Private schools in Iowa still cannot legally instate mask mandates

Private schools cannot legally instate mask mandates
Private schools cannot legally instate mask mandates(KCRG)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Non-public schools in Iowa still have to adhere to state law preventing mask mandates. It all comes down to phrasing. In a judge’s order that came earlier this month prevented enforcement of state law that bans mask mandates, only parents of public school students presented the case.

Xavier schools are just some of the many private schools that still cannot legally enforce mask requirements for students and staff.

“It has to do with the folks who brought the suit forward, and because of that the language never included schools such as ours,” said Xavier President Chris McCarville.

Attorney with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, Sam Jones, says it has to do with the position of the plaintiffs.

“There were no private school individuals who brought a claim seeking to stop the law from being enforced with regards to private schools,” he told TV-9. “The issue of whether or not the law would be enforceable in a private school setting was not in front of the court when it made its ruling.”

Those parents were able to demonstrate how the law adversely affects or harms them or their family. For example, they named respiratory issues. If a similar case were to be presented by a parent of private school students, Jones says the outcome could be similar.

“You can’t say exactly what a court would do, but in general federal laws relating to those with disabilities apply in both a private and public setting,” said Jones.

In the meantime, President McCarville says Xavier aims to do everything else it can in order to keep students and staff safe.

“We have a multi-layered mitigation process in place that we adhere to on a daily basis,” he said. “We’re continually reviewing that here at Xavier.”

As of Friday afternoon, they’ve had less than two-percent of the student body and staff test positive this school year.

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