Leave School Decisions in the Hands of the Educators


Iowa Public Radio Images

Photo Via Iowa Public Radio Images. Kim Reynolds speaking to her constituents in Iowa.

Kim Reynolds signed a law early this morning removing the mask mandate in all Cedar Rapids public schools immediately. The CRCSD has no choice but to comply. Regardless of vaccination status, no student or teacher can be required to wear a mask. 

“We are putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” Reynolds said. 

The Pfizer vaccine distribution for children aged 12 to 18 was only approved one week ago. A vast majority of students in all Cedar Rapids schools are not fully vaccinated.

When vaccinated individuals are in close and unmasked contact with people who are not vaccinated, the virus can still be spread. Removing masks without a majority of individuals being fully vaccinated is dangerous, confusing and detrimental to student learning.

This decision was not based on data. It was not based on student or teacher opinions. It was political. Reynold passed this law while ignoring the health and safety of Iowa teachers and students. Removing mask requirements does not protect students or teachers at all. 

With only a few weeks of school remaining, there was no reason to sign this law. The rift between political stances at the local, state, and national level is already immense. The divide will only grow when some students take off their masks and others choose to leave them on. At the level where kids cannot always deal with their emotions in a healthy way, serious conflict will arise over the smallest disagreements.

Perhaps the politicians have forgotten what it was like to be in high school. Any differences are an opportunity to hurt others. Peer pressure is widespread among kids. Younger students hear one thing from their parents and hear another from their friends. With such a limited time left in school, why are we putting children in that position?

Parents and politicians do not attend school every day. Education should be put in the hands of educators who can accurately determine what is best for the student body, teachers and administrative staff. People who are in the buildings everyday know how a change of this magnitude will affect the classroom setting.

Time and time again, Reynolds has proven that she has no business making educational decisions. Months ago she lifted restrictions on the amount of students who can attend class in person. Now she has removed the mask mandate. 

Our teachers, administrators and school board have the students’ best interest at heart. Reynolds does not. The only purpose in signing this law was to garner attention and stand out as the one who said ‘no’ to masks. She claims to put students first, but based on the policies she has implemented, that statement is false. 

This decision was not necessary. It could have waited until the end of the year. It certainly could have waited until Monday and given administrators a chance to prepare. Reynolds was not considering students and staff when she came to this decision. 

I’ve asked it before and I will ask it again: Reynolds, why do you hate public schools?