The Ankeny School Board voted to reinstate a mask mandate Tuesday night for all staff, students, volunteers and visitors inside district buildings during regular school hours.
The board voted 5-2 to approve changes to its back-to-learning plan, which included mandatory hiding indoors during the school day for all students, teachers, staff visitors and volunteers , regardless of their vaccination status.
Indoor masking during school events outside of the regular school daybe strongly encouraged, but not required. Masking outside on school propertynot be required.
The changes will take effect on Thursday.
Tuesday also:Johnston school board narrowly votes to impose masks in classrooms, starting Thursday
Superintendent Erick Pruitt explained to a room of more than 100 parents on Tuesday evening that the recommendation to approve the back-to-learning plan was to avoid a lawsuit against the school district.
“The recommendations provided for consideration are based on my desire that the district school avoid violating federal civil rights and disability laws,” said Pruitt. “The exemptions that were approved last year will be honored this year.”
Pruitt also said that students who are granted exemptions will not be treated any differently from those who wear masks.
In areas with high viral transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wear a face mask, even if a person is vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC both also recommend that all students, staff, and visitors over the age of 2 wear a mask inside school buildings.
Polk County is currently experiencing high transmission rates, when it comes to COVID-19.
Which schools in Iowa have mask mandates? :See the list of schools that have decided to require masks
According to the plan that was adopted on Tuesday, exceptions to the mandate include:
- A person who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to occupational health, safety, or work, as determined by applicable occupational safety guidelines or federal regulations.
- A person for whom, in the opinion of a licensed Iowa medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, or medical assistant, such requirements are medically contraindicated as face coverings could be injurious to health and the well-being of the person.
- A person whose demands conflict with a genuine and sincere religious belief, which is in fact religious and is not simply based on philosophical, scientific, moral, personal, or medical opposition to facial blankets.
Before the board voted, it heard from over 40 parents and community members arguing on both sides – and, at times, members of the public booing and shouting obscenities at those who spoke in favor of the masks .
At one point, a member of the public could be heard threatening the board members telling them they knew where they lived.
“I shouldn’t have to explain to my kindergarten son what some of those shirts and flags that I’ve seen that say… ‘fuck your mask’,” said Alex Drzycimski, parent of Ankeny, who was booed several times when trying to talk about the effectiveness of the masks, said at one point. “These are the actions of a crowd. I think Ankeny is better than a crowd.”
Following:As Governor Kim Reynolds shares mask uncertainty, Iowa health experts say their benefit is clear
Several board members also said they had received hundreds of emails from all sides, not limited to threats as well as demands for and against the mask’s mandate.
“I have received almost 800 emails since last Monday, around 175, from people outside of Ankeny … I think it is important for the public to understand the themes that have emerged in our communication. community beyond … tonight, ”the board said. member Katie Claeys.
Claeys said 225 of the emails opposed a warrant, while 375 supported one.
Ankeny isn’t the only district to reimpose a mask warrant after a U.S. district judge banned state officials from enforcing a law that prohibits school districts from doing so. Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston, Iowa City and Ames schools have all adopted mask warrants since the order was made last week, among others.
More this week:Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds calls on judge to reinstate mask ban, citing parents’ concerns
Read the Ankeny School Board’s new back-to-learning plan:
Having trouble seeing the plan? Click here.
Melody Mercado covers the east of the Des Moines metro for the register. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @melodymercadotv.