A federal judge temporarily ordered Iowa to allow mask mandates in schools Monday, Sept. 19. The order will expire when the court rules it is acceptable to stop wearing masks.
Judge Robert Pratt issued this order to resolve a lawsuit from many parents of disabled children about unfair education opportunities, due to the higher risk of receiving COVID-19. As children under age 12 cannot be vaccinated, the parents argued the mask mandate ban violated equal access to education laws.
This temporary ban only applies to Iowa school districts. House File 847, the May bill that prevented schools from mandating facial coverings, still prevents Iowa businesses from enforcing mask mandates and widens open enrollment eligibility.
Superintendent Tom Ahart of Des Moines School District was the first to implement a mask mandate after the order was issued.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in Iowa, our families and staff have expressed their concerns about schools not being able to require minimal, effective mitigation steps, such as wearing a mask, in order to keep people healthy and safe,” Ahart said.
The CRCSD could now decide to require masks for all students. No decision has been announced at this time.