DES MOINES, Iowa — Last spring Iowa’s governor signed a bill making mask mandates in schools illegal, no matter the public health crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising that kids should wear masks in schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but Iowa Republicans have made it illegal to follow the advice of medical experts.
Wednesday morning a group of hundreds of parents, teachers and neighbors gathered at the State Capitol to urge Gov. Kim Reynolds to reverse the anti-mask-mandate law. The governor’s schedule shows she is out of town for the day.
Arkansas’ governor has apologized for signing a similar law there and a court has struck the law down. Gov. Reynolds has defended the law she signed, though. She released this statement on Wednesday in response to the sit-in: “Parental control is local control and parents have the option to send their kids to school with a mask or not. As I have throughout this pandemic, I trust Iowans to do the right thing and make the decisions about what’s best for themselves and their family.”
Iowa has seen skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks due to the spread of the delta variant.
The latest information from the CDC shows 91 of Iowa’s 99 counties are now considered to have high or substantial transmission of COVID-19.
The CDC recommends everyone wear masks while indoors in those areas, regardless of vaccination status.
The CDC is updating the map daily.
The state of Iowa is only giving weekly updates on the spread of COVID-19. Those statistics usually are released on Wednesday’s but they have not been updated as of noon on Wednesday.