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This story was published in the May 8 final print issue. Read the full issue here. 

I remember at our last in-person, full-staff meeting for the Herald, the coronavirus was in some ways a joke — nothing that could genuinely harm us here at WKU, nothing that could change the fabric of our daily lives.

I brought up our rough “back-up” protocol, in case the virus did reach Kentucky and in case it by some crazy situation caused WKU to shut down. I didn’t think it would happen, but here we are.

We did something this semester I doubt any person at the Herald ever anticipated doing. In just hours we completely altered our way of thinking and functioning. We learned how to make a newspaper run completely remotely.

Like many Herald staffers, I have my own collection of the print copy of the Herald. Each one reminds me of the hard work the staff put in, the coffee runs, the absolute anxiety of a production night and the feeling of pride I have when it’s all over. In my time, the print issue has gone from twice a week, to once a week to now something different. It’s an exciting evolution, but print has always stayed constant.

There’s a lot of things I’ve grieved from this semester — graduation, last Starbucks Mondays, Greek Week, saying goodbye to WKU the way it was for four years of my life. I can’t explain the grief I feel about not having those last print editions, production nights, staff meetings. I won’t be able to get pied in the face by Laurel Deppen, your next editor-in-chief and one of my great friends. I won’t get to look this amazing staff in the eye and thank them for their tremendous work and patience throughout this chaotic time.

But we do get to leave you with this, readers.

As an editorial board we desired and felt responsible to make something physical and lasting to show how life changed, how we made adjustments, the sacrifices we made, the hardships we faced. In making this final print issue of the Spring 2020 semester we hope this can be a lasting, historical document of how life was in these uncertain and unprecedented times.

Above all else, I hope these stories have helped keep this WKU community together.

In this issue, you’ll find stories about seniors who lost the last moments of

their college experience, the future of athletics, how businesses have adjusted to survive the quarantine and new challenges local nurses face.

I owe a great deal of gratitude to so many people, but I’ll name a few here. Thank you to this staff for working tirelessly, putting up with my awkward Zoom meetings and making this a semester we can all celebrate and be proud of.

Thank you readers for staying with us during this period of distance. This job, this publication has helped me feel at least slightly less alone, and I hope it’s done the same for you.

Thank you for the memories, WKU.

Peace out.

Rebekah Alvey is the Editor in Chief of the College Heights Herald. She's previously worked as the digital managing editor, news editor and news reporter. Over the summers, she has interned with Lexington Herald-Leader and Insider Louisville.