A federal judge issued an order on Monday to halt a law that banned Iowa schools from mandating masks, citing an increased risk of spreading COVID-19.
Judge Robert Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa said he looked at the data for how effective masks are in reducing the spread of COVID-19 before signing an order that halted a law passed in May, saying that the ban increased the spread of infections in schools. The halt will remain in effect until the court issues an order for a preliminary injunction, the order reads.
"Because Plaintiffs have shown that Iowa Code section 280.31's ban on mask mandates in schools substantially increases their risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 and that due to their various medical conditions they are at an increased risk of severe illness or death, Plaintiffs have demonstrated that an irreparable harm exists," Pratt wrote.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa praised Pratt's order as "a huge victory for parents with children with disabilities." Several parents of disabled children had previously filed a lawsuit on Sept. 3 against Iowa's ban on mask mandates, stating that the ban infringed on their children's equal right to education by endangering their health.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said Pratt's ruling unduly ignored the actions of the state Legislature and took away parents’ ability to decide what's best for their children. She vowed her team will "appeal and exercise every legal option we have to uphold state law and defend the rights and liberties afforded to any American citizen protected by our constitution."
The implementation of mask mandates in schools has been a contentious one across the nation. On Friday, a Florida appeals court reinstated a similar ban on school mask mandates implemented by Gov. Ron DeSantis, reversing a ruling from two days earlier that would have allowed mask mandates to take effect.
Iowa's average positive test rate for COVID-19 was at over 12% as of Sunday, according to the Mayo Clinic. Vaccine distribution in Iowa shows that 57% of residents have received their first dose, with over 52% fully vaccinated, the medical center added.
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Original Author: Asher Notheis
Original Location: Judge temporarily halts law banning Iowa schools from mandating masks