November 20, 2020
Myers writes in support of recent executive order for face coverings
The following is a letter President Myers sent to commissioners in Riley and Pottawatomie counties asking for support of Gov. Kelly's new executive order for face covering protocols across the state of Kansas.
Dear Riley and Pottawatomie County Commissioners:
Our communities, state, and country are at a crisis stage with the continuing spike in COVID cases. In fact, it has reached a critical point that has put our health care system and our communities in a dangerous position where there may not be medical staff, supplies, or hospital space to accommodate more patients.
Now is the time to put political differences aside and do what is right for the health and safety of everyone in our communities while keeping businesses open to help restore our economy.
Yesterday afternoon, Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order, E.O. #20-68, requiring face covering protocols across the state of Kansas. The order allows local county officials one week to develop their own version of a face covering protocol, or they will opt into the State protocols.
On behalf of the leadership of Kansas State University, I would like to acknowledge that we fully support Governor Kelly's executive order and ask our Riley County and Pottawatomie County Commissioners to fully support this order as well. Geary County adopted a face covering order, effective Oct. 18, 2020, so they are ahead of us in that respect.
Our three counties are closely knit with citizens traveling from one county to the other to work, shop, dine, go to school, and enjoy recreational activities. It's imperative that we work together to protect the health, safety, and economic vitality of our respective communities.
There are countless studies conducted by public health organizations that prove face coverings are effective in curbing the spread of the virus. As recently reported in the New York Times, a new study conducted by the University of Kansas found that counties in states where face coverings were mandated have seen about half as many new coronavirus infections as those counties where coverings are not mandated.
If we care about our fellow citizens and want to get our economy moving again, we need to put this pandemic behind us. As health experts have told us since the onset of the pandemic, there are three simple things we can all do to curb the spread of the virus while we wait for the vaccine: wear face coverings, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing.
Human behavior shows that if people are asked to do something and given a solid explanation as to why, they will do it to help their friends, neighbors, and communities.
We have the explanation for why face coverings are effective during this pandemic. We know a vaccine is coming. Now is the time to be prudent and require face coverings. It will help us reach the goal to save lives and put this pandemic behind us.
Richard B. Myers