Letter from Romando Nash
August 17, 2020
Dear University of Nevada, Reno Fraternity and Sorority Community:
It is difficult to imagine a more uncertain time. The University of Nevada, Reno has a storied tradition with its fraternity and sorority community and while there have been ups and downs, there has never been any doubt that the University should always seek to put the health and safety of its Greek chapters first. We still believe that’s true, of course, and are moving forward with our plan to return to in-person experiences in a little less than a month. With our anticipated scaled reopening, each of us must be determined to do what’s required of us all.
Doing what we must will include significantly altering our ways. We must adapt to the demands of this virus, as we seek to return to in-person experiences and sustain them through the academic year. To be clear, the nature of this virus and how it is transmitted is heavily dictated by social interaction, group gatherings, or other close contacts with those infected. It’s also important to note that a substantial portion of those infected will show no symptoms, and may be completely unaware of their condition. These factors are particularly challenging in communities that are predicated on group interactions and social experiences.
For these reasons, anything less than true commitment to the public health demands for face coverings, social distancing, symptom tracking, hand hygiene, testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation would be a disservice to our friends, our families, our community, and our University. We must insist on nothing less from both ourselves and those with whom we are joined in this cause, if we are to be together on our campus and in our community. The responsibility is shared among us, and we each must do our part.
In my conversations with your student leaders, I have attempted to reinforce the unprecedented times that we now find ourselves in and be very clear of the risks involved in not following the Governor’s, University’s or Department of Public Health guidelines. As we continue to be in close communication, I appreciate your leadership’s recognition of the risks involved in any social or group gathering and the commitment that they’ve made to host bi-weekly Greek Coalition meetings with all four organizations. But I also need to express that the gatherings that pose substantial risks are not limited to the formal definition of a social used by your organizations. Any group gatherings can create undue risk. As an institution, we have an obligation to continue the monitoring of activities in fraternities and sororities to encourage the compliance required.
But there is so much more we must do together, if we are to succeed. There is not only one thing that is the answer to our challenge. We must create a system of interconnected actions and restrictions that we must all commit to in order to find the success we are seeking. The following list includes those items that require attention from our Greek community.
Special requirements and expectations upon return to campus
(Violation of items in bold below may be subject to disciplinary action)
- No gatherings that exceed state or local government directives and compliance with all other relevant government mandates.
- Wear face coverings on campus, in campus buildings, and wherever the law requires, and consider wearing masks as often as you can elsewhere in the community, even in your residence.
- Comply with physical distancing requirements on campus, in the community, and in your fraternity or sorority activities, and generally avoid crowded locations.
- Fully cooperate with University and other officials responsible for the management of Covid-19 testing, including pre-arrival testing where applicable, contact tracing, and quarantine or isolation.
- Rigorously clean and disinfect your personal space and belongings consistent with public health guidelines, and practice good hand hygiene.
- Limit visitors, particularly out of town visitors, who may pose unusual risks, as you do what you can to minimize the presence and spread of the virus.
- Stay home whenever you feel ill; seek help from the University's Student Health Center.
- Encourage your peers to join with you in doing the right thing at all times; we have to be in this effort together.
A return to campus will not be easy and some of you may choose to learn remotely versus returning. The campus has structured the delivery of courses to allow students to persist with their academic progress remotely, if that is your preference. We encourage you to consider the best option for you and to consult with your academic advisor to ensure that your choice keeps you on the path to graduation.
The challenge that lays ahead of us now is finding a way as a community to ensure a safe return to campus without jeopardizing our ability to remain open. Luckily, we’ve had individuals throughout the University who have been working through this task for months now. I encourage you all to visit and bookmark the University’s Return of the Pack-Preparing for a COVID-19 ready semester web page and review the section that pertains to students. In addition, the following Employee and Student Guidance must be followed in the event of COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or a positive test.
We know that you have missed your Greek community brothers and sisters and that you can’t wait to interact with them. Our goal is that you empower yourselves to do so in ways that encourage the safety and welfare of all of you. Thus, we will be very serious about enforcing compliance with the key requirements. For instance, the beginning of the year parties and gatherings you are accustomed to having simply can’t happen, especially not in the early stages of our return.
You all should be in close contact with your national organizations, your alumni boards, and your housing corporations, as applicable. They each should be playing an important role in directing you and your chapters to positive outcomes. The University will be a strong partner in your efforts, and we will continue to work closely with local authorities. It will take all of us moving in the same direction to make our reopening a success.
I believe that you’ll do your part. Please let me know how I can help.
Romando A. Nash, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Life Services