Iowa State University had planned to welcome 25,000 fans to Saturday’s football opener in Ames against a Louisiana team. But come game time, the stadium was empty except for the two teams. That’s because the burst of new coronavirus cases in Ames since the opening of school spurred a public backlash against filling the stadium, and university officials bowed to the calls.
Have no doubt, failure to follow responsible protective measures in the face of the virus crisis can have major consequences. Consider the example of college towns hard hit in recent weeks.
Ames and Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, stood among the U.S. cities with the greatest surge in COVID cases, a New York Times analysis found. A considerable number of UI instructors and students called in sick on Sept. 2 in protest of in-person classes.
Omaha and Lincoln haven’t see a problem on that scale so far, but the concern is real. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green last week suspended six Greek organizations for ignoring public health protocols.
Everyone, not just college students, has an obligation to act responsibly in the face of the virus threat. State Sen. Mike Moser of Columbus, who survived COVID-19 this year, offers a needed warning: “I understand the human independent spirit, that we want to call our own shots ... but this is one of those things where the consequences can be pretty dire.”
Which is why he now wears a mask and urges people to follow the recommended protective measures. It’s sound advice for us all.
* * *
Correction: An earlier version of his editorial misstated the situation at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!