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The Antelope

The Antelope

COVID-19 never quits, neither should we

The Antelope News Covid-19

Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 1085 new cases on Friday, with an additional 1695 cases reported in the three days following. While this might have been expected based on data trends as we saw weekly increases, it’s still concerning to be hitting this point just ahead of fall break.

The decision to follow through with fall break was a good one, especially after holding classes on Labor Day this year. Students will return home for fall break as they have on the weekends, which can be seen by the lack of cars in UNK parking lots on Saturday and Sunday. The senior advisor to the chancellor, John Falconer, recently confirmed this observation by noting that an estimated 40% of students are already returning home every weekend. 

The question isn’t whether or not students will return home; it’s how we’ll do it. 

As our state’s health infrastructure battles with capacity issues and supply shortages, it is imperative that we, as a student body, do what we can to limit the spread of the virus. 

We’ve all heard the importance of washing our hands, wearing our masks and keeping ourselves socially distant. Even those of us following guidelines to the letter have most likely had moments where we let our guard down for a moment.

Right now cannot be one of those moments.

If the situation continues to worsen, the ability to remain in person for the remainder of our semester could be on the line. Some students have already experienced this as their classes were canceled or moved online suddenly. 

This kind of occurrence might seem like a nice break at first, but it is a disruption in learning—learning that we’re paying for with real dollars. If the spread of the virus continues to accelerate, we will see scenarios like this more and more often.

We all want this break. 

It’s been a hard semester for everyone, but we have to weigh the collective interest against our individual interest. If we allow ourselves to be super spreaders by returning home and relaxing instead of remaining vigilant, we will ultimately only serve to harm our home communities at a time when many of them are already dealing with more than they can handle.

This may mean wearing a mask around siblings who have been traveling, refraining from eating out with family members or missing a reunion with high school friends. It will all have been for the common good. There will be more opportunities to reconnect when we are able to safely return to normal. There won’t be more opportunities to save our semester.

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