June 14, 2021

Musing #1: National vs Local

  In the next four posts, we provide some blunt musings about Covid-aware hygiene standards, especially national and industry-specific standards. Come along with us for an untamed ride of nuance and perspective through the wilderness of covidian concern.


Musing #1: Industry-specific versus national standards. An educator in a previous post bemoaned the lack of national standards for cleaning shared equipment in schools. I suspect he felt that local educational practices were either insufficient, thinly followed, or poorly communicated. Thus he pined for more and stricter guidance from on high. 

I wonder if national or even state standards are in fact superior to industry-specific and location-contextualized standards? I am reminded by the complete lockdowns of hair salons in California, while here in Colorado, salons go on about their business in complete safety, following sensible safety standards—with no resultant infections. Can bureaucrats, sitting at a distance, really make the kinds of safety decisions that best fit a local educational community? I think not. 

The CDC recently posted the study results of a potential Covid spread in a Springfield, Missouri hair salon. Two stylists, who subsequently serviced more than 139 patrons, were initially infected. After testing these paying customers, the CDC found “all test results were negative”. Their conclusion? “Adherence to the community’s and company’s face-covering policy likely mitigated spread of SARS-CoV-2”. See the study summary for yourself. The bottom line is that I am suspicious of state or national standards over the local or industry-specific standards.  Looking at the California example, it is all-too-easy it is to overthink the situation and punitively disconnect safety standards from actual science.

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