Kimberly Gerould: Upset about vaccine rollout, UMass leadership

Friday, February 19, 2021

I am both angry and disappointed with our state’s leadership around the pandemic and the vaccine rollout. Harvard’s Kennedy School gave Massachusetts, a supposed leader in health care, failing grades for its pandemic response, including an F for per capita vaccines.

I’m equally upset with UMass leadership for bringing thousands more students back to the region during the height of the pandemic, and then blaming the students for the COVID outbreak. Yes, undoubtedly there were students who made poor choices, but this should not have been a surprise to anyone.

Until now, Hampshire County’s numbers had been relatively low. Now, according to Covid Act Now, Hampshire County is by far the state’s leader in daily new cases (53.5 per 100,000) and infection rate (1.18). At the moment our county would also get an F.

We need to urge Gov. Charlie Baker to organize a dynamic and efficient vaccination campaign that addresses equity issues and does not shortchange western Massachusetts.

In addition, UMass need to seriously evaluate its policy of having such large numbers of students here, especially when most classes are remote. The health of the students, staff, and local community are at stake.

Kimberly Gerould