The president of the state teachers union says some Iowa school districts plan to require that students and staff wear face coverings if state law banning mask mandates is overturned.
“District administrators and school boards and educators know what’s best for the communities and they would like to do that and so if there’s a change in the law, it would happen immediately in several districts that I know of,” said Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek.
Beranek hosted an online news conference with the National Education Association’s president late this morning, In answer to a reporter’s question, Beranek said masks can help prevent the recent increase in Covid cases among Iowa students.
“We are hurting our children and it hurts our heart and we hope that the numbers will not continue to increase,” Beranek said.
Late last week, a state judge declined to temporarily block Iowa’s ban on mask mandates in schools. A federal judge has yet to rule on a similar request to at least temporarily block the law. The U.S. Department of Education also is considering action against Iowa’s mask ban. Some school officials in Florida have implemented mask mandates, contrary to Florida policy, but Beranek said that’s unlikely here.
“I do know that there are several districts — administrators and boards of education — who would like to do this, but because the bill is in place and there could be consequences to implementing a mask mandate I know there are locals who are hesitant to do so,” Beranek said.
The Iowa Department of Public Health is updating Covid case numbers on Wednesdays. Last Wednesday’s data showed 29% of the Iowans who had tested positive for Covid in the previous week were under the age of 18.