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Dallas Center-Grimes yearbook adviser Ivy Soener sent an email to students last week that announced "unmasked" as the 2021-2022 theme. Screenshot courtesy of a parent

"Unmasked" will not be the 2021-2022 yearbook theme at Dallas Center-Grimes High School, principal Scott Blum assured parents in an email last week.

Driving the news: Teacher and yearbook adviser Ivy Soener announced in an email to students on Sept. 8 that "unmasked" had been selected out of at least 16 themes students considered via an online poll.

The intrigue: There was some miscommunication among school staff, including Blum. He didn't know about Soener's email when he sent his message to parents the following day after being alerted to concerns on social media, district spokesperson Anne Wemhoff told Jason yesterday.

  • The word "unmasked" had been used during a brainstorming session as a descriptor but was not selected, Blum mistakenly wrote in his Sept. 9 email.

What they're saying: Many parents found the theme to be insensitive, especially considering the ongoing pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 6,300 Iowans.

  • "What a slap in the face to all the kids that are wearing their masks to protect their younger siblings or to protect those with underlying health conditions," one DCG parent wrote on the Iowans for Universal Masks in Schools Facebook page.

The bottom line: The yearbook's theme is still being discussed, but it will not be COVID-19 related, Wemhoff said.

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Go deeper

Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple congressional offices will be closed Friday amid security precautions ahead of Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, aides who have been instructed to work remotely tell Axios.

Why it matters: As the U.S. Capitol faces its first large-scale security test since the deadly attack, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to protect staff as well as lawmakers.

State Department partners with aid group welcoming Afghan refugees to U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14. Photo: Mandel Ngan-Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday that the State Department is partnering with Welcome.US, an aid group helping to welcome and support Afghan refugees who fled their country for the U.S.

Why it matters: The partnership is part of the Biden administration's Operation Allies Welcome, which involves the processing and resettlement of the more than 65,000 Afghans evacuated during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Workout economy hangs fate on celeb trainers

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

At-home workout companies are turning fitness instructors into stars.

What's new: Tonal, which makes a wall-mounted, strength training device, said its machines will start streaming live classes in October. 

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