DMPS Mask Mandate Remains in Place With Court Ruling

A decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is allowing a lawsuit to go forward against Iowa’s law banning mask mandates but orders an injunction putting the law on hold be applied to only schools and districts attended by children of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. That includes Des Moines Public Schools. The message below from Superintendent Tom Ahart explains why a mask mandate will remain in place at this time at Des Moines Public Schools.

As the latest COVID-19 surge continues in Iowa – with a record number of student and staff cases along with a local positivity rate of over 30% – Des Moines Public Schools is committed to doing everything we can for the good of our community’s health and well-being as well as keep our schools open.

Today’s decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals included a ruling that the injunction blocking Iowa’s anti-mask law be narrowed to those “schools and districts” attended by the children of parents who sued to stop the state’s mask ban. That includes Des Moines Public Schools. Therefore, DMPS will continue our mask mandate as we wait for further clarification from a revised injunction by the U.S. District Court and to give our families the opportunity to modify IEP and 504 plans in light of a possible future change in the universal mask mandate.

While we hope to see a decline in the number of Omicron cases soon, ending a mask mandate at this time means more students, teachers and staff will contract COVID-19; students with disabilities would be placed at a greater risk; and the likelihood that schools may temporarily close or services such as school bus transportation be interrupted would increase. DMPS urges everyone to follow sound science and get vaccinated if eligible (including a booster), stay home if showing symptoms, and wear masks in public spaces at this time.