. It's important that everyone scans as they enter.
  • DO NOT enter through the front door. The front door is for patient entry only.

We are now using Onescreen by GoSafe devices for temperature screening. For the safety of our College of Dentistry community and our patients, you must take your temperature each time you enter the building.

How the Onescreen by GoSafe devices work:

  • Walk up within 2 feet of the device. The device will turn on and show an outline of a face.
  • Try to place the red dot on your forehead where your temperature is the most accurate. A green box will appear at the bottom of the screen with your temperature. You should hear a response of “normal temperature.”
  • Take your sticker and proceed to your work area.
  • If you are not wearing a mask: You will still receive the “normal temperature” response. However, you will then get a red box that says “Please wear a mask.” Put a mask on before entering the building - even after hours!

If you have a high temperature:

  • Any temperature above 100.2 will record as a high temperature. A red box will appear and say “elevated temperature.”
  • Step aside, wait a couple of minutes and take your temperature again.
  • If your temperature is still high, DO NOT proceed into the building. Your temperature will be taken manually and you may be advised to contact the UNL Student Health Center or your primary care provider for guidance.

What data is being stored on the GoSafe devices? The college is using the devices to take temperatures only. The pictures are recorded for review to ensure that no one with a temperature has entered the building.

Why do I have to scan my badge each time I enter the building? This is for fire and safety purposes. Additionally, since we are a medical entity, we are required to know who was in the building due to PHI and HIPAA regulations.

Are you using any of the badge or temperature data for contact tracing? No, neither system provides detailed information that could help with contact tracing.

Education 
  • Clinics and labs will be onsite (with proper use of PPE and following all safety protocols).
  • Didactic classes will be delivered remotely. There are some exceptions, e.g., when adjacent to a lab class or clinic session.
  • High stakes exams will be onsite.
Outreach 

The college continues to offer students outreach opportunities that adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Students are able to participate in a variety of virtual outreach events, serve patients at Clinic with a Heart, and help create oral health kits that are being distributed across Nebraska to help educate caregivers on the importance of children's oral health.

As of October 2020, students have resumed providing oral health care at service-learning sites statewide. While on rotation, students will agree to self-screen daily for symptoms of COVID-19 via UNMC’s 1-Check app, wear appropriate PPE following College of Dentistry policies, and adhere to UNMC recommendations for social distancing and other COVID-19 safety behaviors.

Research 

All research activities continue, respecting social distancing and care.

Working from Home 

UNMC encourages remote work wherever possible. Supervisors should work with their teams to provide as much flexibility as possible.

Stay-at-Home Announcement FAQs
COD Remote Working Agreement
 
Work from Home Tips: For Supervisors
Work from Home Tips: For Employees 

Emergency Administrative Leave 
Free Counseling Resources 

Students:

  • Call UNL Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the UNL Health Center to schedule a phone or Zoom session - 402-472-7450. CAPS also offers online resources to help you maintain your mental well-being.
  • You can also make an appointment with Nate, our COD counselor, by calling UNO Counseling Services - 402-554-2409.

Faculty and Staff: 

  • The UNMC Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers Arbor Family Counseling, a confidential service. Appointments can be made by calling 402-330-0960 or 1-800-922-7379, or by visiting the Arbor Family Counseling website. Day, evening and weekend sessions are available as well as off-site, on-site and web-conferencing options. There are multiple counselors to choose from, as well as multi-lingual interpreter services.
UNMC Emergency Fund 

UNMC has set up an emergency fund to support students and employees impacted by COVID-19.

Digital Learning Resources 
  • Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) increases safety and security by ensuring UNMC students authenticate themselves multiple ways before being granted access to certain UNMC & Nebraska Medicine resources. Duo will be required to access certain resources. Enroll (This applies to UNMC students who have not enrolled in UNMC/Nebraska Medicine DUO.)

  • Canvas is UNMC’s learning management system that delivers course content, provides an avenue for your assignment submissions, online discussions, and offers a gradebook. Download the app | Student Guides | Student Support | Phone: 1-844-690-9185

  • Zoom is a video conferencing tool for you to meet “live” with other students or faculty or from your device. Your faculty member will distribute a unique Zoom link if your class will be meeting via a Zoom conference. Outside of class, to collaborate with other students you can download the Zoom client. The free download offers you the capability of scheduling a one to one (yourself and one other participant) meeting – which can be accessed for 24 hours - or scheduling a meeting for three or more participants with a maximum length of 40 minutes per meeting. Reference: UNMC Information Technology | Zoom Help Center 

  • Echo360 Active Learning Platform (ALP) is a video content management system where your faculty may choose to record and distribute videos (videos may include a video of the faculty, faculty audio and presentation). The recorded videos can be accessed by clicking on the Echo360 (ALP) link in Canvas. Download the app: iOS | Google Play

  • Echo360 ALP Universal Capture is a capture software where you may record and submit a link for a course assignment which includes recording a presentation with video, audio and content. DOWNLOAD:
    • Go to: https://echo360.org/downloads
    • Enter UNMC email address and choose your institution (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
    • Enter your UNMC username and password
    • Click the appropriate download and follow online instructions as prompted

  • Office 365 provides a single location to create, manage, secure and share files. Reference: UNMC Information Technology On-the-Go | Microsoft Knowledge Base

  • UNMC E-Learning Gallery provides students with supplemental modules to augment your learning.
College of Dentistry IT Support 

Our IT team offers continuous assistance. Contact them at 402-472-2558 or CODIS@unmc.edu.  

They have created a variety of College of Dentistry-specific IT tutorials to help make the transition to digital learning easier.

Tips for Staying Healthy 
  • To disinfect Apple products, you may use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes or a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe to gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. (Source)
  • Avoid touching surfaces within the college - elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a second option. Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes, especially with unwashed hands.
  • If you are sick, stay at home!
  • More information on COVID-19 prevention.
If You Traveled 
View all current UNMC travel guidelines
CODA Site Visits Postponed 

Due to the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on dental and dental-related education programs, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) announced that for every CODA-accredited program, the regular/reaccreditation site visit will be shifted forward by one year. This means that the site visit for the College of Dentistry programs will now be conducted in 2022.

The AEGD program pre-graduation site visit originally scheduled for March 2020 has been rescheduled to 2021. The program will maintain its initial accreditation status.

We continue our process of self-assessment and quality improvement irrespective of the timing of accreditation site visits.