Letter to the Editor: Adjacent counties, different approaches

To the Editor:

I recently had the privilege of working at the Winneshiek County 4-H dog show. In fact, I have helped out numerous times, even as a judge.

This past week, I was immediately impressed with the COVID-19 precautions that were taken that enabled this senior to feel safe: everyone in the Show Barn wore masks; social distancing was practiced for six hours; hand sanitizer and hand washing stations were readily available; one adult per exhibitor was allowed; check-in was required to access the grounds.

I especially noted how these young people followed all precautions taken in showing their dogs in performance events. I witnessed that mask wearing can be done in the best interest of all involved. In fact, when I saw photos of the dog show in the Decorah newspaper, all exhibitors wore masks and they were socially distanced.

A few years ago, I judged the 4-H dog show exhibitors at the Allamakee County Fair. This brings me to my concern. The very next day after working at the Winneshiek County 4-H dog show, I saw in the Decorah paper photos of Allamakee County 4-H youth exhibiting their rabbits. I was shocked to see photos of these exhibitors shoulder to shoulder, no masks. I thought, what a contrast from one county to another regarding 4-H exhibitors, and, “How can this be? Our counties are adjacent to one another!”

I investigated a bit further and noted that recommendations suggested in the health section of your newspaper are to “take precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 at summer activities.” Why were these young folks not instructed to follow mitigation precautions? What message do these photos send to the public, especially when these young people are not wearing a mask?

Please, folks. We have another opportunity to get this right, as numbers of COVID-19 cases in both our counties rise. The three mitigation strategies I mentioned previously, especially wearing masks, are the pathway out of this.

I welcome any feedback regarding this as to whether or not my perceptions are founded. Thank you.


Ellen Drewes-Stoen


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