Remain vigilant and stay diligent during Labor Day

September 3, 2020

This message was sent to students, faculty and staff at the University of Nevada, Reno.

To Our University Community:

We have reached nearly two weeks of instruction for the fall semester. During this time we have seen a number of promising developments on our campus as our students, faculty and staff have worked together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The vast, vast majority of you are following our policies and procedures and these efforts speak to a positive and proactive culture on our campus, one that promotes the idea of a healthy campus — one where individual decisions and their implications are benefitting the University as a whole.

Unfortunately, there have been some troubling reports of behavior off campus that need to be addressed. The City of Reno, University Police Services and Student Conduct are aware of individuals as well as groups that have held large parties, without social distancing and without facial coverings. These parties put not only the University Community at risk — they jeopardize the entire public health effort that Washoe County has been following since the outbreak of COVID-19 in mid-March. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University developed numerous trainings and resources for students to educate them on the expectations and policies that govern them on campus.

In addition to policies governing students on campus, the Student Code of Conduct (which students have access to via the Office of Student Conduct website and via the General Course Catalog), enables the University to also take action in off-campus incidents that violates the Student Code of Conduct and “adversely and directly affects the health, safety, or property of the University community.” Factors considered by the University can be found on the Office of Student Conduct webpage. Students who are investigated for off-campus parties may be investigated for the applicable off-campus Student Code violation. Please read the full list of conduct prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct. Students are expected to follow all state and local laws, including those related to social gatherings and their permissible sizes.

Students and student organizations who are found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct are exposed to the full range of sanctions provided in the Code, including suspension, expulsion and loss of recognition for student organizations.

Large gatherings without proper health protocols, as numerous examples at other college campuses have demonstrated over the past several weeks, have led to spikes in the rate of infection on college campuses. These spikes can adversely affect the health of dozens of individuals. They also put the academic calendar at risk. This is behavior that under the current circumstances cannot, and will not, be tolerated by the University.

Let me be clear: Students should not engage in off-campus behavior that violates the Code and adversely and directly affects our community. If they do, they face sanction from the University.

With the Labor Day weekend looming, we ask that all of our people – students, faculty and staff – think in terms of maintaining contact only with people you know. These are individuals you know are practicing all of the required public health protocols. If they are not, avoid them. Make sure to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing. Gathering remotely is a good alternative to gathering in groups. When you are making decisions, think of the greater good – how your decision affects you and could, in a few days, affect the health of your family, fellow students, co-workers, friends and our community.

In order to help “trace” your own activity relative to the health of others, the State of Nevada is now offering a helpful app, “COVID Trace.” This mobile app exchanges information via Bluetooth and is completely anonymous and protects your privacy. Once installed, the app will alert you if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and will explain your next steps to deal with this information. Download the free app to get started.

The vast majority of the members of our University Community are taking the necessary precautions to promote a healthy campus. So many of you understand that taking individual responsibility for what you do helps keep other individuals safe. Let’s continue to mind the public health recommendations we hear so often: wear facial coverings, maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, and avoid mass gatherings. Make your Labor Day weekend a safe one.


Marc A. Johnson