Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has issued another “shot” across the bow for schools that seek to cling to mask mandates that run against the science: It is now illegal, according to Iowa law.
The news was released on Radio Iowa’s Twitter account:
🚨 UPDATE: @IAGovernor has signed this bill into law. Schools may not require masks today, May 20, 2021 and cities, counties may not require masks be worn in businesses. #ialegis #iapolitics #COVID19 https://t.co/t4HdI3dTfQ
— O. Kay Henderson (@okayhenderson) May 20, 2021
“UPDATE: @IAGovernor has signed this bill into law. Schools may not require masks today, May 20, 2021 and cities, counties may not require masks be worn in businesses,” the report read.
Governor Reynolds reacted to the news.
The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions. https://t.co/rLIBX34Ty2
— Gov. Kim Reynolds (@IAGovernor) May 20, 2021
“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” the Iowa Governor’s account stated.
The provision against school mask mandates was an amendment added to H.F. 847. Below is what the amendment entailed.
“An amendment has been filed in the Iowa House that would prohibit school boards, superintendents, and authorities in charge of each addredited nonpublic school in Iowa from adopting, enforcing or implementing a policy requiring employees, students or members of the public to wear facial coverings for any purpose while on district or accredited nonpublic school’s property unless the covering is necessary for a specific extracurricular or instructional purpose,” the Iowa Standard reported. “It will cover public schools as well as accredited nonpublic schools.”
Iowa legislators weighed in on the bill.
“Rep. Eric Gjerde, D-Cedar Rapids, said he doesn’t want to eliminate mask-wearing in schools too soon,” the Des Moines Register reported.
“Masks make sense right now in schools because the majority of students in Iowa’s schools have not been doubly vaccinated,” he said. “One hundred percent of students in elementary schools have not been vaccinated.”
One hundred percent of students in elementary schools being vaccinated for COVID-19 is apparently the new standard for Democrats to support removing masks.
“Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, said he has received hundreds to thousands of messages regarding masks and that some parents believe masks don’t work and that it harms their children’s development,” the Register added.
“This is about freedom. This is about liberty,” he said. “In my district alone, numerous parents have had enough.”
Iowa Governor Reynolds also signed a bill on charter schools, which one local news outlet deemed to be “controversial.”
“The bill allows groups to form charter schools through a direct application to the state department of education without having to go through the local school board,” KCCI reported.
“Charter schools will not only give family choice, they’ll also increase learning opportunities, allow greater flexibility to meet the educational needs of a diverse student population and changing workforce,” Reynolds said at the bill signing.
Since Reynolds signed the bill H.F. 847 as amended, Iowa joins Texas as states that have banned schools from instituting their own mask mandates. Iowa does not have a mask mandate, although private businesses can currently set their own rules.
“Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up,” Abbott said in a news release.
“The executive order allows public schools to continue current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4; however, after June 4, no student, teacher, parent or staff member can be required to wear a mask on school grounds, according to the order,” ABC reported.
Beginning May 21, local governments or officials attempting to impose a mask mandate can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, according to the news release.
While parents will remember and deeply appreciate the legislation come election time, mask advocates are likely to forget by next November, since there is a near-zero statistical chance that any spike in cases will result. Children are not significantly at risk from COVID in the slightest; while there have been under 300 COVID-related deaths for children, an estimated 95% of those patients had comorbidities.
The banning of school mask mandates is a simple way for governors to acquire immense good will from parents who are fed up with the political abuse of the COVID pandemic. Let us all hope more governors follow suit.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.