COVID-19 (coronavirus) Updates

The health and safety of our students and employees are always a top concern. As international, national, state and local health officials address the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Nebraska Wesleyan University is monitoring the situation, discussing guidelines and implementing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Spring Operations

Operations Plan

With our core value of community at the forefront, Nebraska Wesleyan feels strongly that vaccinations are the best protection against the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and provide us the opportunity to return to the thriving experiences in and outside of the classroom that Nebraska Wesleyan is known for. Nebraska Wesleyan will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, and we will make any necessary adjustments should directed health measures change. 

Distancing Recommendations

  • Maintain six feet of distance if possible. 

  • Faculty are encouraged to meet with students in larger, open spaces rather than small offices when possible. 

  • Admissions staff are encouraged to meet prospective students and families in larger spaces if available. 

Hygiene and Wellness

  • Employees and students are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be made available to all offices, classrooms, laboratories, student spaces and residence halls upon request.

  • Individuals are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. A list of symptoms can be found: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html 

  • A self-monitoring temperature station is available in the Weary Center. 

  • Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling ill.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will continue to be provided in each campus building. 

  • Upgraded air filters (MERV 13) will be maintained in campus buildings. 

  • Exemptions or extensions have been approved for some individuals on a case-by-case basis. 

Exposure and Positive Case Procedures

  • NWU will continue to monitor and manage all reports of COVID-19 exposures and positive cases in accordance with CDC and Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) recommendations. 

  • NWU will continue to perform internal contact tracing.

Quarantine and Isolation

  • Individuals who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination will not be required to quarantine after a direct exposure unless they become symptomatic. Up to date individuals with a known exposure should continue to wear a mask. A COVID-19 PCR test is strongly recommended and may be required of individuals in high contact activities at least five days after their exposure. 

  • All unvaccinated individuals are asked to follow CDC guidance and quarantine for at least 5 days after a direct exposure to a positive case. 

  • Unvaccinated individuals are asked to test on or after day five of quarantine.  

  • Athletic teams will follow the NCAA guidelines for quarantine procedures. 

  • Students will be expected to work with their professors to stay caught up on coursework. 

Quarantine and Isolation Housing

  • NWU will offer quarantine and isolation housing for residential and Greek housing students. 

  • Quarantine and isolation support will be administered by the Student Life Q/I team. 

COVID-19 Testing

  • All symptomatic students (vaccinated and unvaccinated) will be directed to Student Health Services for a rapid antigen test. 

  • Symptomatic employees (vaccinated and unvaccinated) are encouraged to take a PCR test. PCR tests are available at CVS, Walgreens, Nomi Health or through the employee’s physician. Most health insurance policies, including NWU’s Blue Cross Blue Shield policy, cover COVID-19 testing for those experiencing symptoms. 

  • If the rapid antigen test is negative, the symptomatic student will be sent for a PCR test.

Cleaning

  • Cleaning supplies will continue to be available in classrooms, studios, laboratories and common spaces. 

  • Faculty are asked to spray desk and workspace surfaces at the conclusion of class. Faculty are encouraged to ask students to assist in an effort to expedite the process. 

  • Individuals are encouraged to sanitize their own workspaces and public areas using the cleaning supplies provided.  

  • Custodial staff will continue to perform enhanced daily cleaning in high-touch areas. 

  • Fogging with disinfectant will continue to be performed in high-traffic areas upon request.  

Athletics

  • NWU will engage in practice and competitive play in accordance with NCAA Division III and the American Rivers Conference requirements. 

  • NWU will continue to follow federal, state, and local guidance. 

Student Health Services

  • OSHA has enacted an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that will impose additional health and safety requirement on our Student Health Center.

Travel

  • For those individuals participating in university sponsored travel, it is encouraged that they have a COVID-19 PCR test administered before and after travel. 

  • Personal travel of students, faculty and staff must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State, and Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCH) guidance for recommended testing and/or quarantine.

Communication

  • The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated with important announcements on a weekly basis. 
Student and Employee Immunization Requirements / Exemption or Extension Request Forms

All employees and students are expected to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine or attempting to become up to date by January 21 with vaccines approved for use by the FDA (Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson). Effective January 4, 2022, Nebraska Wesleyan defines up to date on vaccination status as a single dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine or two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine plus a booster dose if eligible.  Individuals are eligible for a booster vaccination: after six months if they received the Moderna vaccine; after five months if they received the Pfizer vaccine; and after two months if they received the Janssen vaccine. A person is considered up to date until they are eligible for a booster. International students and employees can receive any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization. Employees and students have the option to seek an exemption due to medical or religious reasons.  

