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Doctor urges Omaha-area college students to take COVID precautions seriously

Creighton’s extra-long break is one way the school is working to control the virus
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Metro’s two largest college campuses have both now welcomed back students; experts warning it’s of utmost importances students stay serious about COVID safety precautions despite the state’s move to lift restrictions

Creighton students returned from Thanksgiving break just last week. The extra time off is one of the many efforts being made by the university to keep COVID at bay.

“It’s like awesome just to be able to do things together,” said Bernadette Lyons, a student. “But I’m ready to rip the mask off,” noting however tempting it may be, she’ll be keeping it on.

“On-campus, at least it’s very strict and I mean everyone at work, if you’re in the library, people will have no problem telling you to pull it up,” said Lyons.

And that’s exactly what needs to keep happening on and off campus, according to the experts.

“The data is quite clear particularly from the fall when colleges started opening up,” said Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases at UNMC, noting cities and towns with a lot of college students saw a higher rate of COVID cases. “The link was college campuses students contracting the disease and then often times taking it home, or taking it to grandma and grandpa, taking it to their parents sparking further transmission in the communities.”

Dr. Rupp calling into question the state’s decision to open things back up to normal. “I think the lifting of the public health measures really does send a mixed message, particularly to younger folks, college students who tend to feel like their immortal and immune to everything anyway.”

When asked if are going out and gathering restaurants and bars off-campus, the answer was clear: “I would say it’s very minimal,” said Lyons. “Normally it be like, ‘oh everybody’s going to do this on Thursday, everyone’s going to that’, but I think now it’s like you can hang out with a small group of people and it’s fine, but it’s never a big thing where people are meeting up together.”

Kate Cox, another Creighton student agreed. “I feel safe,” she said. “Everyone’s taking the precautions very seriously, so yeah good to be back.”

Dr. Rupp urging not only college students but everyone to stay diligent and stay safe despite the state’s move to lift COVID restrictions.

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