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UNL asks students, staff and faculty for formal coronavirus protection pledge

UNL asks students, staff and faculty for formal coronavirus protection pledge

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The University of Nebraska-Lincoln wants its community members to formally pledge to take steps to suppress the coronavirus.

The pledge is called the Cornhusker Commitment, and while not signing it probably won’t result in ejection from the university, it is strongly advised. The pledge encourages faculty members, staff and students to commit to protecting themselves and the community from the virus.

The pledge was mentioned in a letter that UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green sent out Thursday. A spokeswoman said 400 people had gone online to sign the pledge within the first hour of its unveiling.

Starting Aug. 10, Green says, campus buildings will be open as they normally would be during the school year, with a few exceptions.

Employees are being encouraged to sign, and students are “asked to sign,” the pledge, spokeswoman Leslie Reed said. Protocols cited include mask-wearing, monitoring oneself for illness, physical distancing and staying home when ill.

Deb Fiddelke, UNL’s communication and marketing officer, said that if a student refuses to wear a mask, that can be considered a violation of the student code of conduct. There would have to be numerous steps taken, though, before a student could be expelled for refusing to wear a mask, Fiddelke said.

Other institutions of the NU system have similar provisions for mask-wearing and other protections. The UNL protocols mention wearing masks indoors, as well as outdoors if appropriate distancing isn’t possible.

rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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