PROVO, Utah – Provo is one of two cities moving back to orange status on Wednesday due, in large part, to a spike in positive COVID-19 test results among college kids.
That’s why the city’s getting ready to launch an education campaign aimed at getting those college students to wear a mask.
Mayor Michelle Kaufusi says 80% of people in Provo were wearing masks before the city enacted a mask mandate in August.
But she feels Provo college kids haven’t taken the message to heart.
“The mandate was in place prior to the students coming. Even with the mandate, the [COVID-19] numbers have gone through the roof. So, something I think we’ve all learned is students don’t really care about a mandate,” Kaufusi said.
That doesn’t mean the city is throwing in the towel.
They will be spending $100,000 in federal CARES Act money on the campaign, with college students writing ads encouraging their classmates to mask up.
“We’re going to come at it from a different angle…and we’re hoping that this will hit home with the students because, apparently, it’s obvious the mandate hasn’t,” Kaufusi said.
In addition to the ads, which will be posted to social media, the city is looking at giving gift cards and t-shirts to young people who wear masks.
Provo plans to roll out the campaign on October 1st.
Although young people are less likely to have a serious case of COVID-19, Kaufusi and others are worried the virus is now spreading among older and more vulnerable people in the community.
“We love that we’re a college town. We welcome them. Our motto is, ‘Welcome Home’. But in return, we expect you to respect us and give us a little respect back,” Kaufusi said.
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