Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated: April 8, 2020 at 11:40 A.M.
The health and safety of our Maverick community is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of our minds as we respond to the threat posed by coronavirus. In an effort to be transparent and communicative in this uncertain time, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has established the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) list as a resource to answer some of the top concerns heard from the Maverick community.
This webpage will be updated with additional FAQs as needed.
In addition to this resource, check this page daily at 9 A.M. for the most recent announcements.
Jump to information:
- Academic Resources
- Campus Operations: Buildings, Centers and Parking
- Campus Operations: Employment
- Campus Operations: Events
- Campus Operations: Parking and Shuttles
- Campus Operations: Remote Teaching and Learning
- Health Related Questions
- On-Campus Housing
- Research and Creative Activity
- Student Fees
Are the UNO libraries still open?
Following guidance from NU President Ted Carter, UNO Libraries at the Criss Library and KANEKO-UNO Library locations are closed until further notice effective April 8, 2020.
UNO Libraries stands ready to assist students, faculty and staff with a wide range of online support tools.
I need to take an assessment in the Testing Center. Will this service be available?
All scheduled tests for the Spring 2020 semester at the UNO Testing Center have been canceled.
If you have any questions, please call the testing company you registered with or the Testing Center if you registered with the office. Testing Center staff will be working remotely.
Questions about how this may impact accessibility accommodations, please reach out to the UNO Accessibility Services office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Specific resources regarding the move to remote teaching and learning can be found on their website.
Will the UNO Writing Center be available?
Beginning March 30, the UNO Writing Center will resume online appointments only. For more information or to make an appointment, visit the UNO Writing Center website.
I need to speak with my academic advisor before enrolling in summer or fall courses. Will I be able to meet with them?
Yes, academic advisors across campus are holding advising appointments with students remotely (online or by phone).
Schedule through MavTRACK
Will the university campus be shut down/closed?
During this remote learning period, it is important to note that the university IS NOT SHUT DOWN; rather, the goal is to move most campus operations to a remote, online format to reduce occupancy on-campus.
Effective April 8, 2020, all non-essential campus employees are required to stay home and work remotely. Keeping as many employees home as possible will help “flatten the curve” and protect the health and safety of our community.
What buildings are currently open?
While the University is still operational, campus access is restricted for most of the Maverick community. There are a number of buildings that have limited access, requiring prox card access and approvals from UNO Public Safety.
Will food services be available on-campus in the event of a change in campus operations?
UNO Dining Services remain closed until further notice.
Students facing food insecurity can receive assistance through the Maverick Food Pantry.
The availability of campus facilities and services are subject to change as circumstances dictate.
Will the UNO Child Care Center be available?
Following guidance from NU President Ted Carter, the UNO Child Care Center will be closed until further notice effective at 5 P.M. April 8, 2020.
Will Campus Recreation facilities be available?
Effective Tuesday, March 17, at 5 P.M., all Campus Recreation activities and services are discontinued for the semester.
Individuals who have personal items in lockers are asked to schedule an appointment for retrieval by calling 402.554.2539.
How is the university keeping facilities clean and sanitized?
All campus buildings are cleaned and sanitized weekly by UNO’s Facilities team. Cleaning products used in these processes are among those recommended for cleaning and disinfection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
I understand that all non-essential personnel are required to now work from home. What does that mean for me?
If you’ve already been working remotely, this decision won’t change anything for you. This latest step, based on when COVID-19 is expected to peak in our state, makes clear that we expect all employees to stay home unless they are specifically designated as essential on-site personnel.
You will receive a letter from your chancellor or the president letting you know if your physical presence on campus is necessary and that you are expected to continue to report to work on-site if your job requires it. If you don’t receive a letter, you should plan to work remotely pending further communication.
Employees who are not designated as on-site personnel may be subject to disciplinary action if they come to campus after April 10.
I am not considered essential personnel, but I don't believe I can do my job from home, what can I do?
Under a previously announced temporary policy, employees may take up to 160 hours of emergency paid administrative leave for absences related to COVID-19. This leave is available to employees who are directed to stay home and cannot perform their jobs at home.
