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LPS says school is on for Monday despite coronavirus concerns
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LPS says school is on for Monday despite coronavirus concerns

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Lincoln Public Schools is planning to resume classes Monday when spring break ends.

"I want to emphasize, right now, school's on next week," LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said Wednesday during a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak.

Several other districts have canceled classes for all or part of this week and it was announced Wednesday that officials will limit attendance at the boys state basketball tournament to immediate family members of coaches and players.

That move came after a student from Crofton who had attended girls state basketball tournament games at both Lincoln Southwest and Lincoln North Star high schools last Thursday was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Despite those factors, Joel said LPS officials "don't really see a reason to not have school."

Though there have been 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska, no one has been diagnosed with the disease locally, and as of Wednesday, there were no suspected cases in Lincoln or Lancaster County, said Pat Lopez, interim director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

However, Joel said having spring break this week has given LPS "an opportunity to really look at our systems and our processes and create viable (contingency) plans."

Those plans include having curriculum in place that can be delivered online if schools are forced to close. Joel said officials are also looking at making copies that can be delivered to students who don't have internet access outside of school.

He also said that disinfection efforts were "ramped up" at Southwest and North Star and both schools got thorough cleanings of all competition and common areas after last week's state tournament games.

In an email to parents, Joel said LPS was canceling all activities at its facilities by outside groups, except for state basketball and child care, so it can do additional cleaning and disinfecting.

He also said the district will provide an update Friday about "this evolving challenge."

"We know that families are trying to plan," the email said. "We encourage families to make plans now in the event that we do not have school next week or any of the following weeks as this moves through our state and community."

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln also has no plans to cancel classes, although administrators there have made contingency plans for staff and students.

UNL said Wednesday in a news release that it is adjusting existing policies to allow staff to work at alternative sites, specifically their homes, with supervisor approval.

There also is a temporary attendance policy in place for students with provisions for those who cannot attend class because of illness or self-quarantine.

Students must notify instructors, keep up with coursework (as best able) and reschedule exams, labs and other academic activities.

Spring break for UNL students begins March 23.

Meanwhile, the president of Midland University in Fremont, which closed Monday, announced plans to extend online teaching and learning through April 5. In-class sessions will resume on April 6.

LPS puts together review materials as part of plan for virus-related school closings

Latest coronavirus updates from Nebraska

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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