Tanya Keith, a parent in Des Moines, says she’s concerned about the risk the highly-contagious delta variant poses to younger kids.
“I don’t want my vaccinated son to bring home a breakthrough case that infects our unvaccinated first-grader,” she said during Tuesday night’s Des Moines School Board meeting.
Parents in Des Moines, Johnston, and Ames are asking districts to set up classrooms where all students voluntarily commit to wear masks. Des Moines superintendent Thomas Ahart said it would be unenforceable and it would disrupt class size arrangements. The Des Moines School Board has approved a half-million-dollar contract with a private firm that will provide an online option for elementary students for the fall semester.
“We do need to be cognizant that there are certainly some state level restrictions that prevent us from doing what we know to be best practice,” Ahart said.
The Iowa City School Board has voted to extend the deadline for enrolling in online classes to August 9. Governor Kim Reynolds approved a law in May that forbids schools from requiring students or staff to wear face coverings on school property. Arkansas passed a similar law this spring and that state’s Republican governor is now asking the Arkansas legislature to repeal it and let schools make decisions as cases increase in their areas.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Grant Gerlock/ Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson contirbuted to this story.)