Recent days in Nevada have demonstrated that we live in an extremely dynamic time, marked by the possibility of sudden and unexpected change. Although many variables remain that we cannot control regarding the spread of COVID-19, the University has moved forward, in deliberate and carefully considered phases, in our return to campus. Throughout this process, you’ve demonstrated extraordinary resilience in the face of complex challenges – you all continue to do extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances. Our strategic approach remains focused on the safety and health of all of our people as we advance our institutional missions of teaching, research and outreach.
Based on current and anticipated conditions in Washoe County for COVID-19, the University has updated the Phase 2 Plan for Recovery to reflect current University operations and instruction for the classes in the second term of summer. Our “Reopening Plan – Fall 2020” has been submitted to the Chancellor and Board of Regents. The University remains committed to reopening and welcoming students back for the fall semester with the release of this plan, Reopening Plan – Fall 2020.
In the meantime, we have some important changes and additions to continuing to keeping everyone updated:
- Return of the Pack Web Page: Starting today, the University is changing the layout of our current coronavirus web page that has served us well the past few months. We are now moving to a “Return of the Pack: Preparing for a COVID-19-ready semester,” themed web page to better reflect and make more understandable all of this important information, including our plans for the Fall semester. The “Return of the Pack” main page and its sections for Students, Employees and Health and Safety provide all of the most recent updates, policies and return to work, studying and living on campus guidelines for members of our University Community to follow.
- Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Page: In addition to the new layout for the “Return of the Pack,” the University has also created and activated a page listing confirmed cases of COVID-19 by medical professionals, among students and employees reported to the University, including the best information ascertained about when the individual last had contact with the main campus or other University locations. The information includes only positive cases that the University has been made aware of and through which other members of the University community may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Reporting Form for COVID-19 Cases: The page also includes a reporting form for confirmed cases of COVID-19 for students and employees to report positive COVID-19 tests to the Student Health Center. Although the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) has the primary responsibility for contact tracing in our community, the Student Health Center is working closely with WCHD to provide information about any positive tests that are reported on campus. The form will help inform any needed institutional health and safety decisions going forward. Students and employees are strongly encouraged to use the form when a reported positive has made an on-campus contact.
- COVID-19 Testing Clinic: The Student Health Center has launched our new COVID-19 testing clinic. This clinic provides nasal swab PCR tests for active COVID-19 infections and is available to University of Nevada, Reno students, faculty and staff who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been identified as a contact of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 testing clinic will be available outside the Student Health Center main entrance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. by appointment only. The first two hours (8:30-10:30) will be reserved for University students and the last two hours (10:30-12:30) for faculty and staff. Those who wish to be tested need only call the Student Health Center the day prior to reserve an appointment time. Patients will be required to complete a COVID-19 screening form available through the Student Health Center patient portal from their phone or computer prior to their appointment. Testing is being offered at no charge; however, faculty and staff will need to submit their insurance information when checking in for their appointment.
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, members of the University Community are asked to wear facial coverings indoors and outdoors on campus and other University locations, maintain a safe social distancing of at least six feet, and practice good hygiene such as washing one’s hands regularly. Please continue to be vigilant in using these important public health tools that can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
We wish to remind everyone that flexibility and patience, which have both been in high demand since the onset of the pandemic in March, will continue to help guide the life of our University. We are living in a world that is far from typical at the moment. Yet we remain hopeful that the uncertainties presented by this pandemic have resulted in a nimble University plan. Our plan is designed to provide a safe and secure learning environment while being responsive in safe ways to any changes of the public health threat. Working together and looking out for one another, we will get through this challenge.
Marc A. Johnson