UNMC campus safety highlights

September 03, 2021

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As COVID-19 evolves, so does UNMC’s campus safety guidance. At times, it can be difficult to stay abreast of the latest. Need a recap? Here’s where things stand today on a few topics of interest:

What’s New

Food

Food only will be allowed at on-campus gatherings with pre-approval from the Office of Health Security. To accommodate current guidelines, organizers of indoor events may opt to adjust event hours, so food is not served, ask participants to eat outdoors or provide a to-go option.

When brought to campus on an individual basis, food may be allowed in common spaces indoors. When eating indoors with others:

  • Follow good hand hygiene practices.
  • Put your mask on properly after eating/drinking. Limit unmasked conversations.
  • If vaccinated, up to five people may eat together unmasked and socially distanced.

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. Answers to previously asked questions will be posted in an FAQ document located at https://www.unmc.edu/coronavirus/ .

Teaching guidance

When teaching, the instructor giving the lecture does not need to mask as long as they are at least six feet away from others in the room and the instructor is vaccinated.  In small groups, everyone should remain masked, including instructors.

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 Restrictions

For travel booked on or after Sept. 7, 2021, 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, dean and associated vice chancellor or their designee 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.

For travel booked before Sept. 7, 2021, each traveler is required to monitor their destination’s situation carefully.

Returning from Domestic Travel

Upon returning from any domestic travel outside Nebraska, all UNMC faculty, staff and students who are not fully vaccinated (with the exemptions noted below) returning to any community in Nebraska are required to get tested with a PCR test three to five days after travel and self-quarantine for a period of seven days. If you test positive, isolate yourself from others and contact Employee Health or Student Health.

All UNMC faculty, staff and students returning from domestic travel outside of Nebraska, regardless of vaccination status, should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.

UNMC students, faculty, and staff are expected to follow the CDC recommendations for domestic and international travel for both personal and university-sponsored travel.

You do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months.

Exemptions: This rule does not apply to staff, faculty, residents and fellows who are involved in providing patient care or support for patient care at Nebraska Medicine, Children's Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha and other clinical settings. They are expected to follow the rules set by the respective clinical institution or clinical unit. This rule does not apply to personnel or students living in a neighboring state and who commute routinely to work or school at one of UNMC's campuses.

What to Review

Management of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 individuals and exposures on campus

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect you have COVID-19, please stay home and seek medical attention. It also 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 how they can safety return to campus.

Students, faculty, and staff should self-monitor and acknowledge that you do not have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus each day through use of the self-screening tool 1-Check UNMC app. By coming to campus, you are acknowledging that you have completed the self-monitoring requirements confirming you have no signs/symptoms of COVID-19.

Faculty should contact the Office Health Security at healthsecurity@unmc.edu if they learn that one of their students has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19. The Office of Health Security will provide guidance on the next steps.

Classes  

Classes for the Fall 2021 semester have returned to capacity as planned.  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.

Events

On-campus gatherings of our own faculty, staff and students are limited to 25 individuals. This limit of 25 individuals for gatherings does not apply to UNMC-sanctioned classes, didactic sessions and experiential learning activities. Exceptions to this limit can be sought by filing an event safety plan. Event safety plans must follow campus guidance at the time the event is held -- even if the safety plan was approved earlier under different circumstances. Guidelines apply for any UNMC event, whether on campus or off. Organizers of offsite events also must file an event safety plan.

Masking

All UNMC faculty, staff, students and visitors (including contractors, service providers and others) are required to properly wear a face mask at all times when indoors (including elevators) on a UNMC campus. See when exceptions apply.

Vaccine requirements and exemptions

UNMC faculty, staff and students must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 22. Vaccination exemptions must be requested by Sept. 15:

Nebraska Medicine requires full vaccination by Oct. 9 (Note: UNMC employees/students who have clinical responsibilities at Nebraska Medicine must meet Nebraska Medicine’s vaccination deadline (and the deadlines of any other clinical affiliate(s)). 

Employee leave

Employees are reminded that the Emergency Paid Administrative Leave for COVID-related absences expired on June 30, 2021. There are no current plans to reinstate or continue this type of leave. Employees may use other forms of available leave for COVID-related absences, including accrued sick leave or vacation leave, and may request advancement of leave or crisis leave, if necessary, with manager approval.

International travel

As a reminder, pre-approved essential international travel for students, faculty and staff will be allowed. In addition to pre-trip approval using the Concur software program, additional pre-trip approval by the immediate supervisor is required for all international travel and is limited to essential university-related business.

After approval by the immediate supervisor, an international travel request must be submitted to the Office of Global Engagement.  The traveler will be required to complete a travel application that includes an explanation of why the travel is essential and a detailed summary of local health and travel guidance for the travel locations at least two weeks prior to travel.  The Office of Global Engagement will appoint an international travel risk committee that will consider the essential nature of the travel, CDC Travel Health Notices, US Department of State Travel Advisories and the ability of the traveler to mitigate risk.  All university-related international travel must comply with Executive Memorandum 25.