Further details on paid leave options are available here. The NU system is also analyzing recently passed federal legislation and will share information on additional paid leave options that will become available to employees soon. You may contact the UNO Human Resources office with questions about paid leave.
What policies are in place to support employees who need to self-quarantine or are caring for a family member who needs to self-quarantine as a result of COVID-19?
The University of Nebraska has implemented an emergency leave policy for employees.
Effective immediately and subject to supervisor approval, University of Nebraska employees may take up to 160 hours of administrative paid leave in the event of self-quarantine, quarantine or care of an immediate family member, childcare resulting from school closures, or other related scenarios. A full explanation and list of additional FAQs related to this new policy are listed online.
If an absence is not related to COVID-19, continue to follow sick and vacation leave policies.
Do student employees need to continue to report to campus for their respective jobs?
Following guidance from NU President Ted Carter, all non-essential personnel, including student employees, are asked to work from home.
We realize that there are challenges that will emerge and we want to make sure students are taken care of. Students who find themselves in a financially compromising situation are encouraged to reach out to Dean of Students Cathy Pettid at email@example.com or at 402.554.3523 to find out more about UNO’s student hardship funds.
Students, as well as faculty and staff, can also apply to make use of emergency administration leave during this time, up to 160 hours, as well as an emergency hardship fund established through the NU Foundation.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the emergency administrative leave policy can be found online.
I heard that UNO is under a hiring freeze; is that accurate?
Yes, effective March 27, until further notice, UNO is pausing hiring on all state-aided positions.
Exceptions can be made if units have a position that is deemed mission critical. To request such an exemption, submit requests to UNO’s Office of Human Resources.
This does not apply to open positions in which searches are currently being conducted or positions funded through federal grants or agreements.
I have concerns about my financial planning or retirement; will I still be able to meet with an advisor?
Yes, while regularly scheduled, on-campus meetings with advisors from Fidelity or TIAA are canceled for the foreseeable future, employees are encouraged to set up remote consultations with their respective retirement fund representatives.
Employees can call the same numbers as before to set up their virtual appointments.
Faculty and staff can call the same numbers as before to schedule phone/virtual appointments:
TIAA – 1.800.732.8353
Fidelity – 1.800.642.7131 | NOTE: To avoid long wait times, schedule your phone consultation by visiting getguidance.fidelity.com.
Should we cancel our upcoming event?
Effective immediately, large group gatherings and events outside of classroom instruction are immediately suspended until further notice.
No gathering or meetings of more than 10 individuals shall be permitted, which follows national and state guidelines issued on Monday, March 16. While there may be some exceptions in the future, they will be individually considered based upon viral disease tracking and other considerations.
How will commencement be impacted?
Students graduating in May will have the opportunity to take part in a commencement ceremony Baxter Arena in December. Meanwhile, recognizing the urgency of individuals’ receiving their degrees, students will receive their diplomas and be recognized through an online streaming commencement ceremony in May.
Students graduating in August 2020 will also have the opportunity to participate in the UNO December Commencement Ceremony. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available at commencement.unomaha.edu.
How will athletics competitions be impacted?
All athletic competition, home and away, is suspended for Omaha teams until further notice. This mirrors decisions regarding Division I athletic programs widely across the country.
Will there be open parking on campus?
Open parking will available on campus from now through the beginning of the first Summer 2020 session, on May 18. Anyone may park in general use stalls in faculty/staff and student surface lots and garages on any campus. All signed stalls and timed areas will still be enforced.
Will I be able to get a refund on my parking permit since I do not need to come to campus to finish my class?
For Students: Prorating for student refunds may differ slightly depending on type of permit. Student permit holders will receive a prorated refund from March 15 through the end of the current semester.
For Employees: Faculty and staff parking permit payments that are typically processed as a payroll deduction will not be deducted for the following periods:
- Bi-weekly pay dates: 4/9/2020, 4/23/2020, 5/7/2020, and 5/21/2020
- Monthly pay dates: 4/30/2020 and 5/31/2020
*These payroll deductions will resume after these dates for the remaining permit period ending 8/31/2020
Parking Services anticipates completing student permit refunds by mid-April. After this process is completed, the department will move to processing partial credits for faculty and staff that purchased an annual permit in one transaction with a credit card. Visitor and daily permit passes that were purchased for this time period will also receive credits.
Will shuttle service be available?
Due to guidance related to COVID-19, all shuttle service on UNO campuses will be ending effective at 7 p.m. April 8, 2020.
Shuttle service will not be in operation while employee access to UNO is limited to essential personnel. Once these restrictions are lifted, we will re-instate normal shuttle service operations.
Questions regarding shuttle operations should be directed to UNO Parking Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does the university plan to move to remote-learning?
There are many pieces to this question that this FAQs guide and UNO’s Coronavirus page at www.unomaha.edu/coronavirus seek to address. Generally, it is important to note that the university WILL NOT SHUT DOWN OR CLOSE; rather the goal is to move campus operations to a remote, online format to reduce occupancy on-campus.
All in-person and online courses will be taught through online means using digital platforms such as Canvas, Zoom, VidGrid, and Box. Campus will not be closed, but essential staff members will be on-hand to continue necessary on-campus operations.
Information regarding other aspects of a potential change in campus operations can be found throughout this FAQs guide. In addition, the entire Maverick community is encouraged to check unomaha.edu/coronavirus. The latest announcements will be posted to this central location each day by 9 A.M.
I have an on-campus class. Will I be able to finish my course?
You will be able to finish the course, but classes will no longer meet in-person. All on-campus courses will be moved into an online format for the remainder of the semester.
Students in an on-campus course will be required to complete the course through an online format in order to receive credit for the course.
When will the university move to remote learning?
Effective Monday, March 30, UNO moved all classes in remote learning mode until further notice.
Will courses be offered online for Summer and Fall 2020?
Course information and registration is currently available for five different Summer 2020 sessions, from May through August. UNO has added a number of courses, both online and face-to-face (through virtual meeting software), in key areas of the curriculum which students have told us are vital to their timely progress in their degree programs.
The week of March 30 also marked the beginning of the enrollment period for Fall 2020. Take a look at the variety of classes being offered though UNO's Class Search.
I do not have the means to take courses online, or I have questions.
UNO’s Information Technology Services (ITS) has a limited number of laptops available for checkout. If you would like to be considered for one of these laptops, please apply here. Laptops will be made available to students the week of March 16.
If a student does not have internet connectivity at their primary residence, they are encouraged to communicate with their instructor to determine options and flexibility.
If you have general questions regarding online learning or technical issues with online platforms, contact the Office of Digital Learning. For questions specific to your course, contact your instructor.
Additionally, some local internet service providers are offering significant discounted services to students to assist with the transition to remote learning:
Do I need to come to campus as courses move online?
For Students: UNO will deliver all classes in this remote learning period. Students are encouraged to finish all courses currently in progress.
The university has resources in place so students have access to the same learning opportunities online as they would have through in-person courses. To access those resources, visit keeplearning.unomaha.edu.
If you have any questions, please contact either your department chair or college dean. Plans for some of the more complicated lab/studio/practicum/etc classes are described here at this link.
Requests to drop courses will be examined on a case-by-case basis, but all students will be enabled to complete their coursework online. A limited number of laptops are also available for checkout. If you would like to be considered for one of these laptops, please apply here. Laptops will be made available to students the week of March 16.
For Faculty/Staff: Following guidance from NU President Ted Carter on Tuesday, April 7, campus access is restricted to essential personnel until further notice. Please consult with you supervisor on how to best accomodate any impact that this may have on your duties.
Are students still required to come to campus for labs that require software only available on campus computers?
Please contact your instructor for updates specific to your course.
What if I have a practicum or another course that requires hands-on instruction or off-site work?
Contact your instructor for updates and questions specific to your course. For off-campus learning experiences such as internships, practicums, and the like, stay in close contact with your instructor as well as your direct report at your off-campus site.
