Opinion | Lack of Iowa unity isn’t helping COVID-19

Unless everyone follows the same quarantine safeguards, we’re not going to end this pandemic anytime soon.


Raquele Decker

Masks, and sanitizer, and tissues are seen available in the Pomerantz Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Columnist

Marie Forleo says that ‘success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do constantly.’

Well Iowa, if we are going to successfully overcome COVID-19, we have to keep following safety procedures. But before we have consistency, we must have unity in these practices.

For example, local Iowa City schools have invested $540,000 in personal protective equipment for students and staff and created district guidelines on safety procedures and expectations.

However, these efforts will be in vain if the state government makes decisions that don’t eliminate the spread of the virus.

At the end of September, Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended that school administration staff and students will not have to quarantine if exposed to someone who tested positive as long as both individuals were wearing masks.

This clearly contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines which states that individuals who have been in close contact — within six feet for more than 15 minutes — should quarantine for 15 days unless they have already had COVID-19 the past three months.

The people we should be listening to are scientists, but Iowa politicians are making decisions that contravene safety procedures that have proven to help combat this virus.

While it is important for local schools to be investing in safety equipment and creating strict policies, the state’s leaders need to first set a good example for Iowa people to follow. If politician and school district decisions contradict, people will start to question the merit of these safety procedures schools have set in place.

Johnson County extended the mask mandate until Nov. 6. In the Iowa City Proclamation made by the mayor, it requires residents in Iowa City to wear a face covering in public when it is not possible to stay six feet apart from others.

Somehow, Regina High School seems to think that football is an exception to this order, which is illogical — especially due to the fact players are literally on top of each other when playing.

During these high school football games, Regina players have not been required to wear masks and very little social distancing has taken place in the stands. Other local schools such as Iowa City High players have been asked to wear masks and decided not to allow fans inside their stadium.

You don’t have to be a huge football fan to know that it is impossible for players to be six feet apart when the object of the game is to tackle each other in order to score touchdowns. If Iowa City is requiring people to wear a mask when social distancing is impossible, you should wear it.

The excuses of ‘it makes it harder to play’ and ‘I can’t breathe’ aren’t valid. If Iowa City High players can do it, so can you.

Lastly, bars in Johnson county were able to reopen as of Oct. 5. While there is an understanding that local businesses need support, there are other methods such as government funding that don’t tempt college students to make poor decisions — especially what we saw in the beginning of the year that these temptations caused a spike in cases.

The UI recommends avoiding large gatherings and staying six feet apart which is hard to follow when students are stressed and bars open as an escape for a night out.

We all have a responsibility to make choices that keep the Iowa City community safe, but first Iowa City and state government must implement policies and practices that align together as well as the CDC guidelines.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.