GREENE, Iowa — An Iowa school district has decided masks should no longer be required. The decision to lift the mask mandate in North Butler Schools went into effect on Monday.
“We have a lot of kids that have either not been wearing the mask right or as soon as they are out of adult eyesight, [they are] taking them off, and it was becoming more of a mask police thing than anything. If we are spending our time doing that then we are not educating,” said Superintendent Joel Foster.
The school district is located in Butler County where the seven-day positivity rate is currently under 2%. Foster says all staff who wanted the COVID-19 vaccine received it before spring break. District officials say they looked at research which showed students are not heavy transmitters of the virus.
While masks are no longer required, they are still encouraged. Any student or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for ten days. Teachers with possible exposure to COVID-19 can decide to return to school right away or quarantine at home if given the choice by the public health department. The same goes with students who have possibly been exposed.
North Butler Schools officials say the decision should not be seen as a political one but rather an educational one. “We are a rural district and our needs are different than other districts in our area. The feelings of our parents and needs of our families are different than other districts. That’s one great thing about Iowa is we are given this little bit of local control and we are allowed to make these decisions,” said Foster.
The district will continue to revisit its mask policy every Friday morning.