As summer rolled to an end, UNLV began preparing to navigate yet another academic year impacted by the global pandemic. Students returning to campus encountered virtual classes and new COVID-19 safety procedures. In the meantime, university experts continued to help the community navigate our world, providing expertise on national crises and scientific discoveries, including ancient footprints in the Grand Canyon, national protests, and ongoing COVID-19 protocols.
New Pandemic Protocols
From classrooms to common areas, safety measures aimed at protecting against the coronavirus went into effect. The fall semester began with about 80% of classes delivered remotely, and the university prohibited on-campus tobacco use in line with campus and state mandates requiring face coverings in public. About 1,000 students moving into campus residence halls were greeted with reduced capacity, enhanced cleaning practices, mask protocols, limited gathering spaces, and staggered move-in times with appointments to increase social distancing.
- Yahoo! (twice), KSNV-TV: News 3, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now (twice), Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), KTNV-TV: ABC 13, KVVU-TV: FOX 5 (twice), Las Vegas Sun, KNPR
Public Health Researcher Lends Expertise
The pandemic has plagued the world throughout the spring, summer, and now the early fall season. Public health researcher Brian Labus helped local and national media outlets answer questions about COVID-19, including how to choose the right mask or prepare children for back-to-school vaccinations. Here are just a few examples:
- KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Popular Mechanics, Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), (three times), (four times), (five times), (six times), (seven times), (eight times), (nine times), (ten times), (eleven times), (twelve times), KNPR (twice), (three times), Gaming Today, Las Vegas Sun (twice), (three times), El Tiempo (twice), (three times), Casino Connection, The Washington Post, Reno Gazette-Journal, Wyoming Public Media, The Nevada Independent (twice), Runner’s World, KVVU-TV: FOX 5, NPR, Huffington Post, KTNV-TV: ABC 13
University Experts on Eviction and Unemployment
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than health. Other casualties include jobs and the rental housing market. Workers who have been laid off now face the fear of eviction and the possibility of homelessness. Our university experts discussed the impacts of national unemployment and ways to combat the eviction crisis.
- Social work professor Nicholas Barr explained the seriousness of Nevada’s unemployment crisis and associated implications: KVVU-TV: FOX 5, Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada Current, Telemundo
- Nancy Brune, a UNLV Law senior fellow and executive director for Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, talked with KVVU-TV: FOX 5 about the Nevada eviction moratorium.
- Lied Center for Real Estate director Vivek Sah explained to Wyoming Public Media how forgiving rent debt and preventing evictions can help landlords in the long run.
- Political science Professor John P. Tuman discussed the findings of his study on Nevada unemployment claims during the first months of the pandemic with The Nevada Independent.
- In a KLAS-TV: 8 News Now segment, gaming historian David G. Schwartz predicted that casino companies will lay off more workers as the pandemic rolls on.
The Oldest Footprints in the World
What’re the odds you’ll find the most ancient footprints on Earth while taking a hike? That’s exactly what happened when UNLV visiting geology professor Allen Krill stumbled upon fossilized footprints while exploring the Grand Canyon with his students. Research by UNLV professor emeritus of geology Steve Rowland determined that the tracks came from a reptile that existed long before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
- AP, Las Vegas Sun, Smithsonian Magazine, Epoch Times, AZ Central (twice), Mysterious Universe, CNN, CNET, National Parks Traveler
The History of Civil Rights Protests
As protests continue throughout the U.S., many Americans are learning for the first time about the current movement’s roots in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. African American and African Diaspora Studies professor Tyler D. Parry spoke to national news outlets about the history of civil unrest, the analysis of current-day protests, and how resistance to injustice can cement into lasting legacies.
Back-to-(Virtual) School Anxiety
We’ve all felt that subtle fear of returning to school in the fall. But what about returning back to a virtual classroom? As UNLV once more turned to virtual learning in light of the pandemic, university experts offered advice on how students – and parents – can overcome their virtual fears.
- UNLV Professor of Psychology Stephen Benning explains to KSNV-TV: News 3 that it’s perfectly normal to experience back to school anxiety.
- Psychology department chair Christopher A. Kearney advised the Wall Street Journal that parents should encourage routine for their children at least a week before school begins.
- Educational Psychology and Higher Education professor Miguel “Mike” Gonzales explained to the Las Vegas Sun how online education has widened the learning gap in education.
- Lisa Durette, program director of the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, explained to Las Vegas Weekly (twice) how online learning affects all age groups – and how schools and parents must respond.
- UNLV graduate student Chanse Alexandra Pryor offered insight into how parents should support their children during virtual learning in Las Vegas Weekly.
General Expert Roundup
- Tiffiany Howard, associate professor of political science, spoke with The Nevada Independent, KCBS Radio, and Axios on how Black entrepreneurship can help bridge the racial wealth gap.
- UNLV professor of Life Sciences, Allen Gibbs, told Newsweek that murder hornets could become "very widespread" in North America as an invasive species.
- UNLV communication studies professor Emma Frances Bloomfield talked with Salon about "science deniers," climate change, and COVID-19.
- UNLV professor of surgery Dr. Deborah Kuhls spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal about her work leading a national study on gunshot wounds.
- UNLV geosciences professor Libby Hausrath shared perspective with KVVU-TV , U.S. News & World Report, and KSNV-TV on NASA's latest Mars mission and her role on the agency's science team.
- UNLV law professor Addie Rolnick spoke to Tucson Weekly about government policies that enabled Western expansion.
- UNLV urban affairs professor Robert Lang and associate vice president for economic development Zachary Miles shared insight with KNPR Radio on steps needed for a tech revolution in Las Vegas. Miles also spoke with EdTech Magazine about the importance of technology incubators, including UNLV's Black Fire Innovation.