MASON CITY, Iowa - Beginning Monday, if you're coming to class at Mason City Schools, you may need to bring a mask along.
During Monday night's meeting, the Mason City school board voted unanimously to implement a mask mandate in the district. However, it's on a per building basis, dependent on how many youngsters and faculty are ill. Masks would be mandated if the daily sick rate is at 7% or above, and would remain in effect until that figure drops below 5%.
Superintendent Dave Versteeg and the school board have heard from parents on both sides of the issue, with over 120 pages of comments logged during a recent public input call.
"We needed to come up with a process that gave people that opportunity to be heard, and the board listened to them. I think you heard tonight that the board took those comments seriously and took them to heart, and I think that influenced the decision to try and find a middle of the road approach to this."
Because of the size of the district and other factors, Versteeg says the per individual building approach is the most effective.
"With 10 buildings and multiple programs, it just didn't seem fair to say we're going to have a mask mandate without having some criteria to base it on. We have some buildings that are pretty healthy. They would've been saying, 'why are we having to do this? We don't have illness, we don't have what's going on in another particular building.'"
Mason City joins Ames and Davenport, who have already reinstated mask mandates after Iowa's ban on districts implementing such mandates was lifted by a federal judge last week.