NU President plans on being back to pre-COVID operations next year, (mostly)

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - University of Nebraska students can plan on a school year next year that’s close to being back to pre-pandemic operations. The first sign of normalcy is happening soon with in-person graduations.

For that success, he largely credits university students.

“They had to change their behavior, all the testing they go through,” University of Nebraska President Ted Carter said.

Carter said that effort has paid off.

“Compared to the other 13 Big Ten universities we had by far the most in-person education and that’s what students were looking for,” he said.

Right now, UNL’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 1.8 percent. Carter said it’s hovered around or under 1 percent for most of the spring semester.

A spokesperson for UNL said this current spike is due to an outbreak among the Alpha Phi sorority which held an event a few weeks ago. The spokesperson said the events were approved and there were risk-mitigation efforts in place but someone with the virus attended and spread occurred. The Alpha Pi sorority is now in quarantine.

The university had several of these kinds of outbreaks in the fall semester, seeing 68 percent of its 3,088 cases in the first semester.

“Nobody knew exactly what COVID-19 would do and how it was spread and when it would rise and fall. We did have some learning to do but we pivoted quickly,” Carter said.

Carter said once they implemented more testing at the beginning of the spring semester, cases dropped.

Now, with low cases and vaccines, they feel comfortable reducing restrictions for next year.

“Across the university we will go back to pre-COVID business as much as possible,” Carter said. “As in-person and normal as possible.”

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