Coronavirus concern prompts closure of University of Alaska Fairbanks building

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One of three Fairbanks residents diagnosed with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was a University of Alaska employee, school officials said Tuesday.

In an internal email, the university’s chancellor said all “users” of the O’Neill Building, home to the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, should stay at home for two weeks to monitor themselves for symptoms.

It was not clear whether students have been in contact with the employee. University spokeswoman Robbie Graham said the university itself does not know and that public health officials are investigating.

The university began spring break March 9, and school officials said last week they would extend that break through March 23.

The building is closed for cleaning.

“In an abundance of caution, we are closing the entire building temporarily,” UAF Chancellor Dan White wrote.


Bradley Moran, dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, said he had no additional information Tuesday evening as he shared White’s email with students and staff.

Jim Johnsen, president of the University of Alaska, confirmed the university employee’s situation in a written statement on Tuesday.

Late Monday, two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Fairbanks. Johnsen’s statement says one of those two cases involved the university employee.

A third Fairbanks case was confirmed Tuesday.

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.