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Council Bluffs schools to require masks

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 12:36 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A day after a federal judge put a temporary hold on Iowa’s mask mandate ban, Council Bluffs Community School District is putting mask rules in place.

School district officials said Tuesday that masks will be required for all students, staff, and visitors in its schools “when physical distancing is not possible.”

The requirement goes into effect on Wednesday.

“We do recognize that members of our school community have varying opinions on the wearing of masks. As a school district, we have the responsibility to make decisions based on state and federal law and are doing so with the implementation of this change in expectations based on yesterday’s order,” Dr. Vickie Murillo, Council Bluffs Community School District superintendent, said in a letter sent to student families Tuesday morning.

The district is not yet implementing any changes to extracurricular activities, according to the letter, and notes that the rules may be revised as legal actions unfold.

Dear Parents,

Yesterday, a federal judge issued an order that temporarily halts the Iowa law that banned mask mandates in school districts.

Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, September 15, we will expect all students, staff and visitors to wear masks at school during school hours when physical distancing is not possible. Students will not have to wear a mask when seated to eat breakfast, lunch or while participating in recess or outdoor classroom activities.

Our extracurricular and co-curricular activities will remain unchanged until we receive guidance from our state athletic and music associations.

Pending the outcome of ongoing legal action in this case, these mask expectations may be revised. We do recognize that members of our school community have varying opinions on the wearing of masks. As a school district, we have the responsibility to make decisions based on state and federal law and are doing so with the implementation of this change in expectations based on yesterday’s order.

As a school district, we will continue the following:

We will also continue to track and monitor the positive case totals and trends in each school and throughout the school district, notify parents and staff of positive cases, and collaborate with the Pottawattamie County Health Department as appropriate to determine if we need to adjust our practices and mitigation measures.

Thank you for your cooperation as we work together as a supportive school community during this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vickie Murillo, Council Bluffs Community School District superintendent

Parents both for and against the change spoke with 6 News, sharing their opinions.

“My daughter has been wearing a mask from the beginning and she would tell me that half of her class, three quarters of her class, didn’t have a mask on, so it was kind of pointless for her,” says Ryan Batt, who has three kids in the district. “I love it that now everybody is, everybody’s protected.”

Batt says it’s disappointing that it has become more of an issue for parents than for kids when it comes to masking.

Others who spoke to 6 News, who declined an on-camera interview, say they’re now considering pulling their kids from schools if masking will be enforced.

One woman says the decision to wear masks shouldn’t be up to the schools, and plans to share her opinions at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

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