MASON CITY, Iowa - Beginning next Monday, Mason City students may need to bring a face mask to school, as part of a new indoor mask mandate that was unanimously approved by board members at Monday night's meeting.
The mandate, which takes effect September 27, will be done on a per building basis, and would go into effect if the daily sick rate among students and faculty reaches 7% or above, and would be dropped if the rate dips below 5%.
The issue has had mixed opinions. Before the decision was made, the district gathered over 120 pages comments from residents both for and against such a mandate. During Monday's meeting, there was a group of protestors in attendance, hoping that the board would vote 'No.'
Connie Dianda believes masks do more harm than good, and feels it should be best left to parents to decide on what's best for their children.
"If you want to really feel like you have protection, you need to have an N95 mask. What school is going to provide an N95 mask for all those children, and how many children, especially elementary children, are going to keep that mask on?
"If they're going to go by percentages, they ought to identify what are the Covid illnesses and go by those percentages only."
JoAnn Hardy, who has grandchildren in school, supports masking, saying they make sense.
"I think it would be simpler to mask all the time, but that would make some people really angry. Hopefully, people will cooperate with this and see if we can keep our kids healthy. It's worth a try, that's for sure."
"I would've been happier with lower percentages, but I think we should give this a shot."
The decision to issue a mask mandate followed a federal judge overruling Governor Kim Reynolds' statewide ban on school districts implementing their own mask mandates. In addition to Mason City, the Ames, Davenport and Johnston districts have also reinstated their own respective mandates.