Masks No Longer Required in Iowa Schools

Oliver Klipsch, Writer

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, May 20th, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law that does not allow school districts to require students or teachers to wear masks. It also states that Iowa cities and counties cannot impose mask mandates stronger than the state-wide policy.


This means that students and teachers at Central do not have to wear a mask if they do not want to. It is now a personal choice. 


This law comes at a time when daily reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased since November, and as vaccinations have become increasingly available in Iowa. However, many people disagree with the decision, as it goes against the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations to keep wearing masks throughout the rest of the school year. 


Mike Baranek, the President of the Iowa State Education Association, said of the vote, “It is a shame our elected leaders feel the need to end this historically difficult year on such an uninformed note.”


Some teachers at Central have similar thoughts. Max Duvall, a teacher at Central, said of the law, “The District is following the law passed by the Governor, but students and staff are encouraged to make their own decisions. I have seen many students that are continuing to wear masks. I think that is smart, there is no point in being careless with only a few weeks of school remaining before summer. Wearing masks is to protect others as much as it is to protect ourselves.”


“I do think that it is unfortunate that the Governor did not see fit to allow local districts to make their own decision about mask-wearing. But sometimes you do what you have to do.”


Based on District COVID numbers in the coming weeks, we will have to see whether or not this decision proves to be acceptable or dangerous.