JOHNSTON, Iowa – The Johnston Community School District Board of Education voted to immediately lift the district’s mask mandate during a special session on Monday night.
Johnston Superintendent Laura Kacer, in the board agenda, recommended that the board lift the mask mandate for 8th-12th grade students and extend the mask mandate for preK-7 through December 23, 2021.
“This timeframe coincides with the newly available vaccine for students age 5-12 years of age. The winter break allows time for students, if they choose, to benefit from the protection of the vaccine when school begins again on January 3, 2022. The mask mandate must remain in effect for all students while on school transportation as outlined by the CDC guidelines,” her recommendation stated in the board meeting agenda.
The board voted 4 to 3 to lift the mandate immediately instead.
Newly elected board members Derek Tidball, Deb Davis and Clint Evans, who campaigned in part against the mask mandate, voted to lift the mandate. Alicia Clevenger joined the new members in support of their resolution. Katie Fiala, Jennifer Chamberland and Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher voted against the resolution.
The mandate had been in effect since September 23 for preK-12 students, staff and visitors inside any district building during instructional hours.
Johnston is the first Des Moines Metro school that instituted a mask mandate to lift it following the November 2 school board elections.