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A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Monday blocking Iowa from enforcing a recent law that bars schools from requiring masks.
Why it matters: The move, effective immediately, allows school districts to enforce mask mandates as kids are returning to the classroom. The lawsuit represents the interest of students who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines or are at risk of severe complications from the virus.
A wave of conservative candidates are running in Iowa school board elections this November and they're energized by top-down cultural battles like race-related curriculum and mask requirements.
Why it matters: School board seats — typically uneventful and nonpartisan roles — are the coveted spots this fall as both parties try to ensure their ideologies are reflected in classrooms, especially in our COVID-19 era.
State of play: The boards hold a lot of influence this school year. Critical race theory is banned in classrooms, but the vague law leaves plenty of room for schools to create their own interpretations.