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Parents advocating to remove ban on mask mandates in schools

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As thousands of children in Iowa are heading back to school next week, some families are concerned about the possible spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

In May, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law banning schools from putting mask mandates in place. Just last week, Erin Dahl, of Waukee, helped organize the Safe at School Sit-in at the capitol in response.

This week, Dahl, with support from the Disability Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party, sent a complaint to the Iowa Ethics Committee, concerning the passing of House File 847, the formal name of the law banning schools from creating mask mandates.

“My complaint goes over the ethics violation Standard 12-b, that senators can’t discriminate based on disability. I am a disabled person, so as soon as I heard about the mandate I was immediately very concerned,” Dahl said.

It’s something that impacts Dahl personally, as her two children head back to class.

“My husband is a teacher, he has a heart condition and he teaches PE, where people are breathing very heavily,” Dahl said. “My best friend has ALS, we go and take care of him, and we have a friend staying with us right now, who is a close family friend as well, and she has Parkinson’s, so you see that this one little girl going to school unvaccinated it becomes a major issue for my family.”

Dahl is a former teacher. She said she hopes to see change quickly, as classes for thousands of children in Iowa starts next week. She’s also created a petition detailing the complaint she sent. So far, it has around 500 signatures.

Masks in schools is a concern shared by other families across Iowa.

“They should be able to have a mask mandate without being punished for it,” Margaret Stephen, who was part of a group that gathered Tuesday in Cedar Rapids to protest the ban on mask mandates, said.

Stephen is advocating on behalf of her grandchildren.

”It’s just really scary, we don’t want our kids getting sick, we don’t want them bringing sickness home to someone that maybe for some reason can’t get the vaccine,” Stephen said.

KCRG-TV9 reached out to senators listed on the ethics complaint, and have not heard back by the time this article was posted.

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