Community members help students mask up for move-in

Lauryn Bolz

It is quickly becoming apparent that face masks will be an integral part of life on Colorado State University’s campus for the foreseeable future.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, face masks or coverings mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by blocking respiratory drops of infected persons. This is especially important since some people are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, meaning they don’t show symptoms but still contribute to spreading the virus. 

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As businesses, restaurants and now schools reopen around the country, Fort Collins community members are stepping up to make sure everyone can be masked and healthy. 

Although Colorado does not share the infectivity rates of states like Texas or Florida, we still need to be alert,” said Deanna Krausse, an admin for the Sew it for COVID Facebook page. “We aren’t out of the woods until a vaccine is found. Masks are essential to keeping transmission in check.”

Krausse, whose son will be a freshman on campus, is doing everything she can to make a difference. She and the 2,141 volunteers on the Facebook page Sew it for Covid have distributed over 5,000 masks, surgical caps and gowns to date, according to Krausse.

“Every person that receives a product from us has the potential to cut the transmission (of COVID-19),” Krausse said. “It is incredibly fulfilling to know we are saving lives.”

Since the CDC has recommended everyone use masks as source control, Krausse and Sew it for Covid have focused on the safety of the broader community, especially as students return to campus. 

“College is a time for having fun,” Krausse said. “It just needs to be done responsibly. Otherwise, we will end up going back to online classes, which isn’t ideal for anyone.”

Krausse stressed the importance of not just wearing a mask but making sure it is secured properly.

“It’s important also to know how to safely wear a mask,” Krausse said. “Cover your nose and mouth at all times, and (do not) grab the front of the mask or touch it when wearing it. If the mask is doing its job, viral particles can be on the outside of the mask.”

https://www.facebook.com/jaredpolis/photos/a.130848302529/10158511529282530/

The return of students and their families to campus also means that Old Town will wake up from its usual summer slumber. Several independent Fort Collins retailers have joined in to help reinvigorate the economy safely by selling face masks and coverings. 

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“(Wearing a mask) is important because people are deciding to venture out,” said Christie Wolf, owner of Kansas City Kitty. “We all need to make sure we are being as safe as possible during the pandemic. We protect you by wearing a mask, and you protect us by wearing a mask. It is simply the right thing to do.”

Kansas City Kitty, along with other small retailers, has allowed tourists and shoppers to enjoy their local shopping experience safely. Though COVID-19 has proven a challenge for many Old Town businesses, mask-wearing is a simple and easy way to continue to support local boutiques, restaurants and retailers. 

“This is such a challenging time for so many right now,” Wolf said. “It is important to support those businesses that you want to see survive through all of this. We love our community, and it wouldn’t be the same without all of us here.”

Though people have used masks to protect themselves and others throughout the pandemic, Gov. Jared Polis released a statewide mask order July 16.

“We have learned that widespread mask use is a low cost and highly effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections by as much as 65%,” Polis said in the order. “Broad adoption of mask wearing in Colorado may have significant economic benefits by allowing the state to prevent reclosures of businesses and schools and, ultimately, return to our normal lives more quickly.” 

The order states that face masks or coverings are required for people 10 years of age and older in indoor spaces and while using services. 

On July 21, CSU President Joyce McConnell followed Polis’ lead and stated in an email that masks will be required while in any University space, including all inside and outside spaces except private rooms.

Though the reopening of CSU’s campus will undoubtedly pose challenges we have never seen before, wearing a mask is an easy way to show care for your Fort Collins neighbors. 

“Young people may not understand that, although they feel healthy and don’t have symptoms, that they could still be carriers,” Krausse said. “By wearing a mask, they not only protect themselves but the whole community.”

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurynbolz.