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ACLU of Iowa asks 8 school districts to reinstate mask mandates

The organization is asking 8 districts involved in a lawsuit over mask mandates, including Davenport CSD, to reinstate the guidelines to comply with federal rulings.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The American Civil Liberties Union's Iowa branch sent a letter to 8 Iowa school districts, including Davenport's, to reinstate mask mandates amid a lawsuit involving those same districts.

The ACLU published its statement on Friday, February 4, asking 8 of the 10 districts involved in a lawsuit over protecting children with disabilities with mask mandates to reinstate the guidelines. 

The districts that received the letter include the Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Decorah, Denver, Johnston, Linn-Marr, and Waterloo school districts.

The ACLU points to the January 25 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals' Eighth Circuit, which ruled that masking requirements are considered a reasonable accommodation for disability protections, in a decision that decided that the State of Iowa's law to ban mask requirements violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

"Based on the legal force of the Eighth Circuit’s opinion, we are asking these eight schools to restore their mask mandates immediately because they are still necessary for our clients’ children to go to school safely during this time," said Rita Bettis Austen, ACLU of Iowa legal director. "Failing to require masking when it is necessary as a reasonable accommodation forces our clients to choose between their children’s health and their education."

The letters ask the schools to respond within a week, and say that the lawsuit's plaintiffs with consider further action and litigation.

The ACLU says that the other two districts, Des Moines and Iowa City, did not receive a letter because they maintained their mask mandates following the ruling.

The Davenport Community School District says that is is does not currently have any comments to make in response, but does say that there will be a follow-up in next week.

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