What should a student do if their instructor is not following the remote learning practices?
Faculty have been instructed to use the resource page available to them within Canvas in order to make remote learning the most convenient and adaptable way for their students to continue with their class studies. Students are also encouraged to visit UNO's Online Student Support Services website to find resources to best help them with remote learning during through the remainder of the semester.
Any student with such a concern may contact the dean of the relevant college.
I'm a faculty member who needs help moving course materials to an online platform. Who can I contact for help?
UNO’s Office of Digital Learning is here to help! Using tools like Canvas, Box, VidGrid, and Zoom can enable you to continue instruction through digital means. Regardless of the course or instructional needs, staff members from the Office of Digital Learning can help develop innovative course materials so that students receive equal or enhanced learning opportunities in a remote setting.
Resources are available at keepteaching.unomaha.edu.
Contact the Office of Digital Learning, at email@example.com for assistance.
How Can I Make Sure My Zoom Meetings are Secure?
With more people using Zoom than ever before, the video-conferencing platform has become a target for unwanted attendees to try to interrupt meetings in a number of disruptive capacities. This gatecrashing, or “Zoom-bombing,” has been reported nationally, and has occurred at a number of other universities.
While the University of Nebraska has not yet received any reports of gatecrashing in NU Zoom meetings, we encourage everyone to be prepared and take a few preventative measures to avoid these unwanted disruptions as you set up your meetings. NU Information Technology Services has put together some best practices on ways to keep your Zoom activity safe.
ITS will keep you updated if Zoom takes any additional action to protect their service.
How will UNO communicate information about a change in campus operations?
In the event of any change in campus operations, the administration may use various means to communicate—much like other potential campus emergencies. Information on how UNO communicates emergency information can be found on UNO’s Emergency Information site.
We have faculty who can provide expertise on a topic related to COVID-19. Can we create content on this and publish it?
In order to keep campus messaging around UNO’s response to coronavirus consistent, we ask that any coronavirus-specific content you share on your web and social platforms come from official messaging created or shared by University Communications, and refrain from creating your own content.
That said, there may be opportunities for faculty experts to share their expertise with media. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any media pitch ideas. Here are past examples:
- Chris Decker, Ph.D., on potential economic impact of COVID-19 (College of Business Administration)
- Kate Cooper, Ph.D., on tracking the genetics of COVID-19 (College of Information Science & Technology)
What should I do if I feel that I might have contracted COVID-19?
Anyone who has reason to believe they may have contracted COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms should contact their primary health provider. If needed, the Douglas County Health Department can also be reached at 402.444.3400 to determine the proper next steps.
Do I need to wear a mask if I am on campus?
The CDC and Douglas County Health Department are recommending individuals wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. By wearing a mask, you protect the person next to you and when other people wear a mask, they are helping to protect you.
Note: The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Please consult the Douglas County Health Department's FAQ page or information line for specific questions.
Can I be seen at the Nebraska Medicine-UNO Health Center if I am experiencing symptoms that could be related to COVID-19?
If you are experiencing symptoms, please do not visit the Nebraska Medicine-UNO Health Center. Anyone who has reason to believe they may have contracted COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms should contact their primary health provider. If needed, the Douglas County Health Department can also be reached at 402.444.3400 to determine the proper next steps.
What should I do if I have been asked to self-quarantine?
If you haven’t already, please contact the Douglas County Health Department at 402.444.3400 to determine the proper next steps and abide by your orders to self-quarantine. If you live on-campus and have been asked to self-quarantine, please contact Dean of Students, Cathy Pettid at email@example.com or 402.554.3523.
Will students who have lack of access to insurance be available to access free testing for COVID-19?
We are working very closely with the Douglas County Health Department and exploring options regarding financing. We are committed to eliminating financial barriers for any students who may need this care.
How is the NU benefits plan supporting employees who may need to cover medical costs related to COVID-19 or disruptions caused by COVID-19?
The University and our health insurers have taken actions to assist our employees and their families during this time.
