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UNL students on self-quarantine over COVID-19 concerns


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln confirmed Monday that multiple students and staff members have self-quarantined after taking part in a Special Olympics event in Fremont where Nebraska’s first coronavirus case also participated.

“I can confirm that a few students and employees were among the approximately 40 individuals from the Lincoln area who have been identified by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department as having had contact during the Special Olympics event in Fremont with the first COVID 19 patient diagnosed in Nebraska,” Leslie Reed, the Public Affairs Director for the university, said. “During a briefing earlier today, interim Health Department Director Patricia Lopez said those people will be under voluntary self-quarantine until March 14, which is 14 days since their exposure, and all of the UNL community members are asymptomatic as far as we know and they are following the Health Department advice to voluntary self-quarantine.”

One of these students is a College of Business student at the university. On Monday, the university sent out an email addressed to College of Business students informing them of the situation.

 “Dear College of Business students, I wanted to inform you that a member of our College of Business community participated in the Special Olympics tournament in Fremont last weekend where there was exposure to the Coronavirus, COVID-19,” Kathy Farrell, the dean of the College of Business, said. “This person is asymptomatic; we appreciate that the CoB student self-reported, contacted the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department after the potential exposure was announced, and is following medical advice to self-quarantine.”

Tim Timmons, a Lancaster County Health Department spokesperson, said there were about 500 participants at the event, similar to those at UNL, with many more spectators in attendance.

“There is definitely potential they were exposed,” Timmons said.

The participants, primarily from Eastern Nebraska, according to Timmons, are at risk of exposure to the virus.

“There are now three individuals considered positive in Nebraska,” Timmons said. “I expect the numbers to pull up and grow.”

That fear caused concern on campus that classes may be cancelled to stop the spread of the virus.

As for now Reed said the Health Department has not advised any additional actions from the university. Normal class schedules and events will continue. 

“If that changes, we will let you know,” Reed said.