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Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

With COVID-19 transmission rates remaining high locally and nationally, and the Omicron variant still very much of a concern, I am announcing today that we will extend our University face covering requirement while being flexible in our response.

In early January, with the beginning of the spring semester, I announced that face coverings would be required in all indoor spaces on our campuses, with a few limited exceptions, through Jan. 31, while we continued to monitor and assess the situation.

While there is hopeful data showing early signs of decreasing COVID-19 cases nationally, community transmission rates, hospitalizations, and other factors point to a need for continued vigilance.

With that in mind – and with the unpredictability of this virus – we are resetting the face covering requirement to expire March 4, while also engaging in weekly reviews to determine if any changes are necessary.

In that review, we will continue to monitor conditions and any local, state, and national regulations and orders.

Should we determine, through a thorough and thoughtful assessment, that the requirement be altered, extended, or lifted, we will notify the campus accordingly. March 4 is the Friday before spring break for our undergraduate students.

This face covering requirement will continue to extend to our athletic venues, including fans attending our women’s and men’s basketball games in D.J. Sokol Arena and CHI Health Center Omaha.

Face coverings will be required for all attending events for Founders Week, which begins Monday, Feb. 7. Seating for my convocation address and accompanying awards ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Mike and Josie Harper Center, Hixson-Lied Auditorium, will accommodate physical distancing, or you can watch live online.

Creighton will abide by the city of Omaha’s mask mandate, as long as that order is in force, and any subsequent government regulations or orders; however, the University may extend its face covering requirement beyond these mandates.

Exceptions to the University’s face covering requirement include our residence halls, while seated in our dining halls and eating or drinking, while exercising, or while in a private office space.

Our face covering requirement accords with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that individuals – even those up to date on their vaccines – wear a face covering indoors in public, in areas of high transmission, to maximize protection and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.

COVID-19 Supplies: Campus Distribution Sites

I am pleased to announce that we plan to work with student groups and others to distribute complimentary cloth, pleated, KN95 and N95 masks – along with disinfectant wipes and spray bottles of hand sanitizer – at various times and locations around campus.

The items will be available for all students, faculty, and staff; however, we ask that only members of our community involved in clinical laboratory or patient-care settings pick up an N95 mask.

The first distribution event will be tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 27), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Mike and Josie Harper Center. A table will be set up just beyond the front desk along the northeast hallway across from Starbucks, and a representative from Environmental Health and Safety will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon to provide fit testing for N95 masks.

Faculty and staff also can request COVID-19 supplies through their school, college, or department facilitators. A list of facilitators is available on our COVID-19 website under the “Requests for COVID-19 Supplies, PPE” tab.

Vaccination Clinic in Phoenix

We will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus – Phoenix, inside the Doris S. Norton Ballroom, on Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for students, faculty, and staff. Primary and booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available. You can register for an appointment online. As a reminder, please upload proof of all vaccinations to the Birdhouse.

I continue to be impressed by the many and creative ways our community has rallied together to support one another during this pandemic, and I am grateful for your care and concern for others in embracing these guidelines.

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD