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Iowa school districts begin mandating masks

Davenport Community School District is one of few Iowa school districts now mandating masks.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Starting Monday, September 20, all students and staff in the Davenport Community School District are required to wear masks.

The school board made the decision Thursday night after a federal judge put a temporary restraining order on Governor Kim Reynolds' law that banned mask mandates in schools.

"What we do is we follow the laws. In the absence of a law we fall on our public health officials, so the Scott County Health Department, the CDC those guidelines in the absence of a law that is what we follow," Davenport Community School District Superintendent TJ Schneckloth said. "Our local health department is highly recommending masking indoors and so is the CDC."

Davenport Community School District is one of ten in the state named in a lawsuit that argues not allowing mask mandates puts students with disabilities at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

The mandate requires masks regardless of vaccination status, though students will not have to wear them while competing in indoor or outdoor sporting events. 

Other Iowa schools districts are also requiring masks for their students and staff. West Burlington's mask mandate took effect last Thursday -- while the Burlington school district will start requiring masks in classrooms on Monday as well.

Muscatine's mask mandate begins this Wednesday, but only applies to those in Kindergarten through 6th grade.

"I have always said you can not replace face to face education with a teacher in a classroom and when all else fails relationships prevail and that's what is very difficult in these times -- to build those really strong relationships because of absence or lack of attendance due to the virus," Schneckloth said.

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