Community leaders join CATs panel to talk COVID-19, impact on Manhattan

Leaders in the Manhattan community participated in a Community Action Talks meeting via Zoom on July 24.

The second meeting of the Community Action Talks series was hosted Friday afternoon on Zoom to answer questions and discuss topics related to COVID-19 and Kansas State.

The meeting was moderated by Provost Charles Taber, and included five other leaders from the Manhattan community.

It focused primarily on community action related to COVID-19, while the previous session revolved around diversity, inclusion and social justice. Taber said next week’s talk will focus on the university’s strategies regarding the pandemic.

“It’s a public health crisis unlike anything our country has seen in over a hundred years,” he said.

Taber said that entities like the city of Manhattan, Riley County, Pottawatomie County, Fort Riley and others all need to work together in a partnership to effectively handle this pandemic.

Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi said that businesses, individuals and organizations have the option to take a pledge to follow certain standards to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“We haven’t peaked yet, and I think we need to understand what the numbers are saying,” Reddi said.

She drew attention to the fact that Manhattan currently has 113 active cases, compared to 83 active cases one month ago.

Jason Smith, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, brought a business perspective to the meeting.

“We are in a situation that if students can’t come back, if we can’t have football season and if soldiers can’t come to the community — we’re gonna be in trouble economically,” Smith said.

Several of the leaders on the call emphasized the importance of wearing a face covering in public.

A recording of the meeting can be found on K-State’s website.