(Council Bluffs, IA) -- After a federal judge temporarily blocked the state of Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools, the Council Bluffs Community Schools becomes the second Iowa district to bring masks back into classrooms.
On Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after the federal judge's ruling, the district announced that starting on Wednesday, September 15th masks will be required while in school buildings. "We will expect all students, staff and visitors to wear masks at school during school hours and when physical distancing is not possible." Des Moines Public Schools was the first district in the state to announce that they would be bringing back a mask requirement.
Council Bluffs Community School District says students will not have to wear a mask when seated to eat breakfast, lunch or while participating in outdoor classroom activities or recess. The district says, "Staff members may choose to remove masks when children are not present before and after school. However, it is strongly recommended that those who are not vaccinated wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible."
The district says the rules may be changed pending legal outcomes from the ongoing court battle. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has said she will appeal the judge's decision.
"We do recognize that members of our school community have varying opinions on the wearing of masks. As a school district, we have the responsibility to make decisions based on state and federal law, and are doing so with the implementation of this change in expectations based on yesterday’s order," the district said in a letter sent to staff.
The district says they will continue to do the following:
- Make masks available at school
- Encourage regular hand washing and sanitizing opportunities throughout the day, especially before and after eating
- Regularly clean high touch points
- Practice enhanced daily sanitization of all classrooms
They say they will also continue to track and monitor the positive case totals and trends in each school and throughout the school district, notify parents and staff of positive cases, and collaborate with the Pottawattamie County Health Department as appropriate to determine if we need to adjust our practices and mitigation measures.