When I learned that the Mankato City Council would be discussing opening parks this week, I reached out to my councilperson and the mayor to express my deep concern with opening playground equipment too soon.

Playground equipment is designed to encourage social interaction in children, a demographic with very limited ability to self-monitor and keep their hands off their faces.

We do not yet have adequate data to understand how children transmit COVID-19. I feel very strongly that the benefit of playground equipment does not outweigh the life of an at-risk grandparent.

Hopefully soon the governor will be providing some further guidance to cities about when it is safe to open up other outdoor venues like campgrounds and tennis courts. At that time I’m very confident that the city and the council will come up with a reasonable, well thought out plan that will work well for all.

In the meantime, I‘d suggest that households head to the parts of our parks that are open. Throw the football, take a hike, or plan a family field day. When the playgrounds open, I, like every other parent, will rejoice. In the meantime, stay safe.

Thank you for all that you are doing to allow the Mankato medical providers to protect our community.

Dr. Katie Smentek

Mankato

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