Republican state Sen. Steve Nass wants to strip the UW System of any authority to implement Covid-19 safety measures such as mandatory testing, reporting vaccination status or requiring masks on campus. Nass bizarrely accuses some UW Chancellors of ” taking advantage of Delta variant hysteria ” to enact excessive pandemic mandates. Is that something UW Chancellors routinely do? Seize upon a given hysteria to expand their authority?
UW System interim President Tommy Thompson is pushing back on Nass’ comments saying, basically, that campuses know best how to handle such matters. As an example of how Thompson is absolutely correct and Nass is absolutely incorrect let’s take a look at what’s going on in Arkansaw.
Last spring the Arkansaw legislature passed a bill, Act 1002, prohibiting school districts from requiring students to wear masks. Optimism about what was thought to be a waning pandemic emboldened showboating right wingers eager to display their ” we don’t need no stinkin’ mask mandates ” cred. Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the bill into law.
Fast forward three months and where is Arkansaw now? In the parlance of Steve Nass one could say Arkansaw officials are in the grip of ” Delta variant hysteria “. Just this week Arkansaw Childrens Hospital reported a record number of Covid hospitalizations, more than at any time since the pandemic began. Hospitals all over Arkansaw are overhwelmed. The situation has grown so dire that Hutchinson has declared a fresh public health emergency and is calling a special session of the legislature to discuss a repeal of Act 1002, only three months after signing it into law. Hutchinson now wants to let school districts make these decisions themselves.
So what kind of idiot would even propose, given what’s going on in states like Arkansaw, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, stripping the UW System of its authority to take reasonable steps to protect students, faculty, and staff from spreading a Covid variant, Delta, that is highly transmissible with 1000 times the viral load of the original Covid virus? An idiot, apparently, like Steve Nass.