By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – In an effort to control exposure to COVID-19, the University of Nebraska at Kearney is advising students to move from campus residence halls.
Students who need to stay in a residence hall will be allowed to do so and continue to have access to student academic and support services such as dining.
UNK and local health officials are working with two male students, both campus residents, who have symptoms of COVID-19 illness. In following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, one student has been moved to an isolation floor in a residence hall. The other student who is symptomatic is at home.
Because the men are in a low-risk category, health officials are choosing to forgo testing and treat as suspected COVID-19 disease. The cases are not related. UNK and health officials are looking at recent contacts of the individuals and believe both cases are a result of community spread. That means they did not become infected while traveling or through contact to a known case of the novel coronavirus.
Neither student has a confirmed case of the coronavirus, but both have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
The university is being proactive in its communication to the public as state and local health officials work to overcome shortages of testing supplies needed to confirm local cases. Testing is mostly being reserved for people who are very sick or meet criteria such as relevant travel history.
The safety, well-being and ability to complete the semester remains a focus of university leadership.
RESIDENCE HALL SITUATION
There are about 950 students occupying rooms on campus. UNK Residence Life is using express checkout to accommodate students.
Students should pick up express checkout information at the front desk of their residence halls to complete checkout paperwork, if they have not already done so. Envelopes are to be returned in the designated mail drop location.
Earlier this week, UNK announced it is offering refunds to students who move out of residence halls early. They will receive a 60% refund of remaining room and board costs based on their housing facility and dining plan, effective March 17.
Next week is University of Nebraska spring break. If students have the wherewithal, UNK recommends that they not return to campus following spring break. Students may return to gather personal items.
REMOTE CLASSES, WORK
UNK has asked the campus community to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing. Academic operations at UNK transitioned effective March 18 to remote learning, and employees are expected to work remotely beginning March 23 until further notice. All UNK-sponsored events, both on and off campus, that involve more than 10 people have been postponed or canceled.
COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or develop symptoms, contact your health care provider and tell them how you are feeling. Please notify them of any potential exposure to a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. Anyone needing to visit UNK Student Health and Counseling, a doctor’s office or an emergency room should call ahead.