Kearney mask mandate expires without reason


UNK mask

This week’s COVID-19 case count fell to two cases, the campus’s best posting since the beginning of the school year. With this accomplishment, students have earned time to relax and take a deep breath- while keeping our masks on.

While many factors have played into this new low, including rising vaccination numbers and falling case count trends nationwide, masks remain an effective and unintrusive way to slow the spread of the disease.

Even when case counts are low, masks slow the speed that they’re able to rise again by reducing transmission rates for both speakers and listeners.

Knowing this, letting Kearney’s city-wide mask mandate expire at a time when we could snuff the flame seems to be a risk with no reward.

It’s been said before: wearing a mask has extremely little risk alongside the benefit of slowing spreading numbers; on the other hand, letting the masks drop poses only the risk of allowing the disease more opportunities to take hold again, while only benefiting superficial goals.

We recognize that the mandate is not uniformly followed in the community. We are not blind to gas station customers and grocery shoppers taking off or forgoing their masks altogether. The city could have been much stronger on this action in the first place, but now is not the time to weaken an already weak stance.

We agree with the Student Senate’s resolution calling on the city council to extend the mandate.

For the sake of our vulnerable professors, peers and friends we urge the council to adopt a new mandate to continue to do what it can to promote the health of the community and the peace of mind of the students who contribute so much to it. It is important for UNK to uphold a standard that shows that they care about the community’s health. Despite Kearney’s decision to allow the mask mandate to expire, UNK needs to continue to think about what’s best for its students and staff.