COVID-19 (coronavirus) Updates

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is 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.

Operations

NWU COVID Vaccination Clinic

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on campus on Wednesday, August 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Acklie Hall of Science. This clinic is available to faculty, staff and students.

Students who plan to wait and get vaccinated at this clinic should submit a COVID-19 extension form to meet the university’s COVID vaccination requirements.

Registration for this vaccination clinic is needed so that the health department can provide the necessary quantities. Registration deadline is August 15.

Register here for the clinic

*Parental consent is required for students under the age of 19. Students must bring the signed COVID-19 Vaccine Consent for Minor form with them to the on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Fall 2021 Updated Immunization Requirements/Exemption and Extension Request Forms

Nebraska Wesleyan University has updated its immunization requirements to include the COVID-19 vaccination for all undergraduate and graduate students. All students are to be fully vaccinated by August 15 with vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA (Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson) and both doses of a two-dose vaccine must be received to meet the requirement. International students can receive any COVID vaccine approved by the World Health Organization. Students have the option to seek an exemption due to medical or religious reasons. Students can seek an extension due to inability to access the vaccine, or for a temporary medical circumstance that requires a delay in vaccinating, or students can seek an extension to delay the COVID vaccination until it receives full approval from the FDA.

Why is the university requiring COVID vaccinations for students?

Our highest priority is returning safely a fully 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. As we worked on re-opening logistics, it became clear that ensuring consistent vaccination within our community was the only way to do all those activities unmasked and with confidence about the safety of our community members.

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 and the Vice President for Student Life.

What if I need an extension?

Individuals who do not have access to vaccination prior to the start of the school year can request a six-week extension to allow time to schedule and receive the required vaccination. Individuals who have a temporary medical circumstance that requires them to delay their vaccination can also seek an extension with documentation from their medical provider of their anticipated timeline for vaccination. Individuals who wish to defer the COVID vaccination until the FDA issues full approval, rather than emergency use authorization, may also seek an extension. Extensions do not exempt the individual from the vaccine requirement. Individuals will have six weeks from the end of the circumstance that prompted the extension request to complete their vaccination requirement.

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. Students who shared their vaccination card with the university during the 2020-2021 academic year do not need to resubmit their vaccination card.

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

Will NWU offer COVID vaccinations on campus?

The Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department will host a vaccination clinic on campus on Wednesday, August 25. Students who plan to wait and get vaccinated at this clinic will need to submit an extension form.

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

If a vaccinated member of the NWU community (student or employee) is exposed to a positive case of COVID and remains asymptomatic, they will not have to quarantine. If an unvaccinated member of the NWU community is exposed to a positive case of COVID, they will have to quarantine, regardless of whether they demonstrate symptoms. 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 to determine how to keep up on coursework.

Will COVID testing be required?

Unvaccinated students will be tested monthly at our campus test site. Testing will use a saliva-based sample (not a nasal swab). Tests will be processed off campus and results will typically be available the next business day. Unvaccinated students involved in high-contact activities will be required to test every two weeks. These groups include in-season athletic teams, vocal and wind ensembles, theatre casts and crews, student teachers, some practica and clinical, etc. Traditional undergraduate students — vaccinated or unvaccinated — who experience COVID-19 symptoms will be able to take a rapid COVID test at Student Health Services.

Will face masks be required?

Face masks are recommended for employees and students who are not vaccinated, but they are not required.

Will there be a vaccination requirement for employees?

Employee vaccinations are not required at this time. More than 85 percent of our full-time employees are vaccinated — which is substantially higher than the current student vaccination rate. We highly encourage our employees to get vaccinated; we will continue to collect employee vaccination cards and we are monitoring numbers as we approach herd immunity. Unvaccinated employees will receive information about COVID testing policies; vaccinated employees will not be required to participate in regular testing.

Are other colleges or universities requiring COVID vaccinations?

Over 580 U.S. colleges and universities across the country are requiring COVID vaccinations, with more colleges expected to announce such a requirement later this summer. Locally, Creighton University has also announced a COVID vaccine requirement for all students.

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

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

Fall Semester COVID-19 Testing Protocols

Fall semester COVID-19 testing protocols include:

  • Unvaccinated students who will live on campus will be required to provide a negative COVID test before your arrival. Specific details about this testing requirement will be provided to residents by the Residential Education Office.
  • Unvaccinated students who will move into Greek houses will receive information from their chapter houses regarding COVID test requirements.
  • Unvaccinated students will be tested monthly on campus using a saliva-based PCR test. Testing will use a saliva sample rather than a nasal swab. Tests will be processed off campus and results will typically be available the next business day.
  • Unvaccinated students involved in high-contact activities will be required to test every two weeks. These groups include in-season athletic teams, vocal and wind ensembles, theatre casts and crews, student teachers, some practica and clinicals, etc.
  • There will be no testing fee for students who use the on-campus test site and students will not be required to provide proof of insurance. Testing costs will be covered by the university.
  • Traditional undergraduate students — vaccinated or unvaccinated — who experience COVID-19 symptoms will be able to take a rapid COVID test at Student Health Services.

When unvaccinated individuals have direct exposure to COVID-19, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days. Vaccinated individuals who are exposed will not be required to quarantine unless they are symptomatic. 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.

