University updates as we approach the start of the spring semester We are preparing for a spring semester that includes in-person instruction and in-person operations (programs and services).

A view looking south on the University of Nevada, Reno Quad, a large lawn area surrounded by trees, walkways and an outer ring of buildings, with Morrill Hall visible at the end of the Quad.

University updates as we approach the start of the spring semester

We are preparing for a spring semester that includes in-person instruction and in-person operations (programs and services).

January 6, 2022

Dear Wolf Pack Family,

I hope this note finds you and yours healthy and safe, and that winter break was a time of renewal, reflection and an opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with family and friends. The start of the spring semester is now before us. Working together, it is my hope that the coming days will be a reminder of the excitement and the energy we all feel during this special time of our academic year.

Over the past few weeks, public health considerations throughout the country and the State of Nevada have meant that there have been some important changes made in the policies and procedures we will be following this semester. Throughout the coming semester our focus will be on maintaining the health and safety of our people by closely monitoring and proactively responding to the latest developments regarding COVID-19. We are following all of the latest public health mandates and requirements set forth by the State of Nevada, Washoe County, the Nevada System of Higher Education as well as recommendations from the federal level including the Centers for Disease Control.

We are preparing for a spring semester that includes in-person instruction and in-person operations (programs and services). Your adaptability, patience and care for one another will be of utmost importance.

Updates on vaccinations, testing, University guidance and campus resources

What follows below are general updates and information concerning several key areas. In addition to this general information, there will be messages sent very soon to specific groups with detailed information about living, working and studying on our campus this semester. These targeted messages will be sent from Student Services to our students, including the members of our residential communities, from the Office of the Provost to our academic faculty and from Human Resources to employees including all supervisors, so that many of your specific questions regarding the coming semester can be answered.

Student vaccinations

On Dec. 21, the emergency regulation requiring a COVID-19 vaccination series for students of the Nevada System of Higher Education was allowed to expire. Following the direction of the Legislative Commission, any student registration hold for the spring semester based on not having a COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted.

During a Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 30, the Board of Regents voted to direct Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose to draft a letter in support of a student vaccine requirement to be sent to Gov. Steve Sisolak, the State Board of Health and the Nevada State Legislature. The Office of the Governor has indicated it will pursue a student mandate through separate regulatory action. The University will continue to closely monitor this process as the spring semester unfolds.

Employee vaccinations

During the same Dec. 30 Board of Regents meeting, it was determined through a vote by the Board of Regents that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees will remain in place.

Currently, the University has the following vaccination rates: Employees are more than 98 percent vaccinated and there are more than 18,000 students who have been vaccinated. Among NSHE institutions, these figures rank us at the top for employee and student vaccinations.

Based on the current vaccination mandate that is in place for employees, mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for unvaccinated employees with exemptions beginning Feb. 15. More details will be made available soon from Human Resources.

Facial coverings

Our campus will continue to comply with the State of Nevada’s mandate that requires all students, employees and members of the public to wear facial coverings indoors in public settings, including classrooms, regardless of your vaccination status.

CDC recommendations and University guidance

There has been a great deal of news recently regarding the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for isolation for the public. Based on these new guidelines, we have received a number of questions about what students and employees should do if they have become infected with COVID-19. We have updated our COVID-19 website with the latest information and guidance for students/class attendance as well as supervisors/employees and classroom instructors.

In addition, the University is strongly encouraging all individuals who are unvaccinated to get fully vaccinated, and those who need a booster to get their booster as soon as they can. Vaccination has proven to be the most effective tool in ensuring that severe illness and hospitalization are avoided.

Campus resources

Vaccinations and boosters. The Student Health Center is offering free vaccinations and booster shots to all students, faculty and staff. Call (775) 784-6598 to schedule your appointment. You may also find a local provider through Immunize Nevada or the CDC’s VaccineFinder tool.

Testing. The Student Health Center, through an agreement with Northshore Clinical Labs, is also offering free daily COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to students, faculty and staff. No appointment is necessary. You must have your NSHE ID or employee ID available and complete a registration form prior to testing. The University has plans to expand testing availability to additional campus sites at the start of the semester based on demand.

Counseling and therapy services. Counseling and therapy services are available to students, faculty and staff. Students are encouraged to reach out to Counseling Services. The Employee Assistance Program is available for employees.

Finally, it is important to note that the success of our semester, as always, will come down to our ability to look out for one another and to work together toward a common goal. We will be constantly monitoring our situation and will be prepared to adjust our actions if needed. I have every confidence in our ability to look out for one another and to Protect our Pack.

Go Pack!

Sincere regards,

Brian Sandoval