From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has worked diligently to ensure the health and safety needs of our campus community. Health and safety strategy for the campus has been based on protecting the health of our students, faculty and staff by minimizing the spread of illness while addressing operational, instructional and business continuity considerations for our students’ ability to attend classes, our faculty’s ability to teach or conduct research and our staff’s ability to come to work.

The following steps are being followed in line with county, state and federal coronavirus safety guidelines.

Require facial coverings per the governor's directive

Facial coverings are required for all employees, students, vendors and visitors while on campus (at University office, property, field work or sponsored event) in all indoor and outdoor University public spaces. This includes classroom, laboratory, any type of in-person instructional activity, except when alone in a private office, bathroom stall, or residence hall room; or while eating/drinking, or unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, against documented industry best practices, or not permitted by federal or state laws/regulations. Facial coverings may be removed while eating or drinking outdoors or in designated indoor spaces (guidance on accommodations for consuming food and drink will be forthcoming), but must be replaced immediately when finished eating or drinking.

A “face covering” is defined as a “covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, including without limitation, cloth face mask, surgical mask, towels, scarves, and bandanas” (State of Nevada Emergency Directive 024). The University has the authority to require students to wear facial coverings. A student may seek an accommodation under the ADA through the Disability Resource Center (DRC); an employee may seek an accommodation under the ADA through the Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a directive effective June 26, 2020 requiring that all Nevadans and visitors to the state wear mandatory face coverings when they are out in public, with a few limited exceptions. In accordance with Gov. Sisolak’s directive and in alignment with previous health and safety instructions from the former Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, the directive mandates that face coverings must be worn in any public space, including public transportation, public facing work environments or when patronizing businesses, or interacting with others in generally publicly accessible space.

The University also continues to stress that employees must maintain social distancing of at least six feet apart.

Reduce each person's potential for infectious contacts

Reduce the density of individuals on campus and in work/learning spaces to through “HyFlex” teaching modalities and by following State of Nevada’s latest guidelines for large gatherings of people.

The University is gradually expanding occupancy of staff in offices, as well as classroom occupancy. Supervisors have been encouraged to use work schedules that will limit physical density while maintaining operational efficiency. HyFlex teaching modalities, which offer in-person classroom meetings via Zoom help mitigate the potential transmission of the virus by limiting classroom entering and exiting bottlenecks, etc.

Practice social distancing throughout the University campus

Practice social distancing of at least six feet apart in all buildings, classrooms and workspaces on campus

Social distancing of at least six feet is required at all times, unless a task requires workers to be in closer proximity for only the duration of the task. Classroom modifications under the HyFlex model for physical spacing have been made. Computer lab use will include protocols such as separating computers at appropriately safe distances and disinfecting of keyboards after every use. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use technologies such as Zoom for group meetings.

Scale cleaning and sanitizing capacity to meet public health guidelines

Provide greater sanitation measures, including regular disinfecting of “high-touch” areas as well as adhering to health and safety guidelines regarding environmental/workplace/classroom safety concerns.

  • Facilities Services is cleaning and disinfecting all common areas and “high-touch” points each day.
  • Acrylic barriers have been installed in places where there are significant in-person, face-to-face transactions, in more than 300 areas throughout campus.
  • ADA-compliant hand sanitizing stations will be placed near the main entrances of all buildings.
  • ADA-compliant sanitizing wipe stations will be placed in each classroom.
  • Students and faculty are instructed to wipe down their personal space between classes.

Facilities Services has implemented the following steps based on these standards as well as CDC guidelines:

  • Increase outside air to the maximum extent possible provided the temperature set point is maintained.
  • Improve air filter efficiencies. Each HVAC system will be evaluated to increase filter efficiencies where possible. About 90 percent of the campus filters are rated at MERV 8, which removes particles 3-10 microns in size. This is a standard commercial building filter. Upgrading these filters to MERV 11 will improve the efficiency to remove particles as small as 1-3 microns; this effort to change to MERV 11 is ongoing.
  • Operate the HVAC Systems 24/7 to maximize the effect of ventilation and air treatment.

Develop public health awareness materials

The University has developed a comprehensive signage plan for building common areas and department assigned space.

For common areas, there are three distinct signs:

  • COVID signs and symptoms. Located near main building entrances
  • Wash Hands (ADA-compliant with Braille). Located near the existing room signage;
  • Social Distancing in Elevators (ADA-compliant with Braille). Located near elevator call buttons.

Department suggested signs are available and can either be printed by the department, or by the Copy Center. Floor decals, to identify the six-foot mark for social distancing in the form of simple wolf paws, have also been placed throughout campus.

Implement required training protocols for employees and contractors

Require mandatory COVID-19 training for on-campus employees and students, which includes instruction on physical distancing, proper and safe use of hand hygiene and sanitation, face coverings and health assessments.

A variety of training courses have been developed which have guided an orderly and safe return to campus. The following employee training modules have been made available on WebCampus (Canvas).

  • General COVID-19 Training for University Personnel (Required for all on-campus employees)
  • COVID-19 Training for Research Laboratories and Creative Activities (Required for anyone working in a research laboratory or studio)
  • Supervisor’s Training for COVID-19 (Required for anyone supervising at least one employee)
  • Well-Being in the Time of COVID-19 (Voluntary for all on-campus employees)
  • COVID-19 Student training for students via WebCampus

Develop coordinated testing, treatment and contact tracing processes

A prepared public health response through resources for testing, treatment and contact tracing conducted in coordination with the Washoe County Health District.

The Student Health Center (SHC), in collaboration with the Washoe County Health District (WCHD), is assisting with access to viral testing for students and employees with symptoms, and will work closely with WCHD for contact tracing, identification and quarantine of all persons exposed to COVID-19. SHC will report all positive COVID-19 tests to WCHD. SHC will assist with management of all students with COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis and all students under quarantine after exposure, including placement in isolation/quarantine housing, psychological support, support for basic needs, and ongoing monitoring while isolated.