Dear Campus Community,
We will start the spring semester with an elevated sense of belonging and purpose as we are Back & Bold and safe with all faculty and staff returning to campus. We should celebrate our continued commitment to safety protocols and high vaccination rates- 95% for employees and 80% for students. Our care for each other will be of utmost importance as we resume in-person operations and in-person instruction. Keeping our campus safe also relies on personal action, individual commitment to following prevention measures to protect yourself and others. I ask that each of us do our part at work and home.
After two years of managing the pandemic, we now have valuable experience, plans for changing course if needed, and standing committees entirely devoted to managing our response to the pandemic.
Review updates and information on key areas:
On December 21, the Interim Legislative Commission met and did not give final approval to extend the regulation requiring student COVID vaccines to register for classes at institutions within NSHE. Following direction from Chancellor Rose, all student registration holds for the spring semester based on not having a COVID-19 vaccine have been lifted.
On December 30, the NSHE Board of Regents voted to direct Chancellor Rose to draft a letter in support of a student vaccine requirement to be sent to Governor Steve Sisolak, the State Board of Health, and the Nevada State Legislature. The Governor’s Office has indicated it will pursue a student mandate through separate regulatory action. Nevada State will closely monitor this process.
On December 30, the NSHE Board of Regents retained the existing employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate. All NSHE employees who were not vaccinated or did not have an approved exemption were terminated on December 31, 2021. A 30-day grace period is in place until January 31, 2022, to allow NSHE employees to request reinstatement upon completion of COVID-19 vaccination. Please read this press release for more details. 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 February 15th.
As the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S., the CDC released new guidance to reflect the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious. The CDC’s updated guidelines for determining quarantine and isolation requirements after being exposed to COVID can be found here: CDC.GOV.
Vaccination has proven to be the most effective tool in ensuring that severe illness and hospitalization are avoided. Nevada State will be hosting two vaccine clinics: January 20th and February 17th, 10 am-2 pm. If you have not received your booster yet, this is a great opportunity. Flu vaccines will also be available.
All individuals who have a potential COVID exposure or are confirmed positive for Coronavirus should self-report at https://nsc.edu/coronavirus/self-report/. Self-Reporting initiates Case Management and Internal Contact Tracing. These steps ensure that impacted individuals and those supporting them have the information and resources they need to help keep our campus as safe as possible.
Temporary Emergency Remote Work Accommodation
The College continues to work towards finalizing an Alternative Work Arrangement Policy. Pending the implementation of that policy, alternative work schedules and remote work is not authorized.
However, as we continue to operate during a pandemic, there may be situations that require Temporary Emergency Remote Work Accommodations. As such, employees who have self-reported and are confirmed as required to quarantine/isolate may, with the approval of their supervisor, work from home for the duration of the quarantine/isolation period so long as they are well enough to do so. Also, if an employee is required to care for a dependent who is under quarantine/isolation with the approval of their supervisor, they may request a Temporary Emergency Remote Work Accommodation.
Health and Safety Protocols
Nevada State continues to utilize health and safety protocols such as face-covering requirements, campus-wide sanitation stations, additional campus cleanings, use of plexiglass partitions, increased air ventilation, and use of MERV 13 air filters. We are starting the ventilation and exhaust operation earlier before normal building occupancy and extending the ventilation and exhaust operation after normal building occupancy schedules for each day.
Overall, we remain steadfast in our purpose to serve our students and but also ready to pivot if the circumstances require it. We ask for your continued compassion and support as we move forward to prepare for a successful Spring ’22 semester.
Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard