LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and University of Nebraska President Ted Carter held a press briefing to talk about preparations for college students to resume classes on campuses this fall. In mid-March, President Carter announced the cancellation of all in-person classes for the duration of the spring semester. He then helped the University system successfully transition to an alternative learning platform to complete the 2019-2020 academic year. The University of Nebraska will welcome students back to its campuses next month to start the fall semester.
At this afternoon’s press conference, Gov. Ricketts announced that the State will expand capacity at its Test Nebraska lab. Following the expansion, the lab will be equipped to process around 7,000 test samples per day.
Gov. Ricketts: Back-to-School
· President Carter has shown strong leadership in seeking ways to help Nebraska through this challenging time.
· He has proactively mobilized the University’s expertise and resources to aid the State’s coronavirus response.
· President Carter and his team have put an enormous amount of thought, time, and care into developing a plan for classes to resume as safely as possible.
· As Nebraska’s campuses welcome back students this fall, I am confident that the University of Nebraska will be among the most prepared institutions anywhere in the country.
President Carter: Back-to-School
· The work of the State of Nebraska has helped us to be well prepared to open up this fall. The State has provided personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and contact tracing support.
· In late April, the University announced that we had every intention to open campuses to our students and faculty in the fall. We’re ready to do it.
· In-person education is critical to the maturation of our students, especially at the undergraduate level. About 75% of our students are undergraduates.
· Physically being on campus aids the emotional, social, intellectual, and moral growth of young students in a way that remote learning cannot fully replace.
· We’re fortunate to have campus leaders who have worked closely with faculty, staff, the board of regents, and students to prepare for classes to resume.
· We’re also fortunate to have nationally recognized leaders at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to guide us in our planning.
· This will not be a normal year. Some elements of education may still be remote when it makes sense. Faculty are working extra to be prepared for a number of different contingencies.
· We’re reducing the density of classrooms to create more physical distance between students. Our campuses are relatively spread out, and we can take advantage of having so much space.
· We’re going to have testing available for our faculty, staff, and our students.
· The State is helping us with contact tracing, and we’ll have room for students to isolate and quarantine on campus as needed.
· We’re making accommodations for faculty over 65, or with medical conditions, who do not feel safe returning to campus yet.
· In almost every case, we’re creating parallel online pathways for students to learn remotely if needed.
· The arts and experiential learning opportunities will be able to take place in-person, in a safe manner, this fall.
· I also remain optimistic that we’ll have sports this fall in the state of Nebraska.
· I am thankful to the Governor and the State of Nebraska for supporting us. We look forward to a successful fall semester.
Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska
· All Nebraskans are eligible for testing through Test Nebraska.
· We are now partnering with hospitals across the state to provide testing through Test Nebraska.
· Today, we are pleased to announce that we are expanding capacity at our Test Nebraska lab.
· This will allow Test Nebraska to do up to 7,000 tests a day.
· I encourage Nebraskans to take the online health assessment and schedule a time to get tested.
· Go to TestNebraska.com to find the latest schedule.
Full video of today’s press briefing is available by clicking here.