Requiring students and citizens to wear masks was still a hot topic in our county this week. The Huntsville School District, while not requiring students to wear masks, will be highly encouraging them to do so when they return to school on Aug. 26. Teachers will be wear face shields and masks, as well as faculty and bus drivers. 

And this week, the city council unanimously passed a resolution strongly encouraging people to wear face coverings. The city stopped short of mandating the use of face masks and stated that it would not penalize those who choose to abstain from wearing one. Mayor Darrell Trahan stated that he did not want police officers focusing their attention on those who do not wear face masks, implying that they had more important matters to attend to. 

We applaud the city council for their action. One caveat to the Resolution passed on Monday night that was not discussed at the meeting, conducted virtually by the way, dealt with businesses. The Resolution states that, “The City of Huntsville strongly encourages all businesses that are subject to an Arkansas Health directive to enforce that their patrons wear the required coverings.”

While we do ask that all of our customers wear face coverings in our building, we would rather the city take the lead in mandating masks rather than putting the burden on businesses to do so. Leadership has been lacking in dealing with Covid-19 and if the city wants businesses to enforce directives, it should also put forth plans to help enforce that same directive. 

State guidelines mandate that those attending the upcoming graduation ceremonies for Huntsville High School, St. Paul High School and Kingston High School and the Madison County Rodeo need to either socially distance and/or wear a mask. 

More and more people are starting to wear masks and figure out that it’s not a political issue, rather one directed by science. Even the resolution passed on Monday night stated that ample evidence exists to support the efficacy of wearing face masks to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. 

As the school year approaches, we’d like to encourage all parents to have their students wear masks. No one wants the schools to shut down on-site instruction but with the virus clearly spreading among youth, those choosing not to wear a mask are risking spreading the disease to others. 

We’ve seen several photos of some of our youth and young people on social media enjoying summer activities in our county but not appearing to be socially distanced or wearing a mask. It’s nice to see people enjoying our county but we’d prefer for them to do so while wearing a mask or practice social distancing. We’d hate for their good works to lead to more illness. 

The Madison County Record is giving away cloth masks while supplies last. We are still closed to the public in an effort to protect our employees from the spread of Covid-19 but if you’d like a mask, be sure to reach out and let us know by giving us a call at (479) 738-2141.