Capital Clicks

Reynolds will appeal court ruling on mask mandates in schools

By: - November 2, 2022 4:05 pm

Gov. Kim Reynolds will appeal a federal court ruling that enables school districts to impose universal mask mandates on students and staff. (Photo by Halfpoint Images/Getty Images)

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.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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