Summer 2021 Operating Guidelines and Reconstitution of Campus Operations Plan

Purpose: Prepare to return NWU to full operating capacity following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reconstitution of campus operations following the COVID-19 pandemic will require a phased approach that results in restoration of full organization functionality. The Campus Operation Plan may need to be adapted to current public health and local guidance during the reconstitution process.

Safety and Control Protocols:

Face Coverings

  • During the 2021 Summer term, face coverings will continue to be required in some NWU facilities as outlined below. This requirement will be regularly re-evaluated. Face covering guidelines differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We trust the integrity of our community members to adhere to the appropriate guidelines.
    • Masks are REQUIRED for in-person classes, workshops, and academic camps.
    • Masks are REQUIRED for unvaccinated individuals indoors on campus (except for students in their individual residences).
    • Masks are RECOMMENDED for vaccinated individuals in the following indoor spaces where six-foot social distancing cannot be consistently maintained: in indoor athletic facilities, shared group study areas, shared offices, meeting rooms and restrooms.
    • Masks are OPTIONAL for vaccinated individuals when in individual offices (including when the door is open), in hallways, or in other low-density indoor spaces (e.g. individual study spaces away from other seating).
    • Masks are OPTIONAL outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

Distancing

  • Effectively immediately, employees may begin moving back into shared office spaces in consultation with the area supervisor.
  • During the 2021 Summer term, physical distancing (6 ft) will be maintained in classrooms and other academic and public settings, including in athletic facilities where possible.
  • During the 2021 Fall semester, we expect the social distancing requirement to be discontinued for classrooms and other academic settings depending on the local risk metrics.

Cleaning

  • Cleaning supplies will continue to be available in classrooms, studios, laboratories and common spaces.
  • Individuals are expected to sanitize their own work spaces and public areas such as shared appliances and equipment, and surfaces they have come into contact with using the cleaning supplies provided by the university.
  • 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 during the 2021 Summer and Fall terms.

Hygiene and Wellness

  • Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. A list of symptoms can be found on the CDC website.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling ill.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to use the EAP program to manage stress and to engage in strategies to promote mental wellness.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be provided in each campus building.

Exposure and Positive Case Procedures

  • NWU will continue to monitor and manage all reports of COVID-19 cases in accordance with CDC and local health department recommendations.
  • NWU will continue to perform internal contact tracing as necessary.
  • On-campus testing will not be available for Summer 2021; for the time being, TestNebraska remains available at Gateway Mall.
  • On-campus testing sustainability is being evaluated for the 2021 Fall term.

Operational Procedures and Activities:

Work-Related Travel

  • Effective immediately, faculty and staff will no longer need to seek approval for domestic, work-related travel from the COVID Team, only from their supervisor.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to follow domestic travel guidance as outlined by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html.
  • International travel for professional purposes between June 1, 2021 and August 15, 2021 will be considered on a case by case basis. Consult with the relevant vice president for further information.

In-person meetings

  • Effective immediately, faculty and staff will no longer need to seek approval for in-person meetings. Adherence to physical distancing and face covering protocols is expected while meeting in person.
  • During Summer 2021, some individuals or groups may continue to choose remote rather than in-person meetings.
  • Beginning June 14, indoor meetings and gatherings may include food items.
  • Effective immediately, outdoor meetings and gatherings may include food items.

Returning to on-campus work

  • By June 14, staff who worked from home will transition back into their campus office spaces unless they have a medical accommodation to work from home through the Human Resources Office.
  • Faculty who worked from home should transition back into their campus office spaces prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester unless they have a medical accommodation to work from home through the Human Resources Office.
  • Medical accommodations to work from home beyond the deadlines listed above must be coordinated with Maria Harder in the Human Resources Department.

Outside groups using campus facilities

  • Beginning July 12, we will start considering requests for usage of our facilities by outside groups.

Summary

Phase One: effective immediately

  • Faculty and staff will no longer need to seek approval for in-person meetings. Adherence to physical distancing and face covering protocols as described above is expected while meeting in person.
  • Outdoor meetings and gatherings may include food items.
  • Face coverings are optional while outdoors, in private spaces, and low-density indoor spaces.
  • Individuals whose offices moved temporarily may begin moving back into shared office spaces.
  • Faculty and staff will no longer need to seek approval for domestic, work-related travel.
  • Faculty and staff will no longer need to seek approval for in-person meetings.

Phase Two: As of June 14

  • Indoor meetings and gatherings may include food items.
  • Staff who worked from home will have returned to their campus offices.

Phase Three: Beginning July 12

  • The university will start considering requests for usage of our facilities by outside groups.
  • Guidelines for Fall 2021 Semester will be announced in July.

Approved by Ad Council 5/25/2021

Academics

Summer Study Abroad Programs

Faculty-led study abroad programs for summer 2021 have been canceled due to ongoing safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. NWU intends to make a decision about remaining summer 2021 programs approximately 90 days prior to program start dates. Programs with start dates in late summer (July-August) may prove feasible, depending on the timeline of COVID-19 vaccinations and easing of travel restrictions.

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.

Past University Updates

 

Campus Resources