Johnston school board decides to drop mask requirement


Johnston’s school board members decided on Monday to drop the district’s mask mandate for all students, a move that worries some parents as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in central Iowa. The school board held a special meeting, but the public was not allowed to comment. In a 4-3 vote, members voted to reverse the course of the term that had been in place since September. The change takes effect Tuesday. A board member, Deb Davis, told KCCI that she believes the mandate negatively affects the health of students. “A lot of teachers and parents tell me that masking really stops kids,” Davis said. “It’s not good for their social or emotional health.” Other board members fear the decision was rushed – especially as a new variant of COVID-19 is emerging. They said too few students had been vaccinated to begin removing coronavirus precautions such as wearing masks. “I think hiding everyone until the break until everyone has a chance to get their shots is the best way to go,” said Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, a member of Johnston’s school board. Some parents, including Sabrina Stroble, have expressed satisfaction with the district’s decision to remove face covering requirements, saying families should have the power to do what’s best for their children. “If we can get rid of the mask mandates, it gives people more choice about what they want to do with vaccines next year, because I don’t want it to be a forced issue either,” Stroble said. Other parents fear that their children will not be as protected in school without a warrant. Johnston’s relative, Kayce Shippers, said the issue was affecting near his home. “Most of these people probably haven’t lost someone they love to COVID, and I have,” Schippers said. “And I don’t want to lose anyone anymore. They should care about others, and it doesn’t seem to me that they do. The ruling only affects students wearing masks in Johnston’s classrooms. Face coverings are still required on school buses under a federal mandate.

Johnston’s school board members decided on Monday to drop the district’s mask mandate for all students, a move that worries some parents as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in central Iowa.

The school board held a special meeting, but the public was not allowed to comment.

In a 4-3 vote, members voted to reverse the course of the term that had been in place since September. The change takes effect Tuesday. A board member, Deb Davis, told KCCI that she believes the mandate negatively affects the health of students.

“A lot of teachers and parents tell me that masking really stops kids,” Davis said. “It’s not good for their social or emotional health.”

Other board members fear the decision was rushed – especially as a new variant of COVID-19 is emerging. They said too few students had been vaccinated to begin removing coronavirus precautions such as wearing masks.

“I think hiding everyone until the break until everyone has a chance to get their shots is the best way to go,” said Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, a member of Johnston’s school board.

Some parents, including Sabrina Stroble, have expressed satisfaction with the district’s decision to remove face covering requirements, saying families should have the power to do what’s best for their children.

“If we can get rid of the mask mandates, it gives people more choice about what they want to do with vaccines next year, because I don’t want it to be a forced issue either,” Stroble said.

Other parents fear that their children will not be as protected in school without a warrant. Johnston’s relative, Kayce Shippers, said the issue was affecting near his home.

“Most of these people probably haven’t lost someone they love to COVID, and I have,” Schippers said. “And I don’t want to lose anyone anymore. They should care about others, and it doesn’t seem to me that they do.

The ruling only affects students wearing masks in Johnston’s classrooms. Face coverings are still required on school buses under a federal mandate.


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