Stay-at-home directive extended until May 4 for UNK employees, student workers

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Nebraska:

Earlier this month, as part of our collective effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 in Nebraska, we announced that we were limiting employees’ presence on our campuses to designated on-site personnel. We said then that we would re-assess our “stay-at-home” directive after two weeks to determine the appropriate path forward.

We’ve decided that, in accordance with Governor Ricketts’ current guidance to “stay home to keep Nebraska healthy,” we will extend this directive until Monday, May 4. Between now and then, we will continue to carefully monitor the spread of COVID-19 across our rural and urban communities. On May 4, if local conditions allow, we anticipate that we will once again allow faculty and staff to physically come to campus if they need to, while continuing to encourage remote work wherever possible.

Your chancellor will share further guidance on access to campus facilities as we get closer to that date. Generally, while we expect that employees will be able to return to their offices if they need to and access certain facilities, remote work will remain our “first line of defense.”

This directive doesn’t change previous decisions related to campus operations:

  • Classes will be taught remotely for the rest of the semester, and summer classes will also be remote.
  • Previously announced plans for commencement remain in place.
  • All study abroad is canceled through the summer.

Until May 4, as we’re doing now, only employees whose physical presence has been officially designated as necessary will be permitted on campus. You should have a letter signed by your chancellor or the president if you’re expected to report to work on-site when your job requires it. Otherwise, as most of us have been doing for some time, simply continue to work remotely until further notice.

A brief Q&A follows this message. Thank you for all that you are doing to protect the health and safety of our community. The more we do to flatten the curve now, the sooner we can return to our more traditional routines of teaching, learning and working. We are grateful for your contributions.

Ted Carter
President, University of Nebraska

Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center

Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Doug Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q: I’m already working from home per the University’s previous guidance. Do I need to do anything differently?
A: No, if you’re already working from home, our extension of our “stay-at-home” directive won’t change anything for you. Our decision to extend our directive is designed to align with Governor Ricketts’ guidance for all Nebraskans to stay home as much as possible for the rest of the month. Keeping as many employees home as we can will help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19.

Q: Should I plan to report back to work on-site on May 4?
A: No. While we plan to make some campus facilities accessible for employees on May 4, we will return to our previous practice of encouraging remote work wherever possible. Supervisors should continue to work with their teams to provide as much flexibility as possible.

Q: How will I know which facilities I’ll be able to access beginning May 4?
A: Campus chancellors will share further details as we get closer to that date. Generally, you’ll be able to access your office and some other campus facilities. Others will remain closed in the interest of the health and safety of our community.

Q: If any Nebraska communities are COVID-19 “hot spots” on May 4, could an individual campus located in or near that community make a decision to extend the stay-at-home directive even if other campuses re-open?
A: Yes. We understand some decisions are best made locally. If an individual campus decides that extending the stay-at-home directive beyond May 4 is in the best interests of its community, that’s certainly an option.

Q: How do I know if I’m designated as “necessary on-site personnel”?
A: You should have received a letter from your chancellor or the president letting you know that you are expected to report to work on-site when your job requires it. If you didn’t receive a letter, you should continue to work remotely until further notice.

Q: I can’t do my job from home. What paid leave options are available to me?
A: Under our previously announced emergency leave policies, employees may take up to 160 hours of emergency paid administrative leave for absences related to COVID-19. Additionally, recently passed federal legislation provides other options for paid leave for COVID-19 related absences. Complete details are available here. We encourage you to contact your campus Human Resources office with questions about your leave options.

Q: Does the stay-at-home directive apply to student workers?
A: Yes, the directive applies to all University of Nebraska employees, including student workers.

Q: I’m a student still living in my residence hall. Can I remain in the dorm?
A: Yes, students who have chosen to remain in our residence halls may continue to do so, following all appropriate guidelines related to COVID-19.