Planning for Fall 2021

Chancellor Green with mask on, sitting at desk.

March 5, 2021

Dear UNL Students, Faculty and Staff:

As the arrival of some much-needed warm weather helps us shake off the winter, it is wonderful to see students enjoying themselves outside on campus. There is a bit of spring in all of our steps and an anticipation of the rest of the year. Which has started to bring to life questions about what the Fall 2021 semester will be like at UNL.

One of the things that has given me the greatest pride during this pandemic has been the way our faculty, students and staff have responded. Your discipline, flexibility and creativity are what have allowed us to lead the Big Ten in our levels of safe, in-person education, research and creative activity.

Our commitment to an in-person campus experience continues, and we are working to be as close to pre-pandemic activities as we can safely be by Fall. While there are many things still unknown, there are several important areas guiding our Fall plans that we can share.

  • We are planning based on the assumption that by mid-August, anyone in the university community who chooses to be vaccinated will have been able to take advantage of that critically important opportunity.
  • We expect to be operating our classrooms at full capacity. Classes which are normally taught in-person we expect will largely resume being in-person. Classes which have traditionally been asynchronous, online courses will continue along with a few courses instructors and students have learned are better conducted online.
  • Web-conferenced, “Zoom” classes will be a rare exception.
  • The level of COVID testing and personal protective measures, including the use of face coverings, will be determined closer to the Fall semester based on local conditions and in close coordination with local public health officials.
  • Dining services will proceed with lifting restrictions at the end of the Spring semester while keeping within any current directed health measures and university policies. Residence halls will continue to offer isolation housing on an as-needed basis.
  • University facilities such as Libraries, Nebraska Unions, Lied Center, State Museum, Sheldon Museum of Art and the International Quilt Museum will lift restrictions as allowed by directed health measures.
  • Exceptions to being on campus provided through the Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement and student accommodation process will be more narrowly defined and more limited.
  • We expect to be in a position to lift the general prohibition on university sponsored travel once the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department verifies that vaccination of the education sector within Phase 1B has been completed.
  • The completion of vaccine delivery for education in Phase 1B will also allow the resumption of greater in-person research activities.

Of course, should local circumstances or those on our campus result in an increased threat of COVID-19 transmission, we will adjust these plans as needed to continue to ensure the safety of our UNL community and the greater Lincoln community.

We are still in the early planning stages and are providing this information to begin to give you a sense of what to expect as a Husker this Fall. We will continue to provide additional details as soon as we are able, and full information will be provided on our COVID-19 website.

Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor