UNL Students Share Their Opinions on New COVID Testing Mandate
By Lauren Dietrich, Student News Reporter Nebraska Public Media
Jan. 5, 2021, 2:40 p.m. ·
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will require mandatory COVID-19 saliva-testing for students in the upcoming semester. All students living in Lincoln and Lancaster County, regardless of if their classes are online, will be required to get tested prior to classes starting on January 25th and every two weeks after that.
UNL students have a variety of opinions on the mandate, from thinking the required testing is an overstep to believing the University should have been doing this all along.
Junior Hannah Johnson is among those who are grateful for the changes UNL is making. She said if this will keep students on campus, it's worth at least trying.
“It’s not going to hurt to try. I don’t think this is a bad idea by any means. I think we have exhausted a lot of other options and they haven’t necessarily been effective,” Johnson said.
Senior Luci Moran said she;s happy to see the University is taking the virus more seriously. To her, having mandatory testing in place will relieve some of the nerves she had from going to class last semester.
“I remember going to class [last semester] and always just feeling like I never knew if someone around me had COVID-19 or not,” Moran said. “So I feel like this testing is going to eliminate a lot of the fears students have with going to class in-person.”
Junior Abi Sheehan feels differently. As someone who suffers from anxiety, she said wearing a mask has already been a challenge. Sheehan said getting tested will add to the stress of simply attending class.
“I mean what they’re saying is that they can test you every two-weeks and decide whether or not you can physically attend a class,” Sheehan said. “So I’m paying for the class and they’re telling me I can’t attend it. I do not think they should have the authority to do that.”
While Junior Jamil Fakhoury feels the new mandate is an an overstep.
“UNL should not have the power to do this. What happens when they come out with the vaccine, [will] everyone be forced to get the vaccine then? Everyone will have to get the shot because the University says so? I mean there is an extent to where they can tell us to do things,” Fakhoury said. “But I think this is the step that they are taking that is going to take it too far.”
Fakhoury said he thinks many students won’t follow the new mandate, and the backlash will come from the administration itself. However, regardless of students loving or hating the new testing rules, they're place for the coming semester. Testing will be free to students and offered on City, East, and Nebraska Innovation campuses, with an expected 24-hour return time on results. Results will be needed to permit access to campus buildings.