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The Antelope

The Antelope

UNK plans to loosen up on COVID-19 measures for fall

CASSIE BROWN / ANTELOPE STAFF Mask requirements at UNK will be re-evaluated when the fall semester approaches.

After three semesters of restrictions due to the pandemic, UNK hopes this fall semester can provide a sense of ‘normal’ again.  

Looking back down the COVID-19 trail, it’s hard to fully grasp everything that happened within about a year’s time.  It was a troubling and difficult time as everyone shared a common issue. Big or small, everyone was struggling with something.  

“The biggest issue for me was when UNK closed the Plambeck daycare center for two months last spring,” said Heather Meyer, professor of marketing, “I was suddenly a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and preschooler while still being expected to teach online full time.”

Wearing masks may not have been the most serious issue, but definitely took some getting used to.  

“The most challenging thing for me was dancing with masks. It’s understandable why we wear them, but it makes it really difficult to breathe and it just gets really sweaty in the masks,” said junior, international studies major and dance minor, Rebekah Petersen, “However, I have noticed a change in my endurance since we started wearing masks while dancing.”

As the pandemic appears to enter a more controlled phase, mandates are expiring and restrictions are being lifted. Many are optimistic for transition to the new normal. 

“I am excited for fall.” said Michell Widger, senior lecturer of journalism and mass communication, “Hopefully, by then most of Nebraska will have had the vaccine as all of the phases should be complete.”

The vaccine will play a major role in the outcome for the fall semester.  Unlike the uncontrollable wide spread of the virus, the vaccine will have to break through opinions and attitudes. 

“I have conversations, more like debates, with my parents about coronavirus and the vaccines, and it seems that the information they receive is mainly bad, but the information I receive is mainly good,” Petersen said.

While some wait to learn more others have answered the call to action.  

“I signed up for the vaccine through the Two Rivers Public Health Department website,” Meyer said. “I did have body aches over the next 24 hours and then I was a little lightheaded the following day, but now I feel fine.”

The push for less restrictions is encouraging, but a sense of security is for each individual to decide.

“As long as our case numbers are low, I do not plan on wearing a mask this fall.  Others are still free to do so,” Meyer said.

“I think the distance mandate should continue to be in place in some areas, like the union because there are a lot of people in one area consuming food or drinks in close proximity,” Petersen said, “If the mask mandate were to be lifted, I would continue to wear my mask in crowded areas.”

A fall semester with less restrictions is still too far to guarantee.  Decisions on masks, distancing and other requirements will be based on circumstances at the time and formalized in accordance with local conditions and guidance from public health officials.

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