Guest Opinion | UI students must be responsible to protect the Iowa City community

UI students are members of the Iowa City community and should follow COVID-19 guidelines to keep people safe.


Katie Goodale

City Council candidate Janice Weiner answers questions during an interview with The Daily Iowan in the Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Weiner is running against Megan Alter and Laura Bergus for two at-large city council seats.

Welcome to our community — the one you’ll be sharing with us for as long as you are at the University of Iowa.

I expect you hoped things would be back to “normal” this fall. But I don’t think the “normal” we knew will be back anytime soon. For now at least, we all need to add a layer of conscious thinking to our daily interactions.

Over the past 18 months, governmental entities across Johnson County coordinated responses to COVID-19. Just over a year ago, Iowa City and Johnson County were among the first in the state to issue mask mandates. Now, Iowa City has implemented a new mask mandate for individuals. We didn’t do it to cramp your style. We did it because we follow the science, and because the delta variant is bad.

We did it because our essential workers have continually put their lives on the line and because our businesses took real hits. Many are coming back now, but it’s not been easy. And we want them to stay afloat.

We did it because we have the premier medical facility in the state — UI Hospitals and Clinics who have some of the best doctors, nurses, and staff — and they have been through a lot. They care for people from across the region and outside of Iowa, and they deserve our respect.

We did it because our community has chosen health and safety. We are the highest vaccinated city and county in the state. But it’s not enough right now because of the highly contagious delta variant.

We did it because we need to do everything possible to buy time and help protect our kids under 12 who can’t yet get a vaccine.

So please wear a mask. It’s one of those mitigation layers. My mask protects you and yours protects me. Think of it as a spit test — yours can’t reach me if you’re wearing a mask. And it’s a heck of a lot less annoying than a ventilator.

As you join our community, please care for it as if it were your home — because it is. Mask up indoors, including in your lecture halls — and please get vaccinated. It’s free and safe. You will be helping not just yourselves, but our common community stay safe from the delta variant.

This year’s feel-good video of UI freshmen at Kinnick, swarming to make a huge letter “I”, made me cringe.  I’m sure you had a blast and it looked like a ton of fun, but that’s what I mean about no longer having the old “normal.” In our pandemic world, when you throw caution to the wind, you put more at risk than just yourself.

Thank you for being a caring and responsible member of this community. Have a wonderful year at the UI.

— Janice Weiner, Iowa City City Councilor

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