Will Iowa Be Forced To Comply With Federal Mask Mandates And Covid Restrictions?
Will Iowa residents, schools and businesses be forced by the federal government to comply with mask mandates and other covid-19 restrictions?
This is the big question as a battle royale shapes up between Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Biden administration’s Education Department, and the Iowa Supreme Court, headed up by a Republican judge who was appointed by Reynolds in 2018.
This week, Iowa was nailed with a civil rights investigation by the Biden administration’s Education Department over Gov. Kim Reynolds’ move to ban mask mandates.
The federal government investigation levels the charge that Iowa, and Gov. Reynolds’ actions, “create an unsafe learning environment for students with disabilities who are at heightened risk of severe illness from covid-19.”
Iowa is one of five states to get hit with the investigations, the other four being Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.
“We know that’s what works, and we have politics getting in the way of things,” Cardona added. “Unfortunately, students are ending up not going to school because their parents don’t feel comfortable sending them to school. We feel that’s a violation and feel that all students should have access to in-person learning across the country in a manner that’s safe.”
As reported yesterday on QuadCities.com, a fierce battle is raging between Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Supreme Court over mask mandates and further mitigations.
On Friday, the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, Susan Christensen, whom Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed in 2018, signed an order making masks mandatory in public areas controlled by the court ruling — regardless of vaccination status — clashing with Reynolds’ state law banning mask mandates in public schools and other public areas.
Christensen based her order on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has recommended mask usage in areas of “substantial” spread of covid-19, where there is a positive test rate of 8 percent or higher. The entire state of Iowa is over 8 percent, as all but one of Iowa’s 99 counties hits that metric, and the state has its highest level of hospitalizations since the January spike of the virus.
The CDC has leveled the mask advisory at all of the Iowa counties for weeks, since numbers of the delta variant began to run rampant in late July.
However, in May, Reynolds signed a law banning any city, county or school district from requiring masks, in direct opposition to the CDC recommendation, and since then she hasn’t wavered.
For ongoing coverage of this issue and covid-19 in Illinois and Iowa, continue to keep an eye on your free, fact-based alternative media, QuadCities.com.