Treadwell favors mask mandate

KSC president asks the city to not repeal mandate until June

Photo illustration by Benajil Rai

Harrison Paletta            Hunter Oberst
Equinox Staff                 News Editor

 

While Governor Sununu has lifted the statewide mask mandate and other limits on businesses and public activities, President Melinda Treadwell of Keene State College does not think KSC is ready to return to operations without a mask mandate in place.

In an interview, Treadwell said, “I’m going to try and ask that we extend the mask mandate at least through commencement, so first week of June. I do think that by next Fall we will see some differences. I think if we do have broader vaccine coverage, anyone who’s vaccinated is probably going to be pulled out of our surveillance testing. It’s been so effective, so that’s a huge difference.”

The statewide mask mandate was dropped on April 16. According to an interview with Gov. Sununu on NHPR, Sununu said, “When you look at the fatality rate, that’s what this is really about. That’s been dropped 90 percent. And we have vaccines. Not only do we have vaccines, we’re among the fastest in the country in terms of administering at this point.”

While Gov. Sununu decides to drop the mask mandate, he explains that COVID-19 will still be around into the Fall. He said, “We’re going to have high case numbers, I think, for quite some time. I think we’re going to see surges of high case numbers. You know, we’ll come out of this spring surge, but then we’ll probably see it again in the fall. But, now that the vaccine is here and it’s still viable, the efficacy rate is so high, we can all make that choice to protect ourselves.”

Treadwell explained why she doesn’t agree with the decision. She said, “I’m asking the city not to repeal a mask ordinance until after the semester. We have students who are working really hard to try to have a consistent experience. We know masks have made a tremendous difference in transmission and I don’t want students to end up in quarantine or isolation because they worked downtown and they get exposed to someone who’s not wearing a mask in the restaurant or somewhere.”

Treadwell continues, “I think it’s early. I tried to share with the Governor that the restaurants in Keene had their best March of the past several years and that’s with a mask ordinance in place. I think the Governor is reflecting his hope to get the economy open. I respect that. I also wish that it was a little more balanced with what we’re seeing because case counts are not down, we’re still having high positivity rates in the state of New Hampshire.”

Construction Clerk of the Works, Colin Burdick, does not see the sense in Gov. Sununu’s decision. Burdick said, “There’s not much sense in the governor ending the mandate when hospitalization rates are the highest they’ve been in a while. State hospitalization rates are up above 120. They’ve been fluctuating, coming up and down the past few days. I wonder what’s going on.”

 

Harrison Paletta can be contacted at:
hpaletta@kscequinox.com

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