June 23, 2021
Dear UNL Students, Faculty and Staff –
I hope you are enjoying a great summer. The opportunity to get out and enjoy life, the summer weather and each other has been precious, particularly after such a challenging year.
As we look to the Fall semester, I wanted to let you know about some of the plans in place to help to continue to protect our community from COVID-19. While the threat may feel distant with fewer restrictions and the ability for vaccinated individuals to freely gather together, it is not gone. Many of the variants, particularly the highly transmissible Delta variant, are sweeping through other countries and continue to pose a very serious threat to the unvaccinated in the United States, even to those of a younger age.
Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccine Registry
Thank you to all of you who have already taken the all-important step of protecting yourself by getting vaccinated. To help us understand the breadth of vaccination rates in our community and more accurately prepare for Fall, we are creating a voluntary COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. You will have an opportunity to upload your vaccination information beginning next week, and we will follow up to inform you when the link is live. You must have completed your final dose in order to register.
By registering your vaccination information, you will have the opportunity to win a number of prizes over the course of the summer and Grand Prizes which will be awarded at the beginning of the Fall semester. Anyone who registers by August 15 will be eligible for the Grand Prizes.
Student Grand Prizes - 5 prizes worth one year of resident undergraduate tuition and fees ($9,872).
Faculty/Staff Grand Prize - trip for 2 to Ireland with Jane and me to watch the Huskers play football against Northwestern in Dublin in August of 2022.
We know that the vaccines available to our international students differ from those offered in the United States. A list of eligible vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and recognized by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, is provided on our website.
Fall COVID-19 Testing
To help us continue to monitor and prevent any spread of COVID-19 on campus in the Fall, we will again require weekly saliva-based testing for all students, faculty and staff who will be on our Lincoln campuses. Regular testing in the Spring allowed us to maintain a positivity rate less than 1 percent and to quickly contain any spread of COVID-19 on campus. Tests will be offered Sunday through Thursday each week and will remain required weekly for those without exemptions, until public health guidance advises that we may be able to pivot to random testing.
Those who have provided documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination in the registry will be exempt from weekly testing. Similar to this spring, those who can document a recent case of COVID-19 or have a medical exception to saliva testing will also be exempt.
We will again utilize the Safer Community App to allow for access to campus buildings and campus activities in the Fall semester. Students, faculty and staff will need to complete their first saliva-based test by Thursday, August 19 to ensure that a negative COVID-19 test result provides for the “Access Granted” status in the Safer Community App by the first day of classes, Monday, August 23. Those who are exempt will have a continuous “Access Granted” status on the app until such time as any vaccine boosters may be required.
Again, I recognize the threat of COVID-19 may feel far away in these summer months. But we are not yet out of the woods. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated for COVID-19, I would highly encourage you to do so now. You can find vaccinations near you through this link. Having a significant portion of our campus community vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and to guard against any spread of COVID-19 on our campus in the Fall. Also, the more who are vaccinated, the more open our campus will be able to be.
Be prepared, Huskers – locate your vaccination cards and be ready to submit them to our registry next week. Good luck in winning one of our great prizes and thanks for keeping our community safe. GBR!
I can hardly wait to see our campuses full and vibrant with activity in the new academic year.
Best regards -
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.