Gov. Reynolds on decision to prohibit school mask policies

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa is one of eight states that don’t allow schools to require that children and teachers wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people in schools wear masks due to the surge in cases due to the Delta variant.

KCRG-TV9′s Beth Malicki asked Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds about the issue of masks in schools, pointing out that Louisiana schools saw thousands of positive cases within days of the school year and that the CDC is looking into if the delta variant is more dangerous to children.

BETH MALICKI: So with this uncertainty what would it take for you to allow districts to initiate a mask mandate?

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS: So right now, I’d like to see data, they’re not very transparent with the data I’ve asked for a lot of data on their requirement for mask and they have not been forthcoming. It’s a recommendation, it is guidance, we can find data on both sides of the issue, the impact that it potentially has to children and so I want to make sure that we’re being transparent with the data we want to make sure that we’re getting accurate data I mean some of their original data that they sourced was a site with a test, or research out of India with a vaccine that we don’t even use and so when you do things like that it tends to make people uncomfortable with what we’re basing those decisions on. And so I think we just want to make sure that we’re looking at all of the data that we’re taking everything into account. and right now we’re not seeing that transfer into hospitalizations with children but we monitor this monitor the data every single day and we’ll continue to monitor the data every day, and we’ll respond accordingly. So right now I think it’s important for parents to know if you feel more comfortable with your child wearing a mask to school, then by all means you should do that. But if you’re a parent, that knows the health of your children, and you have made a decision based on what you know your child has either dealt with or been exposed to or their underlying condition then that parents can make that decision as to whether they want to have their child wear a mask or not. So, you know, we’ll continue to monitor the data that comes in and will respond accordingly.

BETH MALICKI: Do you believe masks in schools would reduce the spread?

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS: You know, I’ve not seen the data to necessarily say yes or no, we didn’t see with COVID-19, the exposures were not found to be in the school, and that was in schools that did and didn’t so it was very consistent across the board. If you look at the states that, you remember when we had the spike. And it was across the country. I mean, across the country later. Yeah, pretty much the whole map of the United States was burning down red in November and December, there was no variation between the states that had locked down, the states that have remained open, the states that have implemented mask mandates, and those that hadn’t, there was no their outcomes.

BETH MALICKI: But the research is pretty clear that masks do work.

GOV. REYNOLDS: Well, N-95s work, yeah, they work if you wear them right. There’s also data that says that they don’t. I mean, there’s data on both sides so you can find.

BETH MALICKI: Do you find it equal?

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS: Oh, listen I’m not a scientist, so I have to take, I have to do the best that I can do with the information that I received, but really what I think I need to do is, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on in your family. I don’t know what concerns that you have, you’re a mom of those, your children and you’re, you guys can make that decision. And so I really do believe that we need to put parents. We need to give them a say in moving in how and what their kids do. But like I said I just said, we’ll continue to monitor the situation but like right now I think there’s, there’s people that support it. And there’s people that don’t, and so what we’re saying is if you feel very strongly about your child wearing a mask and you feel more comfortable about them getting a vaccine not getting a vaccine, wearing a mask not wearing a mask, then that’s their option

BETH MALICKI: If like me as a parent, if I want my son and daughter to wear a mask at school but they get there and say ‘forget this’ and they tear it off can the teacher be like ‘your mom sent a note.’

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS: I don’t know.

BETH MALICKI: Because we don’t know either.

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS: This is what we did, we said we’re not going to mandate it, that we’re going to put parents back in charge of their children, parents will make the decision on how we move forward with this. They can still have, you know, they still have options to do some online learning that’s available. There’s a process to go through that. And, I said kids need to be in the classroom, so we need to look at the whole child will make making these decisions. And we continue to see a lot of bad outcomes that we put these kids through, especially kids that haven’t been in the classroom for almost two years. I’m telling you, the impact that we’re going to have on those children is unconscionable.

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