Becky Kuntzelman | Johnson Publications
Halie Moore is employed at Hill’s Family Foods where safety measures are in place. Employees wear masks and check out customers behind plexiglas barriers.
After a year of COVID-19, will life as we knew it return soon?
It has been more than a year since daily life began to change due to COVID-19’s appearance in the U.S.
Early on, the population was somewhat naive about the severity of the virus, judging by the information first available through medical research centers and health department districts.
Breaking it down in three categories, current life in the U.S., the state of Nebraska and Chase County looks very different from the beginning of 2020.
Most are now used to following safety protocols and requirements along with the many changes and updates.
With a focus on Chase County, various businesses and offices are following a combination of protocols coming down from Governor Ricketts, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) and other entities.
The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) would be one of those included entities.
“When it comes to school activities, we follow the NSAA guidelines,” said CCS Supt. Adam Lambert.
Lambert places the well-being of all the students and his staff above all else, he said.
“We don’t want the kids to miss out on their schooling or school activities, but we want them protected,” said Lambert.
CCS has gone from closed doors and online classes last spring to classroom normality in the fall, following safety guidelines.
The students are required to wear masks while traversing the halls but no longer in the classrooms.
The public is still not allowed access to the school buildings during school hours except for certain circumstances, he said.
A temperature scan and masks are required upon entering the building, Lambert said.
School staff are continuing to routinely wipe surfaces throughout the school as in the previous months.
“I am anticipating possible changes after basketball season is over, and maybe we can start reversing our course of restrictions,” he said.
Just the past week, the NSAA moved its gym capacity recommendation to 75% for subdistricts and district basketball, up from 50%.
Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC) Imperial campus has gone through the stages of guidelines and restrictions, as well.
The building is now open to the public and classes have resumed.
“Things look a little different from a year ago, but we are continuing to help students stay in school,” said Katie Gebert, administrative assistant.
Anyone entering the building is asked screening questions, and masks are required, at least for the foreseeable future, she added.
Public safety agendas
The Chase County Courthouse is open to the public after being closed for a short period of time.
“Business is as usual,” said County Clerk Debbie Clark.
Courtroom activity is case by case and at the discretion of the judges, although district court cases are being handled by Webex or Zoom from the courtroom in McCook for the moment, she said.
Clark said there is a drop box outside which was previously used for voting ballots, but now people can drop things off if they like.
“If you place something in the drop box, be sure to call the department it’s for and tell them because we don’t necessarily check the box every day as we did pre-election,” Clark said.
The courthouse does not require wearing masks.
“I think we are headed in the right direction, and with COVID vaccinations, things may change again. I have never been that shook up about COVID anyway,” said Clark.
Lied Imperial Public Library has been closed to the public but is now open—but with restrictions.
“Masks are required, and there is no seating allowed in the library except in the computer lab,” said Library Director Beth Falla.
The computers are spaced six feet apart with a 30 minute time limit.
Library browsing is limited to 20 minutes, she said.
For safety precautions, returned books are subjected to a four-day “quarantine” followed by an antimicrobial cleaning, Falla said.
“If a book is returned and is requested for an immediate checkout, we use a UV cleaner before giving it out,” she added.
The library has not held any programs for children for some time.
“We miss the children a lot. It makes us sad, but we hope to start the programs again in the spring—we’ll see how it goes,” Falla said.
Curbside service is still available for anyone who wants it, she said.
The Imperial city office is now open to the public, or customers can use the drive-up window as before, said Tricia Moreno, deputy clerk.
“Masks are not required inside the building, but they are preferred,” she added.
Imperial Super Foods is an example of how grocery stores..
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