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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Public Health Association is calling on Governor Reynolds to issue a statewide mask mandate.

“We just feel it’s time it’s well beyond time for a mask mandate in our state,” Iowa Public Health Association’s Executive Director Lina Tucker Reiners said.

Thirty-one states in the U.S. have a mask mandate, Iowa is not one of them. The IPHA wants that to change, or at a minimum let local municipalities, counties cities decide for themselves whether the mandate is right for them. Much like what Iowa city did last Tuesday.

“They took they looked at the data from their community, they looked at the caseload. They’re looking at the public health evidence, which is what we’re asking everybody to do. And they decided that a mask mandate is what is best for their community to stop the spread of coronavirus or to at least slow it down,” Tucker Reiners said.

Tucker Reiners says this crucial as children head back to school.

“When kids see us wearing masks when their teachers are wearing masks when they see other kids wearing masks, they’re going to want to wear the masks as well,” Tucker Reiners said. “This is not an ideal school year; this is going to be different. The school year is different than any school year anyone of us has ever experienced before.”

She says it’s not a matter of if, but when an outbreak occurs at a school or district, faculty and students must be prepared to be flexible.

“For the schools to be able to offer online learning if that’s what they feel that they need. And we want to see strong partnerships between the schools and public health,” Tucker Reiners said.

The Iowa Public Health Association is a non-profit organization of more than 400 health workers across the state.