May 26, 2021
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reporting that those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume activities without wearing a face covering or practicing social distancing – and with COVID-19 vaccinations rising and cases of illness declining, locally and nationally – I am announcing today a series of important updates to our campus operations.
Effective today, if you are fully vaccinated, you will no longer be required to wear a face covering or practice social distancing on our Omaha and Phoenix campuses. However, if you would feel more comfortable wearing a face covering on campus, please continue to do so.
If you have not been vaccinated, you are expected to continue to wear a face covering and social distance to protect yourself, your family, and vulnerable members of the Creighton community.
Beginning June 1, we are fully opening access to our Omaha and Phoenix campuses, and, effective July 7, all students reporting to our Omaha and Phoenix campuses are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their arrival on campus. At this time, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.
With vaccinations as our greatest defense against the COVID-19 virus, throughout most of the spring semester we actively reached out to students, faculty, and staff, promoting opportunities to get vaccinated, including at the clinic on our campus.
I am encouraged by the fact that 95% of our benefits-eligible faculty and staff in Omaha and 82% in Phoenix were fully vaccinated as of May 25, along with 72% of our Omaha students and 76% of Phoenix students registered for the spring 2021 semester.
The decision to require vaccinations for all students reporting to our Omaha and Phoenix campuses allows us to loosen our COVID-19 restrictions and more fully and safely realize the community experience that makes Creighton so special.
Please note, this requirement for students also includes online and distance students should they come to our Omaha or Phoenix campuses for any reason.
As with other immunizations required by the University, Student Health Education and Compliance will monitor compliance and we will follow the immunization policy set forth in the Student Handbook.
It is important that all students, faculty, and staff upload confirmation of COVID-19 vaccinations to the Birdhouse. For each dose received, please record the date of your vaccination and upload a picture of your vaccination card. An instructional video is available on the Birdhouse website.
As always, if you are ill or become ill, please stay home or return home and notify your professors and/or manager.
Below are some additional details and highlights regarding updated operations. We will continue to provide you with updates as warranted.
- While access to campus is open to all faculty, staff, students, visitors, campus guests, and campus contractors as of June 1, flexible work schedules, with some employees working remotely, will continue as approved. Employees will be notified in advance of any changes to work locations.
- Creighton employees will no longer need to complete the online campus-access form for visitors to gain access to campus, and exterior-door access will be restored for public-facing campus buildings.
- As previously announced, we plan to return to full in-person learning and traditional academic calendars this fall. Specific 2021-2022 calendars for undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are available on the Office of the Registrar website.
- Classrooms, laboratories, and other spaces on campus will be open for usage at full capacity, and residence halls will return to a traditional full-floor format for the fall 2021 semester.
- As of June 1, we will sunset our Pandemic Policy, which outlined compensation procedures and weather/emergency-related closings under a full or partial closure due to the pandemic. We will address updating our weather-related closing policy; watch for more information in the coming months.
- Also, as of June 1, we will sunset the University’s COVID-19 Community Standards, which set pandemic-related requirements for accessing campus, and the COVID-19 Strategy and Implementation Team (SIT), which has been so instrumental in addressing COVID-19 procedures across the University. I would like to thank the members of SIT, and especially chair Tricia Sharrar, JD, vice provost for Academic Administration and Operations, for their diligent work on behalf of the University.
- We will also discontinue our COVID-19 event review process on June 1. Event requests will follow pre-pandemic processes through Centralized Reservations, and will no longer necessitate review by the Event Review Task Group and final approval by the SIT. I am grateful for the tremendous work of the Event Review Task Group, which was chaired by René Padilla, PhD, vice provost for Global Engagement.
- For campus events and activities, including athletic camps, that are indoors and primarily involve participants under the age of 16, we will continue to require everyone in attendance to wear a face covering.
- Temperature check stations were eliminated earlier this year, and we retired campus-wide use of the #CampusClear app on May 14. We also have been updating our travel procedures to conform with public health guidelines; visit our Global Engagement Office website for the latest information on University-sponsored travel.
- Health sciences students, faculty, and staff working in clinical settings or participating in affiliate programs in Denver, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; or Anchorage, Alaska, will need to continue to follow COVID-19 protocols as outlined by the respective clinical facility or location.
As we look ahead with promise, I would be remiss if I did not thank all of you again for your resilience, creativity, and commitment to Creighton University over this past academic year. We faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with a spirit of community, and our responsiveness in establishing, implementing, and following COVID-19 guidelines and protocols was inspiring and reflective of our Creighton culture.
While we are entering a time of great hope, let us also be respectful and mindful of the health and safety concerns of all colleagues, classmates, and guests on campus. We will continue to closely monitor public health directives nationally and locally, and be flexible and timely in our response. The COVID-19 virus and its variants remain a global concern, and we will respond purposefully and expediently should public health conditions warrant. I am confident that we will remain nimble and adjust appropriately, as we did so extremely well this past academic year. In our collective efforts, I am forever grateful for your commitment to our University. Let us continue to stay community, stay cura, and stay Creighton.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD