Muscatine schools to require masks for elementary students

Police officers moved to the front of the room after repeated disruptions during Friday's special school board meeting. [courtesy MCSD/Youtube]

Pre-kindergarten to sixth grade students in the Muscatine Community School District will be required to wear masks while in school following a vote Friday by the Muscatine Board of Education.

The mask mandate will remain in place until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for children under 16.

The plan was approved by a 6-1 vote. Board member Toby McCarter was the lone member to vote against the proposal.

The decision follows a federal judge’s temporary restraining order issued Monday against an Iowa law that banned school districts from implementing mask mandates in schools due to COVID-19.

System leaders said more than 1,000 comments were submitted online, and a 30-minute public comment session was held during the meeting.

At least four people were removed for disrupting the meeting attended by several dozen spectators. And the meeting was halted for about 15 minutes when the crowd became unruly.

The school district announced other details of the latest directive.

  • Face masks are NOT required but are strongly encouraged for all 7-12th grade students, staff, & visitors regardless of their vaccination status.
  • Face masks are NOT required while attending indoor or outdoor sporting events as part of the school district. This goes for both students who are actively participating or attending, staff members (including coaches), and community members in attendance.
  • The district also strongly encourages students ages 12 and up to be vaccinated along with any MCSD staff that have yet to do so.

“The Board of Education’s decision is largely based on Muscatine County Public Health’s strong recommendation and on current conditions in our community that face masks be worn in schools, regardless of a person’s vaccination status,” said MCSD Superintendent Clint Christopher.

Also a reminder and in compliance with the President’s Executive Order on domestic transportation, students and staff are required to wear a face-covering while on a school bus or while utilizing other Muscatine Community School District-provided transportation.