Why is the university requiring COVID vaccinations for students?

Our highest priority is to safely maintain a fully operational campus which includes an in-person campus experience in our curriculum and co-curriculum: full-capacity classrooms, in-person meetings and office hours, active student organizations, hands-on experiential learning and project-based learning, close collaboration among students and between students and faculty members, full athletic and performing arts seasons with spectators, and vibrant communities in our residence halls and Greek chapter houses.  

Why does this policy apply to adult and graduate students as well as traditional undergraduates?

It is important to us to protect the health and safety of all of our students, as well as our staff and faculty members. Adult and graduate students interact closely with one another and with faculty and staff members. Adult and traditional program undergraduates regularly share classes as well as non-classroom spaces. The requirement for adult and graduate students helps protect them as well as others in our community. 

What if I have a medical or religious reason not to get vaccinated?

We will continue to offer exemptions from our vaccination requirements for individuals who can document either a religious or medical reason. Requests will be reviewed by the Director of Student Health, the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Life. 

How do I let the university know that I have been vaccinated?

Students should email a photo of their vaccination card to studentlife [at] nebrwesleyan.edu.  

Employees should email a photo of their vaccination card to jagee [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

What policies will apply differently for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals? 

If a member of the NWU community has close contact with someone with COVID-19 and they are in one of the following groups, they do not need to quarantine. 

  • You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines           
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (meaning you tested positive using a viral test). 

 

If a member of the NWU community has come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, they should quarantine if they are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who are not vaccinated. 

Classes will not be split into attendance groups and faculty will not prepare simultaneous lesson plans for both in-person and remote learning students. Students who miss class for quarantine and isolation will need to work individually with their faculty. 

Are other colleges or universities requiring COVID vaccinations?

Over 580 U.S. colleges and universities across the country are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, including many within the state of Nebraska.  

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine?

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s vaccine information webpage.

COVID-19 Testing Protocols

COVID-19 testing protocols include:

  • COVID-19 PCR results are required upon returning to campus for the spring semester.
  • Students who are not fully vaccinated and in Greek houses received information from their chapter houses regarding COVID test requirements.
  • NWU associated individuals participating in university sponsored travel will be encouraged to test before and after travel.
  • Traditional undergraduate students — vaccinated or unvaccinated — who experience COVID-19 symptoms will be able to take a rapid COVID-19 test at Student Health Services.

Individuals who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine and who are directly exposed to COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine unless they are symptomatic. When partially or unvaccinated individuals have direct exposure to COVID-19, they will be asked to follow CDC guidelines on quarantine. Students who miss class for quarantine or isolation will be expected to work individually with their faculty to determine how to keep up on coursework for missed class time.

COVID-19 Quarantine Protocols

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is a period of maintaining physical separation from others after having close contact with a positive case of COVID-19. The intent is to prevent further spread of the disease. 

Individuals who are up to date do NOT need to quarantine after exposure to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless they experience symptoms.  If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and have subsequently recovered and remain without symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. 

Individuals who are NOT up to date or not vaccinated are asked to follow the CDC guidelines on quarantine. 

Timeline and Contact Tracing

Generally, quarantine lasts 5-10 days, but your exact timeline will be determined by your last date of exposure. Individuals will be contacted via email. Your recommended quarantine timeline and general quarantine instructions will be contained in this message. Please read and save this email for future reference.   

What to do during Quarantine

  • Stay home and away from others for the designated timeline.

  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19. 

  • Wear a face mask if it is necessary to be around other people. 

What to do after quarantine 

  • Watch for symptoms until an additional 5 days after exposure. 

  • If you develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact the Student Life Office (studentlife [at] nebrwesleyan.edu) or Student Health Services (StudentHealth [at] nebrwesleyan.edu).

  • Wear a face mask when indoors and around others. 

  • Receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test to ensure you did not become infected. 

Quarantine On Campus: Residential Students 

It is critical that students who are in quarantine remain separated from other people in the space assigned to them on campus. 

