UNR’s reopening plans: in-person and online classes, masks required indoors and out

UNR Campus March 19, 2020

This story has been updated to add more details on who qualifies for free health clinic testing and additional details on classes. 

The University of Nevada, Reno is moving forward with plans to open for the fall semester with most classes still being taught in person. 

“We have heard overwhelmingly from students that this is what they want,” said UNR Provost Kevin Carman.

UNR released a 66-page reopening guide that gives details of what students and employees might expect of college amid a pandemic.

Instruction

Classes, scheduled to begin on Aug. 24, will be in person, online or a mix of both. Classes will also be taught in a HyFlex model, in which the class will be taught in person and available online simultaneously.  Academic departments and professors are determining what classes will be taught in which format. Almost every class will have some in person and remote instruction.  UNR said almost every class will be available for remote instruction for students who do not want to be in the classrom. 

Under Gov. Sisolak’s guidelines there can be no classes of more than 50 students but with 6-feet social distancing rules in place, UNR anticipates most classes with more than 35 students would be online, which is about 1,100 of 4,500 classes scheduled for the fall.

UNR said how a class will be taught will be made available in early August.  Also, about 150 professors have applied for waivers to teach online because of a health concern for themselves or a family member. UNR said most of the waivers will be approved.

Facial coverings

Every employee, student, vendor and visitor in every indoor and outdoor space on campus must have a facial covering. 

Those in a private office or inside their assigned dorm room may remove the mask but it must be put back on if the person goes into the hallway or uses a restroom. Masks must remain on at all times including when giving lectures.  Professors should use microphones. 

Related:What Nevada Governor Sisolak’s mask mandate means for you

No mask could mean a police escort 

A professor can call University Police if a student refuses to wear a mask. Police can remove the student from the classroom. 

Wipe your seat

UNR will provide cleaning materials to every student and employee before every class for every seat and podium. Hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies will be available in all public spaces

The University of Nevada, Reno is seen after closing down on March 18, 2020.

One-way walking

UNR will redirect pedestrian traffic and put guides on where to walk in passageways and paths.  Some areas will be designated as one-way pedestrian traffic. 

Testing

UNR will only regularly test and screen student athletes and coaches but will provide free testing for students and employees who have symptoms or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

An individual who tests positive in a UNR-conducted test and who may have exposed others will be reported, without identifying information, in a public database. People can also self-report their own positive results, which will be part of the collected data.

Read more: UNR tracking students, employees with COVID-19 on campus

UNR said decisions on letting people know about positive COVID-19 cases, an outbreak or building closures will be done on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with health district officials.

Only come to class healthy

Anyone who is sick or appears sick cannot be on campus.  Without widespread testing or screening it will be based on the honor system. 

UNR will set up special dorm rooms for sick students, until they can be tested. UNR will create a quarantine wing in Sierra Hall for students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or other highly communicable condition and are not able to leave campus.

Mandatory training for all 

Every employee and student has to complete mandatory online COVID-19 training before being on campus. Everyone must also compete a one-time health assessment form.  Only student athletes will be regularly screened. 

Building improvements

UNR said it is upgrading heating and air systems in buildings to allow for more outside air circulation. Improved air filters are being used, and heating and air conditioning systems will run 24 hours a day to increase ventilation. UNR is also installing Plexiglass barriers in areas with increased human interaction. 

More:Virginia St. closing southbound near UNR until fall; work on Lawlor roundabout continues

Prepared to go back online  

UNR said it is staying nimble. Currently the plans to reopen are under Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Phase 2 mandates. If the number of COVID-19 cases drop, UNR may move to guidelines under a Phase 3 plan, which would mean less restrictive social distancing.

If cases spike, and the state returns to a Phase 1 plan, UNR is preparing to return to an all remote plan if directed to do so by Sisolak. 

Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal