THUMBS UP: We’ve been hearing a lot lately about personal rights and liberties being “infringed” by the mandate to wear facemasks in public places, and other COVID-19 restrictions. We were taught at an early age that with every right comes responsibility. Your right to swing your fist, for instance, ends at the end of the next guy’s nose.
Yes, people have a right to assemble and to choose not to wear a mask, in most cases, but they also have a responsibility not to spread infection during a pandemic. So we are happy that some people are taking their responsibility seriously in the COVID-19 age. The New Ulm City Council voted last week not to host the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Association Class B and C tournaments this year. And this week the Hermann Monument Commission decided it could not responsibly hold HermannFest this September. They joined the Bavarian Blast organizers, the Brown County Fair and other events that have had to be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Responsiblity sometimes means you have to do what you don’t want to do because it is the right thing to do.
Data is important
THUMBS UP: As local school districts make plans for the upcoming school year, deciding whether they can safely bring students to school for in-person education, it is essential that they have all the data they need to make an informed, responsible decision. The state has been providing data on COVID-19 cases on a county-by-county basis, but just like a statewide tally doesn’t give a clear idea of where the disease is most prevalent, county-wide data may not be enough for all districts in the county.
Take the New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield districts, for example. Brown County has about 10 new cases per 10,000 population in the last two weeks, just above the level that would allow in-person education for all. But are all districts equally affected? Where in the county are the COVID-19 cases happening? If cases are concentrated in New Ulm, for example, would it be safe for Springfield to go with in-person education for all?
It is essential that more focused data be given to school districts for this decision.