Parents and school officials react to Gov. Reynolds mask mandate ban

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill Thursday morning banning all mask mandates in schools and cities. Local superintendents say they will continue to keep students safe with other safety protocols.

“Now that the decision was made last night it really comes down to, how do you make sure you as an individual feel safe in school,” says Brian Strusz, Superintendent at Pleasant Valley School District.

Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf school districts say the decision, contradicting CDC guidance, raises questions for parents.

“Some welcomed the news and there are others that have concerns like are my children going to be safe?” says Michelle Morse, Superintendent at Bettendorf School District.

For parents, masks now come down to choice after requirements in place for almost a year.

“I’m all for choice but there comes a line that has to be drawn when the age group of twelve and under is still fully capable of getting it and they have no other protection than what we have been doing like social distancing and masks,” says Brad Riedell, a quad cities parent.

While some parents are concerned about the state’s decision, others are praising it.

“For junior high and high school kids, masking shouldn’t even be a word that we know,” said a parent at PV’s school board meeting Tuesday evening.

“People have brought their kids into schools unvaccinated before and it gets other kids sick so that’s why I think it’s important to have the mask in school,” Jeannie Hamilton, a quad cities parent.

“I don’t think it makes much sense especially since kids twelve and under still cannot be vaccinated so they are all still at risk,” says Riedell.

School officials say they will still social distance, sanitize, and encourage safety with or without a mask as much as possible.

“We are going to keep safety at the forefront of all that we do,” says Michelle Morse, “It’s not always perfect but when we put children first and make decisions we will all win in that process.”

Virtual learning will still be an option for Bettendorf and PV parents who are not comfortable sending their kids back to school without the mask requirement. The state of Illinois still requires masks in schools.

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