The Iowa City Community School District will no longer require face coverings under a law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday morning, despite Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
The bill, House File 847, bans Iowa counties, cities, school boards, and superintendents from mandating masks for students, staff, or visitors on school property. In the final hours of the 2021 legislative session, the House passed the bill with a 53-35 vote and the Senate voted 29-17. The votes split along party lines.
The law also bans cities and counties from implementing policies that relate to the use of facial coverings “that is more stringent than a policy imposed by the state,” the bill states.
Superintendent Matt Degner wrote in an email to the Iowa City Community School District that the law will be imposed effective immediately and face coverings will now be optional for students, staff, and visitors.
Degner wrote the District recommends the staff continue to wear face coverings at work.
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“While face coverings are no longer required, we strongly encourage families to have their students wear a face covering, especially if they have not received the COVID-19 vaccination,” Degner wrote.
In February, Gov. Reynolds signed a bill requiring Iowa schools to offer a fully in-person learning option, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan.
The CDC recommends “universal masking” and K-12 students to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings.