How We Keep Our Community Safe

How We Keep Our Community Safe

—by Sarah Kelen, vice president for student life

In these final weeks before your student leaves home, we ask that they continue to follow all CDC guidelines about social distancing, mask wearing, and avoiding large groups. Each member of our community has a role to play in minimizing the risk to themselves and others. When every member of our campus community follows the necessary protocols, we are promising to protect roommates, teammates, fellow ensemble members, professors, staff and, inevitably, the health of our loved ones at home. Together, we will “protect the pack!”

If testing is available in your area, we encourage incoming students to get a COVID-19 test. If your student tests positive, they should let us know at studentlife [at] and make plans to delay their arrival. If a student’s household member or another close contact tests positive, we ask that the student quarantine for 14 days, monitor for symptoms, and retest before coming to campus. Faculty and staff will support the student in starting classes remotely if that is necessary.

Prior to the start of the semester, we ask that students register with TestNebraska (, which will provide better access to testing. All students attending school in Nebraska for the 2020-2021 academic year can register for TestNebraska.

Another important aspect of keeping our residential community safe is reducing unnecessary travel off campus. We hope you will encourage your student to take advantage of social opportunities on campus both to promote their connection to their new campus community and to reduce the risk of community exposure to coronavirus. When students do leave campus for work or other obligations, we ask that they exercise caution and follow the same social distancing practices off campus that they would follow on campus.

If your student is a commuter, we hope they will avoid large gatherings and follow CDC guidelines on mask use and social distancing off campus as well as on campus.

Thank you for helping us foster a safe and supportive campus community for your student.

Sarah Kelen, Ph.D.


Sarah Kelen has taught English at NWU and studied Medieval literature at Columbia and Cal-Berkeley.