Iowa Democrats demand Governor Reynolds allow school districts to require masks ahead of start of school year

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:35 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - At a press conference Thursday morning, Iowa Democratic leaders focused on what they called Governor Kim Reynolds’ failed COVID-19 leadership.

”Governor Reynolds forcing unvaccinated children back to school is not a plan, continuing to ignore COVID is not a plan, hoping that the Delta variant just goes away is not a plan,” senator Zach Wals said. “It is reckless, it is dangerous and it is putting untold numbers of children, parents, educators and other staff at severe risk.”

Democratic leaders in Des Moines are demanding Governor Reynolds do three things before the start of the new school year. First, to accept $95 million in federal funding to increase testing in schools. Second, to return to daily reporting of COVID positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Currently, the state is only providing that information once a week.

”Our governor likes to talk about the importance of Iowans doing the right thing and she believes in Iowans to do the right thing,” representative Jennifer Konfrst mentioned. “How can we do the right thing if we do not have the information we need to make good decisions?”

And third, democrats want Governor Reynolds to allow school districts to require masks if they see fit. Konfrst said it is not about demanding masks, but about allowing school districts to follow CDC guidelines.

“The governor did not trust the people to do what is best for them because she did not trust those who were elected in local communities to make decisions that were best for their own communities,” she added. “She took away that control from people in their own communities. She likes to say that she is giving parents control but only the parents who agree with her.”

The Department of Education sent a letter to Governor Reynolds and the local education department, saying “Iowa’s actions to block school districts from adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19″ puts at risk the districts’ goals of keeping students and staff safe.

On Thursday, Governor Reynolds responded to President Joe Biden’s request to some republican governors to step aside if they will ban mask mandates.

”I think it is incredible that he is coming after me when we lead the country in getting our kids back to school, doing it safely and responsibly,” Reynolds commented. “We have done that from the beginning. We are going to do what we have done and that is keep our kids in school.”

Reynolds added the president’s priorities are “misplaced”, saying Biden should be addressing issues at the southern border and Afghanistan instead of focusing on Iowa’s law when it comes to mask mandates.

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