Iowa Schools, Businesses Can No Longer Require Masks

Bill passes in final hours of legislature
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 4:15 PM CDT
Iowa Schools, Businesses Can No Longer Require Masks
Protesters voice their opposition to mask mandates in January in the Iowa Statehouse.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowans can still wear face masks if they choose to, but nobody can make them. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, signed legislation Thursday prohibiting mask mandates in public or private schools through 12th grade, the Des Moines Register reports. Republican lawmakers won approval of the bill along party lines as time ran out on the legislative session. "The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child's education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions," Reynolds said.

Several school districts immediately changed their policies, but Des Moines Public Schools said it will still "strongly encourage masks while indoors," partly because many people have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Masks will still be required on school buses, the district said. Local governments won't be able to require that masks be worn in businesses, per CNN, and can't enact a policy applying to property owners "that is more stringent than a policy imposed by the state." On Wednesday, Iowa had fewer than 300 new coronavirus cases, per the Hill. (More face masks stories.)

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