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NPR’s Debbie Elliot asks Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mayor Donnie Tuck of Hampton, Va., and Mayor Bruce Teague of Iowa Metropolis, Iowa, how they are making an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.



DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

Campuses are usually buzzing with enjoyment about now, welcoming pupils again for the slide semester with parades, shift-in times and lots and lots of campus swag. But this year, that power is dampened by the pandemic as lots of educational institutions convert to remote understanding, whilst some others tried to reopen campus, only to dial it back right after looking at a spike in coronavirus bacterial infections. Municipalities that are host to colleges and universities are bracing for a obstacle, whether it truly is curtailing the unfold or coping with an economic climate without the normal influx of college student investing. We’re joined now by 3 mayors of college or university towns from all around the nation.

Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Ala., which is residence to the College of Alabama, welcome to you.

WALT MADDOX: Thank you for getting me.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Donnie Tuck of Hampton, Va., which serves as the dwelling of the HBCU Hampton University, welcome.

DONNIE TUCK: Thank you for acquiring me.

ELLIOTT: And last but not least, Mayor Bruce Teague of Iowa Town, Iowa, residence, of system, to the College of Iowa. Welcome to you.

BRUCE TEAGUE: Hello and go Hawks.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Maddox, I’ll start out with you first. Roll Tide, I ought to say.

MADDOX: Roll Tide.

ELLIOTT: Tuscaloosa has been grappling with a big spike in scenarios. Much more than a thousand pupils have analyzed positive considering that coming again to campus a pair of months back. Can you give us a sense of what is actually heading on and if you consider the college is undertaking what it should to control the spread?

MADDOX: Very well, I feel they are performing every thing that is humanly doable. They did practically 30,000 reentry tests and only had about a small little bit over 300 that came again positive that never ever made its way to campus. But previous Tuesday, they started screening. And in 4 days, they ended up practically at 500 tested beneficial. That is why we had to consider some remarkable steps inside of the town, as the university did on campus, to reduce the further spread of the coronavirus.

ELLIOTT: What did you do?

MADDOX: We shut down the bars, and we removed bar company in dining establishments. The university, by way of its make contact with tracing, experienced recognized bars as one particular of the two hot zones that we are viewing in Tuscaloosa. We hated to make that conclusion. There’s 29 bars in individual that have been impacted by this. But we’ve bought 6,500 businesses in the city, and we have to protect these businesses. We cannot eliminate the slide right here in Tuscaloosa. It would be economically disastrous for our community.

ELLIOTT: I’m likely to flip now to Mayor Tuck, who in a perception has missing the slide. Hampton University has made the decision to go entirely remote this semester. I imagine that is a substantial blow to your economic climate. Can you walk us via the conversations that you had with the university leaders and how it arrived down to this solution?

TUCK: Well, let me say, to start with of all, with respect to the blow to the economy, Hampton University only has about 4,000 undergraduate students. Because of our site in Hampton Roadways with Newport Information, Virginia Seaside and Norfolk, the pupils go other locations. So in fact, the bucks they devote is spread out. So there is not the exact same economic impression, but there is that perception of loss of electrical power that the learners provide and absolutely with the pursuits on campus – the athletic events and the cultural gatherings.

ELLIOTT: So it can be much quieter.

TUCK: It is substantially quieter.

ELLIOTT: So Mayor Teague, let’s get you in the conversation now. The governor of Iowa has issued an government buy shutting down bars, dining places and other local companies to assist stem what has been a unexpected spike in scenarios there in your metropolis. This arrives immediately after the University of Iowa president, Bruce Harreld, criticized these identical enterprises for not applying stricter protection steps. What is your reaction?

TEAGUE: The governor’s get – actually, it necessary to be carried out. We need to have to acquire some time to check out to get our numbers down. 1 of the difficulties is it was just after the simple fact. So we need to have to be a little much more proactive right here in our neighborhood, but I am really grateful that our governor did the get that she did. Even our neighborhood neighborhood school, Kirkwood, introduced that it really is going 100% on the net. And the college hasn’t carried out that nevertheless, but I believe that it’s heading to abide by go well with.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Maddox, I’m heading to arrive back again to you. Your populace there in Tuscaloosa swells when the Alabama learners return, and then even additional persons clearly show up for soccer in a stadium that can maintain extra than a hundred thousand admirers. I know that is a large financial impression in your town, but is it well worth it with the pandemic raging?

MADDOX: Properly, suitable now, the university has confined the attendance to 20%, so around 20,000 will be in the stadium. They’ve also – are not heading permit tailgating on campus, which signifies we are coming up with a strategy and a vision of how to deal with that mainly because, as you know, football is a faith listed here in Tuscaloosa. We’re even conversing about closing down University Boulevard, which is a significant four-lane highway that runs in front of the stadium, and producing tailgate spaces 10 to 12 feet apart. We are not likely to be ready to quit the influx of people today into the town, but making an attempt to hold them secure is heading to be a huge logistical endeavor.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Teague, you have to acknowledge socializing, heading to functions – this is all a aspect of normal campus expertise. Is there a way to sort of maintain relatively of a higher education encounter but nonetheless continue to keep pupils safe?

TEAGUE: I think ideal now, people today are truthfully starting to be revolutionary. As we know, it is crucial. These are youthful people, and of study course, we continue to keep stating the identical thing. We had been all youthful once. And I know my higher education encounter – I definitely savored it. And so it’s likely to choose some initiatives to genuinely locate out, how can we abide by polices and also be equipped to have interaction and socialize with just about every other? – simply because if the bars are closed, younger individuals – they’re going to do one thing. And the vital is likely to be educating relentlessly and constantly sending out messages so that they know that – hey, let us test to determine out methods collectively in hopes of trying to keep everybody protected in our community.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Tuck, do you foresee acquiring a spring semester at Hampton?

TUCK: I believe that so, but I believe the challenge in this article is that across Virginia, our figures are nevertheless raising. We experienced commenced to flatten the curve, but then as we started off taking away some of the restrictions – Hampton is a seaside community. We’ve obtained Virginia Seaside down here. And so what occurred was originally, the inhabitants that was afflicted by COVID-19 was your seniors who were being in nursing houses. But then you begin acquiring the distribute from the seashores and the bars and factors like that. And so you saw that demographic start going all the way down into the 20s.

And so I do not know. We’re hoping that we can get matters beneath manage simply because now our region would seem to be getting the finest variety of cases in new scenarios. And until we can get that down, I really don’t think that we’re going to be equipped to do it.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Maddox, how do you see this participating in out heading ahead?

MADDOX: I feel in the conclude, it’s going to be really challenging, particularly on faculty campuses, simply because as college students return and then as we see the emergence of flu time, I feel you happen to be likely to carry on to see this spread. Let us all remember – the industry experts were telling us in April and Might, summer is when you get your crack. Effectively, that has not took place for Tuscaloosa, and it isn’t going to audio like it is really occurred for Hampton or Iowa Town as properly.

ELLIOTT: Mayor Bruce Teague of Iowa City, Iowa, Mayor Donnie Tuck of Hampton, Va., and Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Ala., thank you all for talking with us right now.

TEAGUE: Thank you.

TUCK: Thank you.

MADDOX: Thank you.

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