DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa Public Health Association (IPHA), a nonprofit organization that focuses on public health and education in Iowa, offered recommendations as schools prepare for fall instruction, including a mask mandate.
The recommendation is one of three by the organization in a statement it released Thursday.
The statement explains the stress that the pandemic places on parents, teachers, and administrators and also the importance of protection from the virus by implementing and maintaining public health safeguards.
“Coronavirus is a novel virus. That means it is new and we are learning. The precise job of public health professionals is to learn as much as we can about the spread of disease and how to prevent it. As we learn, we make recommendations; recommendations based in science and predicated on prior experience,” reads the statement.
The IPHA statement continues by recommending the mask mandate in Iowa. Without a state mandate, it said that counties and cities should be allowed local control to put in place mitigation strategies.
A second recommendation was that school districts be allowed to have flexibility to conduct their school year as best suited for their communities, whether in person or online.
They also recommend schools and public health should work together in a partnership in order to tailor Return to Learn plans based on the needs of the area. The partnership between schools and public health groups will also make contact tracing necessary to contain outbreaks when, not if, it happens, the statement added
The organization says that a safe learning environment and workplace should be provided to children and school employees.
“Adapting is not waffling; it is following the science as we observe, study, and learn. It is not possible to develop a perfect plan for a perfect storm, and indeed, we are in the eye of a perfect storm. We cannot let politics or perfection get in the way of plans that will protect Iowans, even if they need to be adjusted along the way,” the statement reads.
The full statement is listed below.