COVID-19 Updates

The COVID-19 pandemic altered our daily routines and placed many activities on hold. As a community, we worked together to survive and thrive during this pandemic by sacrificing our norms across campus. With the availability of vaccines, we are seeing a reduction of COVID-19 cases and the lifting of safety restrictions at the local, state, and federal levels.  

We remain cautiously optimistic as we plan and prepare for the Fall 2021 semester. We will provide and maintain the safest and most engaging student and staff experience permissible through our adherence to guidelines and mandates.  

As we transition from the spring semester into the summer, we want to provide the campus with updated guidance for on-campus protocols. The updates below provide information regarding the Fall 2021 campus and learning environment, vaccinations, face coverings, returning to work, physical distancing, testing, and symptom tracking.  

Campus & Learning Environment:

  • Classes will be in-person for the Fall 2021 semester. 
  • Residence halls will operate at normal capacity (Standard visitation rules will also resume) 
  • Social events, including traditional events such as Welcome Week, Homecoming, Family weekend, will occur on campus with adherence to any state, local, or federal guidelines. 
  • Student service operations will resume with normal operating capacity. 
  • Access to facilities, Library, Student Center, labs, eateries, and athletic events will resume.  

Please note that in-person instruction, events, and activities will adhere to the appropriate local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines in place. Virtual options will be made available for major on-campus events. Instruction will be in-class/in-person.   

Vaccinations: 

 NSU expects and strongly encourages all employees and students to get fully vaccinated prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester or as soon as possible. As an institution of higher education, we believe in the science that proves that the vaccines are both safe and effective against COVID-19. It would be a disservice for us not to acknowledge that some people in our community do not trust the medical fields for a variety of reasons, some specific to history related to the African American community and some personal. At this time, we will not require community members to be vaccinated. This decision will require us to implement safety measures to ensure that our employees and students who do not provide proof of vaccination participate in our established safety protocols such as daily attestation, surveillance testing, and isolation/quarantining. This decision will be revisited if the FDA gives the vaccinations full approval. NSU also respects an individual’s choice not to be vaccinated for personal reasons. Please note the following:   

  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that vaccines are safe and effective against COVID-19. While there are associated risks, these vaccines are the best solution we have to prevent the serious consequences of being infected with COVID-19. 
  • Vaccination Status Collection Process:  
    • In June, we will collect information from employees and students regarding vaccination status. We encourage everyone who has been vaccinated to share their status with the University so that we have the most accurate account of immunity. 
    • Employees and students who show proof of vaccination will be: 
      • Excluded from daily symptom tracker requirements 
      • Excused from random surveillance testing  
      • Permitted to dine-in at campus eateries 
      • Permitted to remove masks while outdoors on campus

NoteStudents who participate in groups such as Athletics, Band, ROTC, Theatre, and Choir should know that participation in such organizations and associated events may require vaccination and testing protocols beyond what is articulated here. 

Facemasks and Coverings  

  • Masks are to be worn while indoors. Once we have community vaccination data, we will revisit the indoor mask requirement for vaccinated employees. 
  • All members of the community that are vaccinated do not have to wear masks while outside unless required to do so in a crowded setting or venue. 
  • NOTE: It is not appropriate to ask anyone about their vaccination status 

Transition from Telecommuting to On-Campus Work 

  • Effective June 21, 2021, NSU will transition from telecommuting to in-person for all employees. 
  • All offices will be expected to be fully staffed and open for business during standard hours. 
  • Individuals who would like to request to continue telecommuting for qualified medical reasons must request an accommodation through the Office of Institutional Equity prior to June 10, 2021 at TOIE@nsu.edu or jrrobinson@nsu.edu      

Communication

  • The NSU COVID-19 Dashboard will be placed on pause and will not be updated until return testing commences in late July. 
  • Updates regarding COVID-19 will be sent out via Campus Announcement and the University’s COVID-19 website. As necessary, information may be sent out via the Campus Notification system, Everbridge.  
  • The covid@nsu.edu email address will be monitored, and timely responses issued. 

Symptom Tracking  

  • The Everbridge symptom checker will not be sent out during the summer but will resume once students return for the Fall 2021 semester. 
  • We strongly encourage all members of the community to regularly check their symptoms and get tested if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Testing

  • Students with concerns about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure should contact the Spartan Health Center at 757-278-4129 from 8 a.m. – 12 noon Monday - Friday. Normal operating hours for the Health Center (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) will resume for the Fall 2021 semester.  

Physical Distancing

  • All in-person public and classroom settings will have 6-foot distance between individuals. 
  • Current guidance from VDH for higher education remains unchanged from this past spring 2021 semester. With changes from the Governor on June 15, 2021, will come updates guidance from VDH specific to higher education. The COVID-19 taskforce will review any changes and we will implement any necessary or appropriate changes.  

As we move into the summer, please know that NSU reserves the right to alter our position on COVID-19 vaccines as guidelines change or new information becomes available.