Sep 15, 2021 - COVID

Where Des Moines metro schools stand on masks after Iowa ban blocked

Illustration of a school bus wearing a mask.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Des Moines metro schools are relying on guidance from their boards for how they should move forward after Iowa's law banning mask mandates in schools was blocked by a federal judge.

Driving the news: The judge's temporary restraining order issued Monday means schools can decide for themselves once again if they want to require students and staff to wear masks.

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds condemned the decision, saying it ignores parental choice.

The big picture: Masks are a highly politicized issue and school boards are at the center of it again — making the upcoming Nov. 2 election a tense affair.

  • And a sign of the times: Some school boards are only meeting virtually or they're holding discussions in closed sessions.

Here's where Des Moines metro districts stand on masks:

Ankeny: The school board listened to the school's legal council Tuesday night, but didn't hold public comment or a vote.

Des Moines: School board members affirmed Superintendent Tom Ahart's decision to require masks, starting today.

Johnston: School officials are recommending everyone, including vaccinated individuals, wear masks inside, per CDC guidelines.

Urbandale: Officials are recommending requiring masks indoors, except for medical exemptions. The board is holding a special meeting on mask usage tonight at 6:30pm.

  • Doors open for the public at 6pm at the Urbandale High School Performing Arts Center. A livestream is available here.

Waukee: The school board has not scheduled a special meeting yet.

West Des Moines: The school board will hold a special meeting via Zoom on Thursday. Details about the agenda and the time are TBD.

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