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JOHNSTON, Iowa — The Johnston Community School District is responding to the school board’s decision to lift its mask mandate for all students.

Masks are no longer required to be worn in Johnston schools except on buses. Newly elected school board members Derek Tidball, Deb Davis and Clint Evans joined Alicia Clevenger in voting to remove the mask mandate at Monday night’s meeting.

Now, some parents are concerned about COVID-19 cases potentially rising in the district.

“I want to know what they’re going to do at that point,” parent Ann Smith said Monday. “What data are they going to be following? What metrics are they going to be following in order to make those decisions or are we just completely done with mitigation efforts?”

In a statement, the district said:

“With this pandemic, the only constant has been change. The Johnston school district has repeatedly stepped up to the challenge of responding to ever-changing circumstances. Should COVID-19 positivity rates increase in our schools, the Johnston school board will revisit and address the issue at that time.”

Johnston Community School District

The Johnston school board voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate that was previously enacted on Sept. 23.

Before the vote, the administration recommended lifting the mask mandate for only grades 8-12 and extending the mandate for grades pre-K-7 through Dec. 23, 2021. However, Evans amended the recommendation to include all students immediately.

“If it’s a decision that’s right for some, then I believe it’s a decision that’s right for all,” Evans said.