To ensure members have access to testing, there will be no member cost sharing for COVID-19 tests. Claims for COVID-19 testing will be processed without the typical deductibles and/or co-insurance rates.
100% of the testing cost will be paid by the health plan.
Additional changes and support tools are listed on the UNO Benefits 101 page.
I live in on-campus housing. How does this change in campus operations impact my housing?
We encourage students residing on-campus to return to their place of permanent residence because there are advantages for social distancing.
For those students living on-campus who are not able to go home or who have work or other commitments in Omaha, we will continue to support our students in residence halls and dining facilities where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged. The availability of campus facilities and services are subject to change as circumstances dictate.
Visitors to UNO, particularly to our residence halls, are strongly discouraged.
Will I receive a refund if I leave my on-campus housing residence?
Yes. In an email to campus on Tuesday, March 17, from Chancellor Gold, students will receive a 60% housing refund on remaining 9 or 12 month contract values with a prorated effective date of March 15.
Refunds will first be applied to any outstanding balances a student may have on their account such as tuition and fees. To take advantage of this refund option, students must formally checkout prior to March 24th.
How will research be affected by this change in campus operations?
Research should continue in a way that is as normal as possible. Lab Principal Investigators (PIs) and individuals important for continued progress on funded research studies are deemed essential personnel and will be allowed access to their laboratories. PIs who have questions or foresee that progress will be significantly impacted are encouraged to contact their Program Officers.
Researchers should keep these laboratory recommendations in mind:
- Prioritize funded research and do not allow unnecessary shadowing or internships.
- Larger labs with lots of essential personnel should devise a strategy consistent with social distancing (e.g. maintain 6 ft separation, work in shifts, etc.)
- Smaller labs should work on a "buddy system" to avoid a situation where they are the only person in a building in the event that an accident occurs (e.g. biological or chemical spill, fire, flood, etc.)
- Utilize good laboratory practices including the use of appropriate PPE, reducing clutter, regularly disinfecting surfaces such as benchtops, common equipment, and computer keyboards.
- In the event of an extended absence, have a plan to secure sensitive equipment, how to receive and store critical supplies, and how to access data.
- For human subject studies, ensure you have access to the databases with contact information in case subjects need to be contacted to cancel appointments or monitored for safety during a trial. Follow guidance from the UNMC IRB.
- Encourage students and staff to make progress on tasks that can be completed in a remote situation.
- Stay home if you feel sick, have an underlying condition that could make you vulnerable to COVID-19, or are caring for an individual who may be vulnerable.
The Office of Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) will be operational, but email communications will be encouraged as the main contact method.
Similar to the other NU System campuses, UNO will not be issuing refunds for student fees. These fees support a significant number of staff positions, many of which are filled by our students. These fees are also essential to maintaining the funding of programs, service contracts, and equipment that are still being used to directly support current and future students in the midst of the pandemic and thereafter.
Examples of program areas funded by student fees include the admissions office, financial support and scholarships, ongoing support for remote teaching and learning, academic advising student employment, psychological and psychiatric services, and student center operations and programming. Please direct questions regarding student fees to Cathy Pettid, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I travel on university-related business?
Effective March 12 through April 30, for faculty, staff and students:
All University-related international travel is suspended.
All University-related domestic air travel is suspended.
Any proposed exceptions for University-related air travel will need to be approved in advance by the responsible Vice Chancellor or Senior Vice Chancellor. In the event of university-related interrupted travel, individuals will be reimbursed for non-refundable expenditures as if the travel had taken place.
Personal international travel is highly discouraged.
Personal domestic travel should be carefully considered and should be limited to essential travel.
Upon completion of any travel, personal or professional, faculty, staff and students may be required to self-quarantine for a period of up to 14 days as based on the current recommendations from the CDC, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the county health department.
If self-quarantine is required, faculty/staff travelers must work with their supervisor on appropriate accommodations and contact Human Resources or Student Health as appropriate prior to returning to work or class.
Students returning from international travel should check in with Dean of Students, Cathy Pettid, or the Office of International Programs, Jane Meza, Ph.D.