DES MOINES, Iowa – Following a U.S. District Court Judge temporarily halting the enforcement of Iowa’s mask mandate ban on Monday, several school districts have reinstated universal masking.
As The Iowa Torch reported earlier this week, the Des Moines Public Schools was one of the first districts to mandate masks for students, students, and visitors during the school day and indoor activities and athletics. It went into effect on Wednesday and allowed families to provide medical documentation to their child’s school nurse to claim a medical exemption.
Council Bluffs Community Schools, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by the ACLU, also reinstated their mask mandate after their school board voted on Tuesday night, leading to parents protesting the decision. The policy went into effect on Wednesday. Students, staff, and visitors at Council Bluffs schools will have to wear masks indoors when physical distancing is not possible during the school day except during breakfast, lunch, and recess.
Cedar Rapids Community School District’s board reinstated a mask mandate that also went into effect on Wednesday for students, staff, and visitors during the school day.
The Iowa City Community School District also implemented a mask mandate effective Wednesday for all who come on school property, including spectators during outdoor sports events. Participating athletes are not required to wear a mask during their games. The school district offered a mask exemption form for those who qualify for a medical exemption. They do not allow religious or philosophical exemptions.
The Urbandale Community School Board voted 4 to 3 on Wednesday evening to become the first suburban school district in the Des Moines Metro to reinstate a mask mandate that will go into effect on Monday. The mask requirement for students and staff will remain in place until Polk County moves to a “moderate” seven-day positivity rate which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is between five and eight percent. In addition, students will be granted medical and religious exemptions.
On Wednesday night, the Ames Community School District Board also voted to reinstate that district’s mandate that will go into effect on Friday for students, staff, and visitors in school buildings, including indoor athletic activities.
Linn-Mar Community Schools implemented a mask mandate for K-6th grade with a plan that the mask mandate will end sixty days after the FDA approves a vaccination for that age group.
Davenport Community Schools requested feedback from residents and parents. The Sioux City School Board declined to adopt a mask mandate when the board’s vice chair’s motion failed to get a second. Dubuque Community Schools said they are in discussions with legal counsel and state associations for guidance.
Update: Since the initial publication of this article, the West Des Moines Community School Board approved a mask mandate and Ankeny Community School Board voted 5 to 2 in favor of mask mandate. The Johnston School Board voted 4 to 3 to require masks. Burlington Community School District and West Burlington Community School District also implemented a mask mandate. Boone Community School District Board voted 3 to 2 to implement a mask mandate.
Not every school board opted to reinstate a mask mandate. Waukee School Board voted four to two against reinstating a mask requirement. Benton Community School Board voted against a mask mandate as did Clear Creek-Amana.
Bondurant-Farrar Community Schools is still considering a mask mandate.
Originally published on September 16, 2021.