Important reminders as the semester begins

August 17, 2020

This message was sent to students at the University of Nevada, Reno

Dear student,

Whether you are just beginning your academic journey at your University, or you are a returning student, the University welcomes you. We are living in extraordinarily challenging and historical times. Over the past few months the University has done extensive planning and made a number of important preparations to comprehensively address campus safety, services and operations for the fall semester. These preparations have been guided by the latest public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statewide health and safety directives issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak, direction from the Washoe County Health District, and direction from the Nevada System of Higher of Education.

As we have all learned over the last few months, we are not in charge of the pandemic. We want you and all members of our campus community to remain in good health. We fully expect you to understand the need for precautions as a way to care for yourself and others on campus. We know that facial coverings, social distancing, and hand washing are effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. To promote health and safety for you and all members of the Pack, we must all take personal responsibility for the things we can control: educating ourselves about the Coronavirus, wearing face coverings, social distancing, personal hygiene (hand washing), and following University policy and procedures.

Here are a few important reminders:


Prior to attending classes, students must complete the COVID-19 educational course developed specifically with students in mind. This class will ensure that students have the knowledge and tools needed to promote a healthy return to campus. You are automatically enrolled in this course through your Canvas account. Please log on and complete this course if you have not done so already. We want you to know that faculty and staff are also required to complete an employee version of the class. Supervisors are required to take an additional class about their responsibilities. We are all responsible for promoting healthy practices. We are all in this together!

Face coverings

In response to COVID-19, and in alignment with State of Nevada Governor Executive Orders, Roadmap to Recovery for Nevada plans, Nevada System of Higher Education directives, University of Nevada, Reno President directives, and local, state, and national health official guidelines, face coverings are required at all times while on campus, including in the classroom, laboratory, studio, any type of in-person instructional activity, and indoor and outdoor public spaces. The wearing of face coverings is not required when alone in a private office, bathroom stall, or alone in a residence hall room; or while eating/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). Students who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, or who are unable to remove a mask without assistance may seek an accommodation through the Disability Resource Center.

Social distancing

Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Students shall observe current social distancing guidelines (6 feet) where possible while in the classroom/laboratory setting and in all public spaces. Students should avoid congregating around building and classroom/laboratory entrances before or after class sessions. If the classroom has designated entrance and exit doors students are required to use them. Students should exit the classroom/laboratory and building immediately after the end of instruction to help ensure social distancing and allow for the persons attending the next scheduled class session to enter.

Personal hygiene

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.


Many classes will be taught in person this fall. A majority of these classes will also be available for distance learning via Zoom through technology that has been installed in classrooms. Many classes will also be taught online. In order to comply with social distancing requirements, classes will be configured so that a minimum of 6 feet distancing is maintained. Sanitizing wipes will be available in classrooms.

For classes in alternative instruction modes due to COVID-19, fee structures will not be changed and Distance Learning Fees will not be charged. All other fees remain in place. If circumstances require that classes be moved to entirely online or another mode of delivery, there will be no refund of tuition or fees.

The regular grading policy in compliance with the NSHE Handbook will apply in the fall semester (NSHE Handbook Title 4, Ch. 16, Sec. 37).

Class sessions may be audio-visually recorded for students in the class to review and for enrolled students participating remotely. Students who participate with their camera on or who use a profile image are consenting to have their video or image recorded. If you do not consent to have your profile or video image recorded, keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Students who un-mute during class and participate orally are consenting to have their voices recorded. If you do not consent to have your voice recorded during class, keep your mute button activated and only communicate by using the "chat" feature, which allows you to type questions and comments live.

Information and updates

Students must ensure that their University email address is current and up-to-date within MyNEVADA and check this email regularly for communications from the University, including but not limited to their department, instructor or teaching assistant. It’s also highly recommended that students check the University’s Return of the Pack: Preparing for a COVID-19-ready semester for new information and updates. This will promote timely and accurate communication.

COVID-19 testing

Students with COVID-19 symptoms or who have had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 may be tested, by appointment only, at the Student Health Center. Persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 must follow the CDC guidelines and self-isolate for at least 10 days after the start of their symptoms, until at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without fever-reducing medication, AND until symptoms have improved. Persons who have been in direct contact with someone with COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14-days. Individuals who have tested positive are encouraged to complete the Reporting Form for Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in addition to contacting Dr. Cheryl Hug-English at the Student Health Center to assist with contact tracing.

There may be circumstances under which the University will require testing of some students for COVID-19. The University reserves the right to deny access to campus facilities and services by individuals who fail to adhere to published University COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The University must prepare for changes in the health and safety requirement as directed by Governor Sisolak, the Washoe County Health District, and the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Chancellor’s Office. Therefore, policies and procedures for University operations as well as mode of instruction may change through time. For example, if the incidence of COVID-19 subsides, the University may move to less restrictive social distancing. However, if a significant increase in cases occurs, the University is prepared to return to stronger restrictions with all-remote instruction for a period of time.

Finally, we wish to remind you 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 your time as a student at the University will be one filled with resilience, humility, wonder and hope. This deeply personal journey that you are now on should also be one that is shared and celebrated. We are happy you have now joined the Wolf Pack family.


Marc A. Johnson

Cheryl Hug-English, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Student Health Services

Kevin Carman
Executive Vice President and Provost