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)   

Fall 2021 Updates

Current UNMC-Wide 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.

See Current Campus Guidance regarding vaccinations, screening, masks, classes, research, travel, gatherings and more.

College of Dentistry 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, 2020, 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 2020, a clinic reentry task force is formed that develops guiding principles for resuming patient care.
  • On May 4, 2020, Nebraska opens dental offices for elective procedures.
  • On May 29, 2020, 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.

Education 
Fall 2021 clinics, labs and didactic classes will be onsite. Masks are required at all times. 
Outreach 

The college continues to offer students outreach opportunities that adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Students are able to serve patients at community health centers, educate community members at health and wellness fairs, create oral health kits that are distributed across Nebraska, and much more. Students also are able to participate in extramural rotations and provide patient care at service-learning sites statewide.

Research 

All research activities continue.

Emergency Administrative Leave 
Free Counseling Resources 

Students:

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.