Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
We’re sure everyone remembers when the vaccines began rolling out near the start of our Spring 2021 semester, and the light at the end of the tunnel became more attainable than it had ever been before.
After a strong finish to the school year, we all said our goodbyes and left the Hill hoping for a return to normalcy in the fall. As summer went on, this hope grew stronger and stronger with declining cases and an increase in vaccinations.
At some point, we all believed that we were approaching the finish line, that the horror movie of the past 16 months was finally reaching the end credits.
We were so close.
However, infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant are on the rise, especially in areas of the country with lower vaccination rates. When the CDC announced that vaccinated persons can remove their masks back in May, the Delta variant accounted for just 1% of all cases. That number had spiked to 83% by the end of July.
It has become clear that no matter how close we may have been, we called cut way too soon.
The hard truth is that Kentucky is in the crosshairs of the pandemic once more. Governor Andy Beshear announced more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in his August 5 Team Kentucky update with a 10.27% positive rate.
As it stands today, only 46% of Kentucky is fully vaccinated, and with Delta variant cases rising in unvaccinated populations, it is clear where our problem lies.
We at the Herald ask you to reminisce on the past three semesters at WKU, to consider how the pandemic affected your college experience as well as the experiences of your fellow Hilltoppers.
In reflection, it should become clear that none of us want to relive the long and difficult 16 months we’ve already worked so hard to make it through.
We want you to consider this as you make preparations to return to our dear old Western, keeping in mind the health and safety of yourselves, and more importantly those around you.
A group of great young men and women once said that “We’re all in this together, and it shows when we stand hand in hand, that we can make our dreams come true.”
We believe that the same sentiment applies at WKU as it did at East High, and the fact of the matter is that we are still so close to the end credits.
Only you have the power to decide if we’re going to finish this movie together.