Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Iowa school boards debate keeping mask requirements for students, teachers

(Radio Iowa) - Many Iowa school boards are meeting to discuss whether to keep mask requirements in place, at least until classes dismiss for the summer. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommended last week that schools make face coverings optional. Des Moines, Sioux City and Council Bluffs are among the schools that will continue to require masks for students and teachers. During a school board meeting Monday night, Ankeny Superintendent Al Azinger (AY-zinger) said many teachers are vaccinated but not many students.

"There are only 11 days left in the year," Azinger says. "It seems prudent to follow the advice that we’re getting from the majority of the reputable medical community."

Ankeny will make masks optional for summer school and likely next school year. During the meeting, Ankeny parent Megan Anthony asked the school board to follow the state guidelines.

Anthony says, "Just as we layered on additional mitigation strategies as numbers rose, we must start to remove those layers as our numbers continuously drop."

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s call for optional masking is in conflict with the CDC, which said on Saturday that schools should continue distancing and masking because not all students are eligible for a vaccine. State health officials say kids who are exposed to COVID-19 should not have to stay home, while the CDC says masking and quarantines should continue until more adults and children are vaccinated.

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