  • All residential students who are interested in using on-campus quarantine space should contact the REC On Call at 402.601.2114 to make quarantine arrangements. 
  • The REC On Call will provide detailed instructions about the process, expectations, and what might be helpful to pack. 

Quarantine On Campus: Greek Chapter House Residents 

Students living in a Greek chapter house who need a space on campus for quarantine must first discuss their plans with their house director. They should then call the REC On Call for additional information. Greek chapter students are charged a $100 fee for their on-campus quarantine space. Arrangements for food delivery should be made with the chapter’s house director. Additional food may be ordered through the Residential Education Office and will be billed to their student account. 

All Students in Quarantine

Taking Care of Yourself 
Quarantine can be challenging, so please monitor both your physical and mental health during quarantine. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms while in quarantine and/or receive a positive COVID-19 test while in quarantine, you are required to contact the Student Life Office. 

If you are quarantining on campus, a Residential Education Coordinator will contact you periodically to do a quick check-in to see how you are feeling, if you need anything or if you have questions. Please take these calls or call/text back as soon as you are able. 

If you are quarantining off campus and need additional personal or academic support, please reach out to the Student Life staff: studentlife [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during quarantine. Even though it’s important to separate yourself from others physically during this time, we highly recommend staying in touch virtually with those who love and support you. Keeping as much of a routine as possible may also help. This can include virtually participating in organization meetings or study groups as scheduled, or keeping familiar study and leisure times. Some students have even found it helpful to use this new-found time to work ahead on projects. 

If you are a full-time traditional undergraduate student and require additional mental health assistance, we encourage you to contact NWU Counseling Services to schedule a telehealth appointment. If you are a part-time traditional, adult, or graduate student, you can contact NWU Counseling Services for a referral list of community providers, and/or you may find helpful information on their website. The CDC has also collected some resources on stress and mental health while in quarantine / isolation. 

Outdoor Recreation for On-Campus Quarantine 
To support both your mental and physical well-being, you can enjoy 30 minutes of outdoor recreation a day alone. To learn more and sign up for a time, visit Quarantine Recreation Sign-up

Academic Responsibility and Support 
Faculty will be notified about your required absence from class, but it is each student’s responsibility to work with their faculty to determine how to keep up on coursework. NWU does not notify employers or internship supervisors. If you wish for us to notify a supervisor, please let us know. If you are a student athlete, the athletic department will also be notified of your required absence. 

COVID-19 Isolation Protocols

What is Isolation?

Isolation is a period of maintaining physical separation from others after receiving a positive COVID-19 test or when one is “presumed positive” due to symptoms and/or exposure. 

ALL individuals, vaccinated, not up to date and not vaccinated will need to isolate after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result. 

Timeline and Contact Tracing

Generally, isolation lasts 5 days, but your exact timeline will be determined by your symptoms and/or your positive test date. You will be contacted by Jennifer Agee, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or another NWU contact tracer to determine your isolation dates and to gather information needed to begin the contact tracing process. It is critical for you to take this phone call or immediately return it when you are able. 

We expect you to be honest and willing to share the information necessary to keep those around you healthy. Conversations with Jennifer Agee or other contact tracers are confidential and non-judgmental. 

In preparation for that call, please think about your timeline from the past few days: Do you have an idea of where you could have been exposed? Who have you spent time with since that exposure? Your name will not be shared with those identified as direct contacts, but they will be notified that they will need to begin a period of quarantine due to exposure. 

You will receive a follow-up email with your exact isolation timeline. Please read and save this email for your future reference. 

How is your isolation timeline determined?

Individuals who have a presumed or confirmed COVID-19 infection should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). An individual with a COVID-19 infection bay exit isolation after 5 days if they have not experienced a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication and if the individual is experiencing symptoms improvement. Upon exiting isolation, the individual should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes: 

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms

  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. 

If you have tested positive and do NOT have symptoms 

 

  • You must isolate 5 days from the date of your positive test result. 
  • To discontinue isolation, at least 5 days must have passed since your positive test result. 
  • You have not developed any symptoms. 

Example: If you received a positive test result on 8/3/2020, your last FULL day of isolation is 8/8/2020. If the above conditions are met, your isolation ends on 8/9/2020. 

What to do during Isolation

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately. 

  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible. 

  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible. 

  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible. 

  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets. 

  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils. Wear a well-fitted mask when you need to be around other people. 

