masks - Graphic by Aubrey Kremer

The return of BGSU students, whether living on or off-campus, has the city’s plan to transition into the school year in focus.

Bowling Green Mayor Mike Aspacher released a joint letter with BGSU President Rodney Rogers regarding off-campus students moving back to Bowling Green. They asked for students to recognize their responsibility not only as BGSU students, but also as community members.

“The city of Bowling Green, Bowling Green State University and your landlord and property owner are committed to your health and safety and are unified in taking the necessary steps to reduce COVID-19,” the letter states.

Off-campus students are also asked to limit the amount of people to 10 in a rental unit, follow social distancing standards and use face coverings.

“Mayor Aspacher and I have worked very closely to engage with landlords of the many major apartment complexes … We have talked to business owners including restaurants and bars in downtown Bowling Green to make sure we are all united around health protocols to make sure we are doing all we can do to reduce the risk of COVID on our campus and in our community,” President Rodgers said at a Board of Trustees virtual meeting.

On July 14, Ordinance 8861 was passed by city council, which declared a public emergency and requires face coverings in public places.

Lt. Dan Mancuso of the Bowling Green Police Department spoke on what they are doing to enforce masks, as well as prepare for students’ return.

“We are responding to complaints regarding the masks and trying to determine if people are exempt from not wearing them,” he said. “There are several exemptions in the ordinance.”

Some exemptions include: any person under six years old, any person who cannot wear a mask due to health issues, special needs or developmental issues, any person who cannot remove a mask without assistance and when receiving medical or dental attention.

Mancuso says the BGPD has only received two complaints and has yet to file any citations due to the lack of facial covering.

Mancuso said the best way to handle someone not wearing a face mask is, “speaking to them about the ordinance and doing a lot of education related to the masks.”

When it comes to nightlife in Bowling Green, bars will require facial coverings to enter and while walking around inside but can be removed when seated.

As many prepare for the return of the BGSU student body, the BGPD is sticking to what they know and do each year.

“We’re preparing the same way we do every year, we are looking at our schedule and determining manpower so we have enough officers … to respond to calls.” Mancuso said. “Our manpower is adequate, and we don’t change anything in relation to the students coming back.”

The hope for student cooperation on social distancing, use of facial covering and the limit of people in rental units is what the city and school are relying on for a successful return.

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