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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

It’s time to chase COVID-19 policies away into the sunset


Before the Antelope staff members left campus last spring, we published an editorial titled “2021-22: the year COVID-19 ‘disappeared.’” 

We were right.

According to a statement released by Dr. John Falconer, the sun has set on COVID-19 policies at UNK.

The Antelope is relieved to see this outcome, especially after two years of covering the pandemic’s bleak circumstances. Our reporters were here for the sunrise of COVID-19 policies in March 2020, if sunrises were life-destroying and depressing.

We support the university’s decision to end COVID-19 policies. But we can’t help but wonder if it will last.  

Altogether, the COVID-19 policies worked. Considering UNK had never faced a pandemic before, precautionary measures were taken in the best way possible. 

Two years ago, we were the last Nebraska University to shut down after two positive cases were detected on campus. This started an exodus of Lopers rapidly moving out of their dorms.

While it was rocky at first, students and professors persevered through Zoom tutorials and online classes. 

When students returned, UNK was equipped with temperature checks and policies. Campus was plastic wrapped with masks, face shields and cafeteria takeout boxes. 

In spring 2021, people swarmed to the first vaccine distribution site that popped up on campus. Eventually, UNK became a healthcare resource for the Kearney community and for Nebraskans in general. 

Last year, to mask or not to mask became a topic of debate. The temporary mask mandates in classrooms and labs were odd precautions in the spring and fall, especially since everywhere else on campus was a free-for-all. But at least professors felt safe while teaching. 

Thankfully, students were still able to have a college experience. UNK brought back in-person events, and we still celebrated Blue Gold Welcome Week, Homecoming Week and convocations. 

We were the last NU campus to shut down, and now we’re the first campus to end COVID-19 policies. 

But no one knows if COVID-19 is truly gone for good.

University leaders recommend that if anyone is running fevers, they avoid in-person interaction. Student Health is administering vaccines, antigen testing and PCR testing. Students and employees with COVID-19 are asked to follow medical guidance, document the illness and communicate for missed class times. 

“Quite frankly, I think the virus has taken enough variations that you aren’t going to be life-threatening anymore than you would be with a very serious case of the seasonal flu,” said Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “So we have a balance between being an open campus and protecting the needs of students.”

The rest of the university’s stance on COVID is outlined on this FAQs page:

According to Twin Rivers Health Department, the district is still in the yellow, or at moderate risk for COVID-19.

No matter what is thrown our way, we ask the UNK community to keep being supportive.

To new and returning Lopers, we would like to thank you for hanging in there throughout the pandemic, and for keeping each other safe. 

We’re grateful to be at a university that puts its students first. 

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    Todd StoverAug 20, 2022 at 9:09 am

    The CDC was pretty much wrong on all fronts and should all be fired.