Release from Isolation

You may return to in-person classes and activities after the last day of your isolation if all of the following conditions are met: 

  1. Your symptoms have improved. 

  2. You are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours. 

  3. You have not developed any new symptoms. 

  4. You are cleared for return by Jennifer Agee, Director of Environmental Health and Safety. Jennifer will contact you by phone or email to confirm the release requirements have been met. Students may not release themselves. 

Isolation Off Campus

It is critical that students who have tested positive stay home and remain separated from other people. 

  • If you live with others, you must completely isolate yourself by staying in one area of the house/apartment by yourself, preferably with your own bathroom. 

    • If you are not able to completely isolate, practice social distancing, wear your mask, and disinfect any surfaces you touch. 

  • Leaving your residence should be limited to seeking medical care, solo exercise with proper social distancing and mask wearing, and obtaining necessities (food, medicine) via a contactless pick-up. 

Isolation On Campus: Residential students

  • All residential students should immediately contact the REC On Call at 402.601.2114 to make isolation arrangements, whether isolating on or off campus. 

  • Students who need to isolate are generally not approved to remain in their own living space and will be re-assigned a temporary isolation space on or near campus. 

  • The REC On Call will provide detailed instructions about the process, expectations, and helpful packing tips. 

  • Students who are not currently on a meal plan have two options. 1. Students may order Sodexo meal deliveries, and their student accounts will be billed for the food ordered. 2. Students may opt out of meal delivery as long as they share with the REC On Call their plan to obtain food. 

  • Students who are on a meal plan will simply have those meals deducted from their allotted meals. 

Isolation On Campus: Greek Chapter House Residents

Students living in a Greek chapter house who need a space on campus for isolation must first discuss their plans with their house director. They should then call the REC On Call for additional information. Greek chapter students are charged a flat $100 fee for their on-campus isolation space. Arrangements for food delivery should be made with the chapter’s house director. Additional food may be ordered through the Residential Education Office and will be billed to their student account. 

All Students In Isolation

Taking Care of Yourself 
Each experience with COVID-19 is unique. Continually monitor both your physical and mental health during isolation. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact emergency health services immediately: 

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent chest pain 
  • New confusion 
  • Inability to wake or stay awake 
  • Bluish lips or face 

This list is not exhaustive. If you have any other concerning symptoms, please reach out to your medical provider or NWU Student Health Services

If you are isolating on campus, a nurse from NWU Student Health Services and a REC will call you regularly to check in while you are in isolation. Please take these calls or call/text back as soon as you are able. 

If you are a traditional undergraduate student isolating off campus, a nurse from NWU Student Health Services will call you every 2-3 days to check in while you are in isolation. Please take these calls or call/text back as soon as you are able. Adult and graduate students are encouraged to contact their medical provider as needed. 

Students’ mental health is just as important as their physical health during isolation. Even though it’s important to separate yourself from others physically during this time, we highly recommend staying in touch virtually with those who love and support you. Keeping as much of a routine as possible may also help. This can include virtually participating in organization meetings or study groups as scheduled or keeping familiar study and leisure times. Some students have even found it helpful to use this new-found time to work ahead on projects. 

If you are a full-time traditional undergraduate student and require additional mental health assistance, we encourage you to contact NWU Counseling Services to schedule a telehealth appointment. 

If you are a part-time traditional, adult, or graduate student, you can contact NWU Counseling Services for a referral list of community providers, and/or you may find helpful information on their website. The CDC has also collected some resources on stress and mental health while in quarantine / isolation. 

Academic Responsibility and Support 
Faculty will be notified about your required absence from class, but it is each student’s responsibility to work with their faculty to determine how to keep up on coursework. NWU does not notify employers or internship supervisors. If you wish for us to notify a supervisor, please let us know. If you are a student athlete, the athletics department will also be notified of your required absence. 

On-Campus Resources

Student Life Office
402.465.2223
studentlife [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

REC On Call (housing)
402.601.2114

Jennifer Agee, Director of Environmental Health & Safety
402.465.2264
jagee [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

Student Health Services
402.465.2375
studenthealth [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

Counseling Services
402.465.2464
counseling [at] nebrwesleyan.edu

NWU COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Purpose

Vaccination is a vital tool to reduce the presence and severity of COVID-19 cases in the workplace, in communities, and in the nation as a whole. It is the duty and desire of Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, NWU has adopted this policy on mandatory vaccination to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our students, volunteers, and guests who spend time on our campus from the hazards of COVID-19.

