Today we are taking additional steps as we lead through the tremendous change brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect supervisors to ensure that all of our employees able to work from home plan to do so starting Monday, March 23. This includes, importantly, our student workers.
We are especially grateful to those employees who will continue to serve essential positions in-person on our campuses.
Our objective, first and foremost, is the safety of our UNL community, safety of our loved ones and safety of the broader community that we call home. We know that social distancing provides the best opportunity to flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19 and to lessen the impact of this disease — both in numbers and the impact on our health care system.
Our residence halls will remain open for those students unable to return to their place of residence, and we will continue to support those students while practicing social distancing and all proper and recommended hygiene protocols. Because of the necessary actions taken over last week, many students have already checked-out of our residence halls. This gives us a greater number of open rooms and the ability to spread out, as necessary, those who need to remain.
As we transition to an environment of remote learning and, for many of us, remote research, creative activity and work — our focus remains on the education of our students and the continuity of our research mission. We still have work to do, curricula to deliver and research to perform. We need to adjust to doing so remotely now in every way possible.
For our students, I know this is a time of tremendous uncertainty for you. You are waiting to understand how your classes will be delivered on March 30 and for the remainder of the semester. I can assure you that your professors are working diligently around the clock to make that happen successfully. We are determined to ensure this pandemic does not impact your ability to successfully complete your academic journey at Nebraska. We want and expect you, every student, to successfully achieve your Husker degree. For our graduating class, we are committed to finding innovative ways to celebrate this milestone with you if we are unable to have our normal commencement ceremony.
I know our academic leadership, our faculty and our staff have already been working for several weeks to provide classes remotely beginning on Monday, March 30. I have seen the work and I’ve heard the stories of the flexibility, the creativity and the ingenuity being deployed by our faculty and our staff. I thank you for your determination and all that you are doing under these extreme circumstances. We have brilliant minds and some of the best faculty in the world at UNL and I know that we will succeed.
This is a challenging time, for all of us and in a myriad of ways. I know many in our community already face concerns about the health of loved ones, and are now having the opportunity to educate your elementary and secondary school children at home. The challenges we face from this global pandemic are in many ways unprecedented.
But what I know, and what I’ve seen countless times at this university is that we come together. We lend a hand. We figure it out. We get it done.
We are Nebraska. We will come through this, I’m absolutely confident, stronger and better as an institution and as people individually and collectively.
Take care of yourselves. Take care of your family. And I look forward to a successful conclusion to our academic semester.
Thank you for everything that you are doing.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
More information on these actions and facility closures will be available at covid19.unl.edu.