The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will complete the fall semester uninterrupted despite an indication of a “severe” risk of spread of the coronavirus in the Lincoln community.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department moved its COVID-19 Risk Dial into the red Friday afternoon, the highest it's been since its implementation, and new restrictions are now in place for the city of Lincoln.

However, not much will change for UNL, according to an email from Chancellor Ronnie Green. 

Green said there is not a need to discontinue in-person classes or to have students leave university housing because of the vigilance of the UNL community, testing trends and health department recommendations.

He also said no further restrictions will be implemented for faculty and staff, though they are continued to be encouraged to be as flexible as possible with the dial going red. 

“Our UNL leadership meets daily with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, and those public health officials say that one of the safest places right now for our UNL community is on our campuses,” Green said.

Green said positive cases and positivity rates in the university community over the last month have remained “relatively stable.” 

UNL’s positivity rate steadily decreased from the start of the semester, but it has continued to increase since the week of Oct. 7. The current positivity rate for the week of Nov. 4 is 8.28%.

Green also announced that UNL’s random mitigation testing will be suspended the weeks of Nov. 16 and 23 to allow opportunities for any students, faculty and staff to get tested before heading home for the semester. 

The UNL community can make a reservation for a test during these weeks here.

Green commended UNL community members for socially distancing and encouraged them to continue washing their hands and wearing masks. However, increased vigilance is necessary to protect both UNL and the wider Lincoln community.

“Thank you for your incredible efforts this fall; your continued diligence as the semester progressed has led to the stability of our campus environment,” Green said. “We’ve got a few weeks left — please stay strong, be safe and continue to be Cornhusker Committed.”