Scope

This Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy applies to all NWU employees: faculty (including full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty), full-time and part-time staff, student employees, temporary and contracted employees, individuals receiving offers of employment and volunteers consistently working in service of NWU.

Policy

All individuals covered by this policy are required to either: (a) be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination series or (b) have received university approval for vaccination exemption/extension on record in the Human Resources office. All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals covered by this policy are encouraged to wear a mask indoors as well as provide a COVID-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test result every seven calendar days (weekly).

For the purpose of compliance, an individual is considered up to date on their vaccination series once they have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series AND have received their booster dose. All covered individuals are expected to up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination series or in the process of becoming up to date by January 18, 2022, unless they meet one of the exemption or extension requirements.

Individuals seeking a COVID-19 vaccination exemption or extension will need to complete the appropriate request form. Information about this process can be found in the Exemption or Extension section of this policy. Individuals who have an approved exemption or extension are encouraged to wear a mask indoors and provide a COVID-19 PCR test result every seven calendar days (weekly). Approval for exemption or extension must be obtained by January 18, 2022, for covered individuals or prior to the commencement of employment for new hires. Exceptions may be granted by the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

All covered individuals are required to report their COVID-19 vaccination status and COVID-19 PCR test results truthfully and accurately to NWU. Covered individuals are also required to truthfully and accurately represent themselves when preparing an exemption or extension request. Individual COVID-19 vaccination status and PCR test result information can be reported directly to the Director of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Jennifer Agee. A request for COVID-19 vaccination exemption or extension and supporting evidence, can be submitted directly to the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, Maria Harder.

Exemption or Extension
Individuals may request an exemption or extension from this mandatory vaccination policy if:

  1. a medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination;
  2. the COVID-19 vaccine is medically contraindicated;
  3. an individual cannot be vaccinated because of a disability; or
  4. if the provisions in this policy for vaccination conflict with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.

Requests for medical exemption or extension must be initiated by the affected individual. Individuals seeking an exemption or extension from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine must submit a completed COVID-19 Exemption or Extension form or a Vaccination Waiver Request to the Human Resources office. Individuals who submit their request with supporting documentation with be notified of the determination by email within 2 weeks after submission of the request.

Vaccination Status and Acceptable Forms of Proof of Vaccination
All vaccinated individuals are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of where they received their vaccination. Proof of vaccination status can be submitted via email to the Director of EHS, Jennifer Agee (jagee [at] nebrwesleyan.edu).

Acceptable proof of vaccination status is:

  1. The record of immunization from a healthcare provider or pharmacy;
  2. A copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card;
  3. A copy of medical records documenting the vaccination;
  4. A copy of immunization records from a public health, state, or tribal immunization information system; or
  5. A copy of any other official documentation that contains the type of vaccine administered, date(s) of administration, and the name of the healthcare professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s).

In some cases, state immunization records may not include one or more of these data fields, such as clinic site; in those circumstances Nebraska Wesleyan University will still accept the state immunization record as acceptable proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 Testing
If an individual covered by this policy is not up to date on their vaccination series (e.g., if they are granted an exemption or extension from the mandatory vaccination requirement or because of a sincerely held religious belief), the individual will be required to comply with this policy for testing.

Covered Individuals:

  • Must be tested for COVID-19 at least once every seven days and provide documentation of the COVID-19 PCR test result to the Director of EHS when the result becomes available.

Any individual who does not report to the workplace during a period of seven (7) or more days (e.g., if they on vacation, away at a conference, or otherwise not physically on the NWU campus for more than seven days):

  • Must be tested for COVID-19 within seven (7) days prior to returning to the workplace and provide documentation of that test result to the Director of EHS upon return to the workplace.

Individuals who have received a positive COVID-19 test or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider, are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing for 90 days following the date of their positive test or diagnosis if the results have been reported to the NWU Director of EHS. Covered individuals will be notified when their requirement to test should resume.

NWU will also accept COVD-19 PCR test results from outside agencies. The test result must include the following information:

  • Employee Name
  • Testing location
  • Test type (PCR, NAAT, Antigen etc.)
  • Date of specimen collection
  • Date of test result
  • Test result

Face Coverings
If an individual covered by this policy is not up to date on their vaccination series, NWU encourages individuals to wear a face covering when indoors and when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes. Specific information about the most up to date face covering requirements for the NWU campus can be found at COVID-19 (coronavirus) Updates.

