UNL announces COVID-19 return plans that ditch required testing

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced its COVID-19 plans for the upcoming semester early Wednesday morning.

The fall semester is set to begin on August 22nd, less than three weeks from now. However, there are a couple of things you’ll no longer need to worry about.

The Safer Community app, for one, will not be coming back. Now, the university’s COVID-19 Portal will be the only way to get access to current and previous test results and to voluntarily share your vaccination status. UNL encourages students, faculty and staff to update their status on the registry because it will help the university to decide how best to respond if there is an outbreak.

“The Safer Community app is no longer needed, so we are discontinuing that,” Office of University Communication Public Affairs Director Leslie Reed said. ‘The information will be available through our Nebraska app or through our COVID-19 website.”

The portal was used by those who did not have a phone or who opted not to use the Safer Community app before, but now everyone is to use it.

With the COVID-19 risk dial still in the low orange category, work with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department has come to a decision. Students and staff will not be tested as they come back for school.

“All along, throughout the pandemic, we’ve been working with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department to develop our COVID response, and on their recommendation in previous semesters we did do reentry testing,” Reed said. “We don’t have that recommendation for this fall, so we won’t be doing reentry testing.”

UNL officials say COVID policies will remain similar to those in the past.

“We’ve made an announcement about our testing policies for this fall semester,” Reed said. “I want to emphasize that the most important thing is voluntary testing will still be available to our community. This doesn’t reflect a policy change in any way.”

Free, saliva-based testing will be voluntary and available to all students, faculty and staff who are symptomatic or exposed to the virus.

Testing will be available every day of the week but Saturday, at only two locations.

But be aware the East Campus location won’t open until the first day of classes on Aug. 22, due to construction. The only location open until the start of school is UNL’s City Campus Union site.

Officials say if you want to continue receiving alerts about COVID-19 testing, you can use the Nebraska App.

However, it will not directly report results.

You’ll still need to sign in to the COVID-19 Portal.

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