NU dorms emptying, but some remain

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March 23, 2020 - 5:10pm

While many students are moving out of dormitories on University of Nebraska campuses, a few are staying because they’ve got symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19.


At the University of Nebraska at Kearney, spokesman Todd Gottula says one student with symptoms is living in isolation on one dormitory floor, awaiting test results. Gottula says many more have left.

“We normally house about 1,400 students on campus. That number on Friday was down to about 950. And our report this morning shows that we’re about 400-450 today. So we’ve had a large number of students leave  campus,” Gottula said.

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, spokeswoman Leslie Reed says three students who returned from high–risk areas are self-quarantining. She says normally about 5,400 students live in dorms; as of Monday, about 85  percent had moved out. And at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, spokesman Brandon Bartling says of the 2,100 students who normally live in dorms, about 700 have moved out, though he expects more will do so by Tuesday’s deadline to qualify for a partial refund. Bartling says no students lining in dorms have reported symptoms.

Some students, such as those from foreign countries or distant parts of the United States, are expected to remain in the dorms.

Asked about the possibility unused dorm space will be used to quarantine non-students, UNK’s Gottula points to last year’s flood response as a precedent.

“We had a lot of travelers in Kearney stranded, community members without housing. We took on a bunch of people and housed them for quite a few days when there was a need. So if this reaches that point, I  know we’ll have those conversations with state and local health officials and the governor’s office and do everything we can to help the state in this time of  need,” he said.

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