Guidance related to COVID-19 variant

Jan. 29, 2021

 

Dear Campus Community,

As we head into the third week of the semester, we are hearing increasing reports of new strains of the coronavirus that are highly transmissible. One variant from the United Kingdom has already been detected in 26 states, including Nevada. Another from South Africa also was recently detected in the U.S. for the first time.

Although we are seeing a reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country and the nationwide vaccination campaign is underway, the spread of more transmissible strains of virus demands that we remain vigilant, maintaining reduced on-campus presence to the extent feasible, and following university COVID-19 safety procedures.

We must redouble our efforts by continuing to wear masks properly, maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others, avoid close contact with people outside of our household, wash hands frequently, and stay home when feeling sick.

Recent guidance from experts suggests that we double or upgrade our masks to ones with two or more layers for better protection than a single-layer mask. Double masking not only adds extra filtration but also covers any gaps around a mask with only one layer.

Whenever you are on campus or in public, we encourage you to wear at least a two-layer mask that fully covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly on your face.

We are optimistic to hear research reports suggesting that vaccines approved for use in our country are effective against at least some of the new strains of the virus, but until we can get all members of our campus community vaccinated, we must not relax any of our current protocols. All university business travel (both domestic and international) and events will remain suspended until further notice.

The vaccination process continues at the UNLV Student Union and CSN Henderson Point of Distribution (POD) centers. We are currently vaccinating instructional and administrative faculty, staff, students and contractors who must work on campus, who are in close contact with others, and who cannot and have not been able to conduct their job duties remotely; faculty, staff, and students who are 70 years of age and older; and others who are identified according to the state's vaccination playbook. Last week, we began vaccinating all educators and staff in PreK-12 in Clark County, including CCSD, private and charter schools.

Depending on the availability of the vaccine, additional campus groups will become eligible as directed by the playbook.

Thank you for your continued partnership to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in our local community. We look forward to brighter days when we will have the opportunity to gather in person once again.

Warm regards,

Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.
President

Chris Heavey, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost