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The Antelope

The Antelope

COVID-19 updates continue after Chancellor’s Zoom meeting

The Antelope News Covid-19


On Monday, March 16, Chancellor Kristensen and others in charge of campus organized a Zoom conference call to answer questions about the recent decision to move the classes for the remainder of the semester to online only.

            Kristensen originally said they wanted a “meaningful transition so that UNK can do what they can do for their students. These are unique times. There is no normal to this. We have to find a new normal.”

            Discussions started with the announcement that after Tuesday morning, a decision would be made about the remote learning beginning as early as Wednesday, March 18, instead of the original March 30 announcement, which was made the week before. 

            “The [resident] halls are open. To many of our students, this is home, particularly our international students, and those who have jobs here,” Kristensen said. “This is one of the safer places to be. If someone were to come down with symptoms, we have isolation rooms set up for them to recover. Food services will stay open. I don’t see any scenario that we come back to face to face classes this year.” 

Even though Kristensen said the students were welcome to stay in their dormitories, an announcement was made March 20 by Todd Gottula. This announcement followed shortly after the news that two UNK students were suspected of having COVID-19. 

Gottula’s email said, “In an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, the University of Nebraska at Kearney is advising students, who are able, 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.”

The last-minute decision led the university to offer a housing and dining refund to those who chose to leave the residence halls. Gottula sent a message to the student community on March 20.

“UNK and local health officials are working with two students, both campus residents, who have symptoms of COVID-19 illness. As a precaution, one student has been moved to an isolation floor in a residence hall. The other student who is symptomatic is at home.”

UNK Residence Life is using express checkout to accommodate students.

UNK officials offered refunds to students who moved out of residence halls early. They were able to receive a 60% refund of remaining room and board costs based on their housing facility and dining plan, effective March 17.

The University Bookstore has also made the decision to close its stores. 

 “As of yesterday, March 23, Barnes & Noble College has announced that they will be closing their bookstores nationwide in response to COVID-19 precautions and restrictions.  Beginning today, the Antelope Bookstore will be closed with a tentative plan to reopen on Monday, April 6.”  

The library has also decided that it is safest for the community if they close their doors as well, according to an email sent out by Dr. Gilbert Hinga. 

“Beginning today, Monday, March 23, the Calvin T. Ryan Library is shifting to remote access for resources and services. Although the library building is closed, you will continue to have access to our broad range of online educational resources, including 215,456 e-books, 248 databases and 89,124 full-text electronic journals, from anywhere with an internet connection.” 

The health and wellness center has also shut its doors as of Friday March 20.

Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and new cases coming to light, students are being sent updates and changes to the plans of the remainder of their semester at UNK almost daily.

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