UNLV resuming on-campus operations - Step One

Jun. 1, 2020

Dear colleagues, 

Today we begin the gradual and methodical transition to start resuming on-campus operations in steps. In this first step, we welcome a small group of UNLV employees over the next couple of weeks who will be resuming work from their offices after months of working remotely. In doing so, UNLV joins Clark County and many other local government jurisdictions – as well as Nellis Air Force Base and the Clark County School District – by starting to slowly return to their campuses and offices.

The transition back will be an adjustment for everyone. In addition to the natural anxiety regarding COVID-19, we had become accustomed to our home working environment and now are changing our setting yet again. This may feel unsettling at first but my experience has been that it subsides relatively quickly.

We continue to consult with local public health officials, including our own faculty experts, as we make the transition to return to campus. While the number of identified cases in the state has increased because of the significant increase in testing, hospitalizations continue to decline, which health experts say is the best indicator to measure the actual incidence of the virus. Over the next few weeks, we will implement safety measures to reduce risks related to working on campus and we will monitor community conditions before making the decision to move forward with steps 2 (early July) and 3 (early August) to bring most individuals back to campus. 

Additionally, we’ll also be adjusting our fall schedule to significantly lower the number of students on campus and the density within individual classrooms, including shifting all sections with 75 or more students, and other appropriate courses, to remote delivery. The current estimate based on accommodations for vulnerable individuals and faculty considerations is that roughly 50 percent of our classes will be in-person and 50 percent remote.

Provost Chris Heavey and I have been collaborating with Deans and Faculty Senate Chairs (past and current) to initiate the process whereby departments work with their faculty to identify which specific courses/sections will shift to remote delivery. This modified schedule will be available later this month so students can be notified. As we get nearer to the start of the fall semester and throughout the term, we will continue to monitor conditions and continuously assess the appropriateness of our operating procedures, including the safety of in-person instruction. 

We are still evaluating how – and when – to open large, public facilities such as the Student Union, Performing Arts Center, Recreation Center, and similar venues. These provide a greater challenge because of the volume of people that use the facilities at one time and the need to have sound social distancing protocols and enhanced sanitation procedures in place. 

We are scheduling a second town hall on the morning of Tuesday, June 23, to maintain an open dialogue and get additional input. More details will be sent to you and will be posted at unlv.edu/coronavirus.

The health and wellbeing of our faculty, staff, and students remain at the forefront of all of our decisions as we work to fulfill our educational mission. I am grateful for your fortitude and trust. 

Warmly, 

Marta Meana, Ph.D.
UNLV President