Disciplinary Action for Non-compliance
Individuals not in compliance with this policy, or those who provide falsification of any information or documents may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or revocation of other benefits/services provided by NWU.

Sanctions for non-compliance with the mandatory vaccine policy will include progressive disciplinary steps which will include: Verbal warning(s), Written warning(s) placed in the employee’s file, Suspension with unpaid Leave, or Termination.

Confidentiality and Privacy
All medical information collected from individuals, including vaccination information, test results, and any other information obtained as a result of testing, will be treated in accordance with applicable laws and policies on confidentiality and privacy.

Questions
Please direct any questions regarding this policy to mharder [at] nebrwesleyan.edu (Maria Harder), Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or to jagee [at] nebrwesleyan.edu (Jennifer Agee), Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

Employer Support for COVID-19 Vaccination Time Off and Related Absences

NWU benefit eligible staff employees are granted 80 hours of administrative leave time to provide additional paid time-off relief. Administrative leave is not a typical bank of paid time off for staff employees and is only to be used for quarantine/isolation as identified in the campus Operations Plan, for time off to receive a vaccine, or to recover from any post-vaccine symptoms.

This Administrative Leave bank of hours is pro-rated for part-time, benefits-eligible staff employees based on the employee’s Full-Time Equivalency (FTE). Benefit eligible staff employees who receive their COVID-19 vaccination outside of their regularly scheduled work hours will not be compensated for the time. Human Resources is tracking the individual use of administrative leave for each eligible staff employee. Questions about how to record Administrative Leave can be answered by any Human Resources staff member.

Any additional time off requested by those impacted by COVID-19 may be granted, if reasonable, but will not be paid as Administrative Leave. In that situation, the employee can elect to use accrued leave (e.g., sick leave or vacation leave) to cover the additional time away from work. If the employee’s accrued paid time off benefits have been exhausted, the employee may inquire about short-term disability benefits with Human Resources. Time away from work for an employee that exceeds three days will fall under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for employees who have been employed for more than one year and worked more than 1,250 hours in the year.

Administrative leave hours will only be recorded if the employee CANNOT work. Some employees may continue to work from an alternative location (e.g., at home, remotely) during their recovery process whereas others may not be able to work from an alternative location (e.g., at home, remotely).  Each circumstance is unique and will depend on several factors: the type of staff position held, required job duties or tasks, and the severity of the illness. Employees should discuss their use of paid time off benefits, FMLA, and working from an alternative location with Human Resources staff.

Frequently Asked Questions: General Policy Questions, Exemption or Extension Questions and Supervisor Questions

The following FAQ addresses questions regarding NWU's policy for employees to be up to date on their entire COVID-19 vaccination series or attempt to become up to date on their entire COVID-19 series. 

General Questions:

  1. What actions are required by individuals on NWU’s campus?

    Individuals who have submitted confirmation of their COVID-19 vaccination series (including booster dose) to the university or have an approved medical or religious exemption, no further action is needed.

    If an individual has not been vaccinated, you can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through Lincoln Lancaster Health Department (LLCHD) or with your local pharmacy.

    Individuals who choose not/cannot be vaccinated by request a medical or religious exemption by filling out the Employee Vaccination Exemption or Extension form. Both forms are available electronically from Human Resources.
     
  2. What if an individual cannot become up to date on their vaccination series due to a temporary medical condition or a recent COVID-19 infection?

    If an individual has a temporary medical condition or has had a recent COVID-19 infection, they should fill out the Employee Temporary Medical Extension Request.
     
  3. What if an individual does not become up to date on their vaccination series and does not have an approved medical or religious exemption?

    Guidelines for compliance enforcement will follow the progressive framework as outlined in NWU’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy. The intent of compliance enforcement is to ensure that NWU maintains compliance with the highest levels of health and safety for our campus community.
     
  4. What about individuals who volunteer their time at NWU but are not officially employed by NWU. Do they still need to be in compliance with NWU’s vaccination policy?

    Yes, individuals volunteering on NWU’s campus are still required to follow the NWU’s vaccination policy.
     
  5. How will NWU monitor compliance?

    NWU employees should submit proof of vaccination after each dose of vaccine, including booster shots, and COVID-19 PCR test results to the Director of EHS Jennifer Agee. Human Resources and the Director of EHS will oversee compliance efforts. All information will be maintained and secured as private health information (PHI).
     
  6. What if an individual has lost their COVID-19 vaccination card?

    Immunizations are reported to the appropriate state health department's Immunization Information System (IIS). The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has IIS records for all 50 states listed online, where you can look up and obtain a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination records after verifying some personal information. In Nebraska, the state health department has NESIIS where information can be obtained about an individual’s immunization record. If an individual has lost their card, beginning in 2022, all individuals on the NWU campus will be required to obtain a copy and provide it to Human Resources or the Director of EHS.
     
  7. Do individuals have to pay for the vaccine?

    No, COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost. Consult the CDC website for more information on COVID-19 vaccines. There are several ways an employee can locate a vaccine provider. This process is the same whether you want to schedule your first dose or any subsequent dose.
  8. Do individuals need to take time off to get the vaccine?

    No, NWU is providing paid time off for employees to receive their primary dose or doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible employees will be provided paid Administrative Leave (up to 80 banked hours) to receive the vaccine and for absence due to side effects associated with receiving the vaccine should it be necessary. The employee may also use accrued sick leave if their Administrative Leave bank has been exhausted.

Exemption OR Extension from Vaccination Requirement Questions

  1. If an individual is a faculty or staff member. How do they apply for medical or religious exemption?

    Visit NWU’s COVID-19 Response website and download and complete the applicable exemption or extension form. Submit the completed form and documentation to the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, mharder [at] nebrwesleyan.edu (Maria Harder).
     
  2. How long will it take for an exemption to be approved?

    Once an exemption request is submitted, employees will be notified via email within two weeks as to whether the request is approved or denied.
     
  3. Who has access to information provided in the exemption forms?

    Notice of whether an exemption or extension is granted or denied will be shared with the requesting employee by Human Resources, the Director of EHS, and the employee’s manager for oversight of the employee’s compliance. However, the specific details regarding the nature of the exemption will not be released and all exemption forms will be kept confidential in compliance with federal regulations.

NWU Managers’/Supervisors’ Questions

  1. Can I ask any of my faculty/staff if they have been vaccinated or have filed an exemption request?

    According to guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under the Americans with Disabilities Act, vaccination information is confidential medical information, and employee vaccination information can only be disclosed to an employee’s manager when necessary for a legitimate business purpose, such as implementing necessary restrictions on work duties and providing necessary accommodations. Additionally, regulations clearly state that employee vaccination information must be kept confidential and stored separately from the employee’s personnel files.

    NWU managers should not inquire about the vaccination status of any faculty/staff. If faculty/staff divulges vaccination status to a manager, the manager must keep that information confidential. When NWU determines a manager/supervisor must know the vaccination status of an individual to enforce policy or provide accommodations, Human Resources will share the minimum information necessary to ensure compliance. Please note, the manager will not be told the nature of the exemption, as this information is not necessary to ensure compliance.
     
  2. How will I know if one of my faculty/staff is noncompliant with the vaccine requirement?

    Faculty/staff who are not up to date on their vaccination series for COVID-19, will be notified by Human Resources that they are not in compliance with NWU’s vaccination policy.
     
  3. What are my responsibilities as a manager/supervisor if one of my faculty/staff is granted an exemption?

    Managers/supervisors are encouraged to privately discuss with the exempted faculty or staff member the following requirements of NWU’s vaccination policy. In instances of noncompliance, the emphasis should be on counseling the individual to achieve compliance. In the event of repeated noncompliance by faculty/staff, managers are expected to consult Human Resources.
Employee Notification Requirement of COVID-19 Exposure or Positive Tests Results, and Return to Work Criteria

Notification

Nebraska Wesleyan University encourages individuals to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. A list of symptoms can be found: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must notify their immediate supervisor or the Director of EHS and are asked refrain from coming to work regardless of their vaccination status. An individual who is up to date on their vaccination series and who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, is strongly encouraged to have a PCR COVID-19 test administered. An unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individual, who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, must have a negative PCR test before returning to work on campus.

Exposure

If an individual has been notified of a direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual, the individual is required to notify their direct supervisor AND the Director of EHS, AND

If unvaccinated or not up to date on vaccine series

  • immediately enter a period of quarantine
  • have a COVID-19 PCR test administered 5-7 days after exposure*
  • If the COVID-19 PCR test is negative and the employee is asymptomatic, the employee may return to work upon the completion of the quarantine period

If up to date on your vaccine series (includes booster dose)

  • continue to self-monitor
  • have a COVID-19 PCR test administered 5-7 days after exposure*

*Timelines may change based on the current CDC guidelines

Positive Test

If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider, the individual is required to promptly notify their supervisor and the Director of EHS, refrain from entering the workplace, and immediately enter a period of isolation.

Return to Work Criteria

For any individual quarantined or isolated from campus as a result of a direct exposure or because they are COVID-19 positive, NWU will ask them to remain away from campus until the conclusion of the quarantine or isolation period.

While under the CDC’s Quarantine Guidance*, unvaccinated individuals who have been identified as close contact, may return to work once five (5) days have passed since the exposure, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department allows for a shortened quarantine period of five (5) days with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result obtained on day five (5) or later after the exposure. NWU will follow Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s guidance.

Under the CDC’s Isolation Guidance*, COVID-positive, asymptomatic individuals may return to work once five (5) days have passed since the positive test, and symptomatic employees may return to work if all the following statements are true:

  • At least five (5) days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours have passed with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months and need not delay the end of isolation).
  • A rapid antigen test performed on or after day five (5) of the isolation period may be used to evaluate a person’s level of contagiousness and potential ability to safely interact with others.

If an individual has severe COVID-19 or an immune disease, NWU will follow the guidance of a licensed healthcare provider regarding return to work.

*Timelines may change based on the current CDC guidelines

Student Life

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

In spring 2021, the FCC voted to establish the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help qualified households avoid hefty internet bills. As an approved internet provider for this program, ALLO will offer a $70 discount to the monthly internet service of qualified households. This includes NWU students who are Pell Grant recipients. Qualified applicants will have the discount applied to their monthly bill. The document below includes details about qualifications and application process.

CRRSAA Emergency Grants to Students

NWU has received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Like the funding received under the CARES Act, a portion of the funds must be disbursed as emergency grants to students and a portion is available for institutional needs relating to the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Education requires universities to prioritize students with exceptional need when distributing emergency grants. As such, Nebraska Wesleyan will distribute funds to students enrolled in the Spring 2021 semester who qualified for need-based aid. Eligible students will be notified of their emergency grant in March 2021 via an email from the Business Office. Students will have the option to apply the emergency grant to the unpaid balance of their student account or to receive the funds via direct deposit or a check.

Please note that Nebraska Wesleyan is using a different process to disburse the CRRSAA emergency grants than was used for the CARES Act emergency grants. A frequently asked questions document is below.

ARP HEERF Emergency Grants to Students

NWU has received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Act. Like the funding received under the CARES Act, a portion of the funds must be disbursed as emergency grants to students and a portion is available for institutional needs relating to the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Education requires universities to prioritize students with exceptional need when distributing emergency grants. As such, Nebraska Wesleyan will distribute funds to students based on evidence of financial need. Evidence of financial need is demonstrated in data from the FAFSA or an NWU financial aid application.

Eligible students will be notified of their emergency grant in August 2021 via an email from the Business Office. Students will have the option to apply the emergency grant to the unpaid balance of their student account or to receive the funds via direct deposit or a check.

Please note that Nebraska Wesleyan is using the same process to disburse the ARP emergency grants as was used for the CRRSAA emergency grants. A frequently asked questions document is below.

Additional ARP HEERF Emergency Grants to Students

This spring, NWU will disburse the final round of student grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Act.

The U.S. Department of Education requires universities to prioritize students with exceptional need when distributing emergency grants. As such, Nebraska Wesleyan will distribute funds to students based on evidence of financial need. Evidence of financial need is demonstrated in data from the FAFSA or an NWU financial aid application.

Eligible students will be notified of their emergency grant in February 2022 via an email from the Business Office. Students will have the option to apply the emergency grant to the unpaid balance of their student account or to receive the funds via direct deposit or a check.

Please note that Nebraska Wesleyan is using the same process to disburse the Spring 2022 ARP emergency grants as was used for the Fall 2021 ARP emergency grants. A frequently asked questions document is below.

Past University Updates

 

Campus Resources