Every student in Iowa deserves a safe school environment to optimally access educational experiences. When Governor Reynolds signed the anti-mask mandate back in May, she discriminated against disabled or immunocompromised children who are too young to qualify for the vaccine.
Furthermore, school districts who wished to enact mask mandates were prohibited by law, which is an overreach of state government. School districts desiring to enact mask mandates should not be prohibited from doing so.
Unfortunately, the Clinton School District Board ruled not to have a mask mandate, and several school board candidates agree with the decision. Even though masks are not mandated, I hope that all educational staff and employees of Clinton schools are electing to wear masks to protect our most vulnerable residents.
As a full-time employee in the schools of Illinois, I can attest to the fact that students from pre-school through elementary wear masks without complaint.
Students are offered mask breaks throughout the day in addition to morning recess, lunch and afternoon recess. The majority of students wear masks for no more than two hours at a time before a natural break occurs.
If a student’s mask falls below their nose, they readily respond to the verbal cue, “Mask over nose please” and fix it themselves.
Parents are responsible for making sure masks are clean. Disposable masks are available at all school entrances. For hearing-impaired students, educational staff have plastic masks available so students have visual cues as directions are given.
Governor Reynolds did a disservice to all Iowa students and teachers when she refused the federal money provided to upgrade Iowa schools and purchase additional [personal protective equipment] to mitigate COVID-19. Illinois schools wisely used federal dollars to upgrade ventilation systems, install hands-free water fountains to fill water bottles and to purchase PPE as well as COVID-19 rapid response test kits so students can be tested at school if needed.
I am thankful I am working in the schools of Illinois during this time of COVID-19. It’s unfortunate Governor Reynolds isn’t willing to consider the safety of all Iowa’s students with regard to COVID.
Linda Boardsen, Clinton, IA