As the spring semester came to a close in May, UNLV staff and students continued to display flexibility and adjust their daily lives to an ever-changing COVID-19 reality. But the university community has persevered, continuing to be nimble and respond to changes in a way that best protects the health and well-being of faculty, staff, and students.
UNLV also continued its role on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus by adding an additional COVID-19 testing site at the university’s Tropicana Parking Garage. UNLV Medicine and UNLV Integrated Health Sciences staff continue to research the disease, and other UNLV faculty experts continue to study the impact of the coronavirus on our society as a whole.
And though the coronavirus pandemic meant that the May 2020 commencement ceremony had to be postponed, it didn’t stop UNLV from moving forward with one of its enduring traditions — recognizing and celebrating a select group of outstanding graduates who exemplify the academic, research, and community impact of the graduating class.
Below are just a few examples of UNLV’s people and programs that made headlines in Nevada and beyond in May.
Public Health Researcher Lends His Expertise
For the past few months, Brian Labus, assistant professor in UNLV’s School of Public Health, has been called upon by hundreds of local and national media outlets to help make sense of the virus from a public health perspective. In May, Labus, who’s also a member of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s coronavirus task force, continued to lend his expertise to news stories exploring coronavirus cures and hygiene habits to antibody testing and contact tracing. Here are just a few examples:
- The New York Times, HuffPost (twice), Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), Vegas Inc., KTNV-TV: ABC 13, Well+Good
COVID-19 & the Housing Market
The COVID-19 pandemic raises questions not only about how the overall economy will fare in the long term, but also how the housing market will be impacted. Vivek Sah, director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies at UNLV, weighed in:
UNLV’s Fight Against COVID-19
In the race to combat the coronavirus, UNLV staff and students all across campus have stepped up to do what they can to prevent the virus from spreading.
- The Las Vegas Sun shared a roundup of ways UNLV is assisting the community in the fight against COVID-19.
- School of Life Sciences professor Helen Wing and students spoke to KTNV-TV: ABC 13, KSNV: News 3, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal on how they created a viral transport medium to help protect coronavirus test specimens as they are transported to hospitals.
- Michael Gardner, vice dean for clinical affairs at the UNLV School of Medicine, talks to KTNV-TV: ABC 13 about the importance of coronavirus testing.
- UNLV Medicine residents spoke to KSNV-TV: News 3 about how they are using convalescent plasma to help individuals who are sick with the coronavirus.
- UNLV Nursing professor Jay Tan spoke with KTNV-TV: ABC 13 about managing mental health during COVID-19.
UNLV Makes Plans for Fall Semester Instruction
UNLV President Marta Meana and Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Chris Heavey recently announced preliminary plans for how the upcoming fall semester will be conducted. The university, in consultation with state and local health officials, is planning to offer all lecture courses of 75 or more students remotely, with additional courses planned for a mix of in-person and remote based on risk mitigation, suitability for remote delivery, and other factors.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), Las Vegas Sun (twice), Reno Gazette-Journal, El Tiempo, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KSNV-TV: News 3 (twice), (three times), KNPR
UNLV Continues to Conduct COVID-19 Testing
Clark County and University Medical Center partnered recently with UNLV to bring coronavirus testing to UNLV’s main campus. In an effort to increase testing capabilities, both walk-ups and appointments are accepted, and testing is available to anyone, regardless of age and symptoms. The site is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To make an appointment, click here or call (702) 383-2619.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), Las Vegas Sun, El Tiempo, KNPR (twice), KVVU-TV: Fox 5, KTNV-TV: ABC 13
To Wear a Mask or Not?
With restrictions being lifted in states across the country, standards of what to do inside places of business vary. For some establishments, wearing a mask is required, while for others it is only a suggestion. Emma Frances Bloomfield, assistant professor of communication studies,, spoke to numerous media outlets on a topic that is garnering debate among Americans. Business professor Wonyong Oh and sociologist Michael Ian Borer also weighed in on the debate.
Casinos, Tourism, and COVID-19
No industry has gone untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Las Vegas, the impacts of the pandemic on the local hospitality industry are top of mind, and expert faculty from all over UNLV’s campus have given insight to local and national media on the matter:
Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow with the International Gaming Institute
David G. Schwartz, gaming historian and associate vice provost for Faculty Affairs
Amanda Belarmino, professor in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality
Robert E. Lang, executive director of The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West
Finley Cotrone, assistant professor in residence in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality
Stephen Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research
Anthony Lucas, professor in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality