(Omaha, NE) -- The University of Nebraska Medical Center will require face masks on its campus again.
The policy went into effect on Monday. UNMC cites an increase in COVID-19 transmission across Nebraska and a sharp increase in positivity among asymptomatic saliva PCR tests done on the med center campus as reasons for the move.
UNMC says in late April, campus testing yielded a positivity rate of 0.8%. By early May, that had climbed to 9.2%, and mirrors increased positivity rates seen across the state and country. "The safety of our faculty, staff and students continues to be our north star," said Jane Meza, PhD, interim executive director for health security for UNMC. "Based on current data, these steps are important to protect our mission-critical work."
Effective May 23:
- Procedural masks (surgical, N95s, KN95s) are required for all UNMC students, staff, faculty and visitors in:
- Public, common and patient-facing areas across all UNMC campuses. Public and common areas include but are not limited to: Clinics, hallways, elevators, atrium spaces, bathrooms, lounges, open areas in McGoogan Library and dining areas (except while eating); and
- Non-clinical, non-public areas, including classrooms, and shared office spaces, break rooms, cubicles and conference rooms.
- All research laboratories, instrument rooms and other support spaces unless they are the only one in that space. Some cores may require masks for all those in the core regardless of the number of users.
- Although masks are encouraged in all settings, they are not required when alone in an office or room with a closed door, in individual library study rooms, or when eating indoors or outdoors
- For conference rooms and auditoria, individuals can unmask if the number in the room is 40% or less of the room capacity and all individuals are socially distanced. Socially distanced room capacities for some rooms are available online.
- Procedural masks are required in all areas of Nebraska Medicine, including patient-facing and public areas, as well as such nonclinical, nonpublic areas as office spaces, break rooms, cubicles and conference rooms.
- Masks are required for individuals who have an approved exemption to the vaccine policy. They also may be worn by individuals who are immunocompromised and/or at higher risk of severe disease, as well as those who are more comfortable masking or choose to do so for any other reason.
- Campus administrators may provide additional restrictions for research specific activities and other unique spaces.