Editor's Note: Editorials are representative of the views of all Editorial Board members. One or two members will compile these views and write an editorial.
As we continue into yet another semester at Iowa State during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to realize that we are still in a pandemic.
Just because we are back to full capacity classes, just because we are walking around on campus, just because events are happening again does not mean the pandemic is over. All over the state of Iowa, the United States and the world, people are still getting COVID-19, and people are still dying from it. It may feel like the worst of the pandemic is over, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that it is still here.
At Iowa State University, we have a great initiative called “Cyclones Care,” and we, as the Iowa State Daily Editorial Board, would like to remind everyone what it means to care for your fellow Cyclones while you are on campus this fall and into the spring semester.
The Cyclones Care website states that it “promotes behaviors to protect your health and the well-being of the Iowa State University community.”
The website continues to say that for the 2021-22 academic year, university leaders are asking all Cyclones to take responsibility for their own health and show they care with four simple behaviors:
Monitor your health
Stay home if you’re ill
Wash your hands often
Something we would like to add to that is to mask up. Iowa State University cannot require people to wear face masks except in very special circumstances, like on CyRide, at Thielen Student Health Center, in areas of the College of Veterinary Medicine where face masks are normally required and in Ames Laboratory facilities. But even if Iowa State cannot require face masks, it is still important to carry one with you and mask up when you are around others.
When you see someone wearing a mask, and you would like to approach them to talk to them, wear a mask. You don’t know the reason they are wearing a mask. They could be immunocompromised or have another reason why they cannot be vaccinated. They could have someone at home who is immunocompromised or have another reason why they cannot be vaccinated. They may have young children at home who are at greater risk of death if they get COVID-19. There are plenty of reasons those people may be wearing a mask, and it is the respectful and kind thing to do to wear a mask when not social distancing from someone who is.
This goes for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that even vaccinated people continue to wear masks when indoors. If you do not feel the need to wear a mask when walking outdoors and you can social distance, then that is your prerogative because it doesn’t affect individuals other than yourself. But when you are near other people, do the kind thing and mask up.
If you hear that a classmate that you sit next to or that your professor is immunocompromised or is at greater risk for catching COVID-19, then wear a mask. Be kind, look out for one another, have some humanity and some humility. The only way we will lessen this pandemic is to work together, care for each other and believe the science.
As President Wendy Wintersteen stated in her video to campus last month, “The science is clear, getting vaccinated is safe and effective and the best way to prevent you from getting seriously ill.”
That brings us to our other point: get vaccinated if you can. Iowa State’s Thielen Student Health Center offers free vaccination clinics for students, faculty and staff, so if you go through the university to get the vaccine, it won’t cost you a dime.
Beyond the fact that the vaccine is free, Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. That means if you have been waiting for full approval to get vaccinated, the Pfizer vaccine is available through the Thielen Student Health Center. A complete schedule of campus vaccine clinics is listed on Iowa State’s website.
We must work together to keep ourselves and our campus community healthy. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your physical health and mitigate the spread of the virus to others. If you aren’t vaccinated, get your vaccine when/if you can.
Show the world how Cyclones Care.