Judge temporary order allows Iowa schools to require masks

Following a legal investigation into the state, a District Judge placed a temporary restraining order on the state’s mask mandate prohibition.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) listens to people after Ashley Hinson’s BBQ Bash on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 at Linn County Fairgrounds.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Schools in Iowa are now able to require that students wear masks after the District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted a temporary restraining order regarding the Iowa’s current mask mandate ban.

With the temporary mask restraining order, the law that originally banned schools, cities, and counties from enacting mask policies that Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into effect on May 20, 2021, can be overlooked by schools wishing to require masks. 

The order was signed by the judge on Monday following a lawsuit filed by parents and backed by the American Civil Liberties Union that sought to strike down and overturn the ban. 

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Iowa was one of five states to undergo an investigation to decide whether the statewide prohibition of mask mandates discriminates against students with disabilities who have a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 by preventing them from safely accessing in-person education. 

Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek released a statement on Twitter that said he is relieved to see the temporary order that will return decision making to the local level. 

Beranek said the association supports local school districts’ ability to make decisions that are best for their students. 

“Today and everyday, the ISEA stands in support of our local schools, students, school employees, and school communities as we navigate the safest way possible,” Berenek said. 

Matt Degner, the Iowa City Community School District Superintendent, said in a press release that the Board of Directors will discuss the new developments at their board meeting on Tuesday and will provide an update on how the district will move forward following the meeting. 

“While the options will be reviewed and discussed during the Board Meeting, we strongly encourage all students and staff to wear a mask to school tomorrow as we anticipate the District implementing a mask requirement for all individuals in school buildings,” Degner said. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a press release moments after the restraining order was signed. SHe said she plans to appeal the action in order to defend Iowan’s rights and freedoms. 

“Today, a federal judge unilaterally overturned a state law, ignored the decision by our elected legislature and took away parents’ ability to decide what’s best for their child,” Reynolds said. 

Iowa Republican Party Chair, Jeff Kaufmann said in a tweet that he supports the governor’s law and that the state legislature needs to use every legal option to uphold state law. 

Iowans know what’s best for their kids, not Joe Biden and certainly not some unelected federal judge,” Kaufmann tweeted.