The Story County Board of Health voted unanimously to approve guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Thursday.
The recommendations were based off standards and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The guidelines provide recommendations for day care, Pre-K to 12 schools, event/gathering and religious services, sporting events and athletic teams, Iowa State University, shared congregate housing facilities and businesses. It emphasized the need to wear a proper face covering that includes cloth face masks and face shields and plentiful hand washing stations.
The guidelines regarding Iowa State suggest face coverings be required for all students in classes or in university buildings and that all university-sponsored gatherings be canceled unless the event/gathering guidelines can be followed.
As for group living, the guidelines acknowledge the difficulty of the situation but recommend the use of face coverings at all times except in sleeping quarters. Dining should be staggered to support social distancing standards. The Board also suggested Iowa State only broadcasts sporting events and should prohibit spectators at these events.
“We cannot think of any way these events can be made remotely safe with the masses of people from throughout Iowa and other states who routinely attend these events," the Story County Board of Health stated in the guidelines. "Please do it for the health of our community."
It is recommended that at a minimum all coaching, officials, support staff, spectators and athletes who are not playing should wear a face covering at all times while other people are present. Group meetings and meals should be done remotely and practices, such as weightlifting and swimming should be staggered.
The Board said these are guidelines that cannot technically be enforced because it would be inconsistent with state law, according to Iowa code.
“There is no at present enforcement mechanism to be applied, these are sinfully kind of in the category of ‘please do this,’” said Ethan Anderson from the Story County Attorney Office. “In this case, we are not passing a rule or regulation here, we are not sending this to the Board of Supervisors for them to have a public hearing and public notice of this and pass a public regulation, that is not what is happening tonight because it can’t happen. To answer the question of enforcement, at this point there is none of this particular recommendation or guidance.”
The Story County Board of Health Guidelines can be found on the Story County website under the Board of Health agenda for June 25.