Big Ten mayors send letter asking for more COVID-19 preventive measures

Mayors from Big Ten college communities sent a letter to conference officials asking for more "practical measures" to slow the spread of COVID-19 during game days.
Big Ten

EAST LANSING, Mich. (KLKN) — Mayors from Big Ten college communities sent a letter to conference officials asking for more “practical measures” to slow the spread of COVID-19 during game days.

According to the letter, football games commonly “generate a lot of activity, social gatherings, and the consumption of alcohol,” which contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

To combat this, the mayors are asking for the following measures to be taken by the Big Ten:

  • Define the metrics used for the overall community population positivity rates and test positivity.
  • Work with local leaders and health departments in deciding whether or not a game should be played.
  • Release game times and schedules as early as possible and make an effort to avoid having evening or late afternoon games.

Eleven mayors from Big Ten college towns in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin signed the letter. The mayor of Lansing also signed it.

Not listed in the letter are the mayors of Urbana-Champaign, IL (University of Illinois), Newark, NJ (Rutgers) and Lincoln.

The letter also says health officials from Big Ten communities – though it doesn’t specify which – attended a meeting on Oct. 15 to discuss metrics used in each community and to finalize guidelines for play based on positivity rates of those communities and not just the team positivity rates.

A city spokesperson released the following statement to Channel 8 Eyewitness News:

“The Mayor was invited to participate in the meeting on Friday but had a conflict.  She only learned about the letter late yesterday. The turn-around time did not allow for the Mayor to discuss the issue with the Health Director and UNL Administration and Athletics, who have had a strong, collaborative working relationship throughout the pandemic. The Mayor appreciates her colleagues’ and the Big 10’s shared commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

The spokesperson said representatives from the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department did participate in the meeting.

Read the full letter below:

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