A crowd of students standing outside of Lawlor event center.

Rachel Jackson/ Nevada SageBrush
Students waiting for entry to the Lawlor Event Center to see T-Pain perform. Approximately 3,000 students attend the concert.

This past Friday, T-Pain and Sage the Gemini performed for over 3,000 University of Nevada, Reno students. Crowds of students gathered in Lawlor Events Center, standing elbow to elbow with each other with their masks around their chins. The experience cost twenty dollars a ticket and a possible positive COVID test. From many different photos and videos, it was clear the majority of people disregarded the signs requiring them to wear masks. With classes just beginning at UNR, there are already 48 reported COVID cases including 7 staff members. 

This concert was a bad idea, no matter how good the intentions were. I understand the purpose of welcoming everyone back to school, but this is no doubt going to end up being a super-spreader event. I truly don’t think much thought was put into hosting this concert or the repercussions surrounding campus life. Many classes this year do not offer an online option. This means if you test positive for COVID and serve your 14-day quarantine, you will be behind by two weeks. If teachers get sick, what options do we have there? 

It is clear UNR is not prepared for the fall semester. This year there are no social distancing guidelines in place at the university. I strongly believe the fall school semester is going to bring a large number of COVID cases, possibly even more than last year. The guidelines and rules surrounding COVID prevention are extremely loose now, even though there will be in person classes. I think there may be a point that there are so many positive COVID cases that the school is forced into an early closure during the fall semester, just like last year.

Although vaccinations are required for the spring semester, not a whole lot is being done for the fall semester. The only precaution this year is the mask mandate, which is required throughout Nevada. Unfortunately, all of this worry is a familiar feeling. August of 2020 was the same way, except this year the university has had way more time to figure out a way to keep the students and staff safe. Despite having all that time, it is clear, nothing was learned from last year. 

The dorms were closed last fall semester right before Thanksgiving break due to the amount of students that were being infected with COVID. Many students relied on attending school through online classes to keep up with their grades and be a part of the schooling process. This year, that option isn’t available for all classes. 

This concert will, without a doubt, produce positive COVID cases. Before we can see the effects of the concert, those students will be attending in person classes. This concert is a catalyst for the school year. None of the students were required to be vaccinated or present a negative COVID test; there were no checks in place to prevent this concert from becoming a super-spreader event.

Sydney Avery can be reached at sydneyavery@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @sydneyavery08