DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ decision to ban mask mandates in public schools overnight Thursday sparked an immediate reaction among parents in the state. Some were invigorated by the freedom to put the masks away, while others were infuriated with the move to take away school districts’ freedom on face-covering rules.
Some parents such as Lindsay LaGrange are most angry at the sudden nature of the bill signing.
“We had quite literally no opportunity to discuss this with my family or my children,” said LaGrange, who has daughters that attend Des Moines Public Schools. “Am I comfortable? No. Do I have the choice? Absolutely not. I don’t like either of those answers.”
A WHO 13 Facebook post after Reynolds’ decision drew opinions from both sides of the aisle. Supporters believe masks should be a parent’s choice and that there should have never been a mask mandate in schools, while those who oppose it believe lawmakers should leave mask decisions to health officials.
LaGrange said she opposed the mandate because some children have severe health issues. That includes her daughter, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago.
“I agree that it does belong with the parents to have that health standard, but in the same sense, you have to look at the children and families who don’t have that option,” LaGrange said.
Some families with immunocompromised children said via e-mail to WHO 13 that they would pull their children out of school for the last few weeks of the academic year. West Des Moines Community Schools also offered to switch children to virtual learning for the remainder of the year if they felt uncomfortable in-person.
LaGrange said she considered doing the same with her daughter whose cancer is in remission. However, she said she will likely keep her in school.
“I gave her the opportunity this morning when I found out about the law,” LaGrange said. “I said to her, ‘Well, if you wear a mask, it’s not going to matter, because everyone else is there not wearing a mask.'”