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Iowa Governor Will Appeal Court Ruling on School Mask Mandates

Gov. Kim Reynolds will appeal a federal court ruling that enables school districts to impose universal mask mandates on students and staff

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that enables school districts to impose universal mask mandates on students and staff.

“As I’ve said all along, whether a child wears a mask to school is up to the parents, not the government,” Reynolds said in a written statement. “I will appeal this ruling so that Iowa families have the right to decide what’s best for their children.”

In May 2021, Reynolds signed legislation prohibiting school districts from imposing mask mandates on staff and students. That triggered a lawsuit brought by the parents of children who have disabilities or chronic health conditions that put them at greater risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.

The parents alleged the state was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by making it impossible for school districts to make reasonable accommodations for their children through the imposition of mask mandates.

An injunction was issued preventing the enforcement of the new law, but Reynolds appealed that decision. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated the injunction, noting that COVID-19 conditions in classrooms had changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

That ruling focused only on the injunction and not on the broader issue of the law’s legality. Litigation over that issue continued and on Tuesday, a federal judge again ruled in favor of the parents, noting that doctors for three students had recommended the students’ teachers and classmates be masked.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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