Reynold’s mask mandate ban under review: What’s next for PV?

Iowa+Governor+Kim+Reynolds+makes+the+decision+to+appeal+the+case+ruling+that+stopped+the+enforcement+of+her+mask+mandate+ban.

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds makes the decision to appeal the case ruling that stopped the enforcement of her mask mandate ban.

Isa Burkhart, News Section Editor

Recent court rulings concerning Kim Reynolds’s previous mask mandate ban in school districts have brought new options for masking to Iowan schools.

On Sept. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt issued a temporary restraining order against the ban, halting its enforcement. Brought to Pratt’s attention after a group of parents with special needs children sued Reynolds for her ban, the court ruled for reviewing the law. 

The law is currently under review for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Rehabilitation Act. Claiming that the mask mandate ban prevents the equal opportunity for special needs students to obtain their education, parents of these children are angry. 

A Des Moines mother elaborated on her reasoning behind the lawsuit. “I know that a parent can’t protect their child from all things, but they have a responsibility to protect them from serious safety threats. And for my son, going to a school where not everyone is wearing masks puts him at a huge risk. Meanwhile, because of his needs, he needs to be learning in person.” 

As a result, Reynolds has responded with an appeal to the court ruling. Reynolds and Ann Lebo, the Iowa Department of Education Director, jointly agree that the restraint of the mask mandate ban removes the freedom for parents to decide what is best for their children. 

“Any districts that violate the law will be referred to the State Board of Education and risk loss of funding,” Lebo said. This statement paired with the uncertainty of what is best for the PV district’s staff and students has left the PV community with unanswered questions. 

Superintendent Brian Strusz spoke on the issue with the intention of making the right and responsible decision for the district. “We’re trying to work with our legal counsel right now to say, what impact does this have on us and what should we be doing? As well as looking at the length of time with information from the Department of Education to help us make an informed decision, he said” 

In regards to PV students, masking remains a personal choice motivated by different reasons. Whether students choose to wear masks or not, tension can be created among students with opposing viewpoints. However, the court ruling allowing masking decisions to be decided by the district’s administration may be the neutralizer students need to resolve the tension between them. 

The PV school district will not take this decision lightly. Careful consideration, parent input and information from legal counsel and the Board of Education will all affect the decision that is to be made. 

All that remains is to wait and ask: what is PV’s next step?