SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Sioux City Community School District board has given the Superintendent power to enact mask mandates for its buildings.

Dr. Paul Gausman’s authority to enact mask mandates per building based on positivity rates was approved unanimously by the school board, but not all parents were on board.

“I know that they’re looking at, bringing back for certain schools and I think, if they’re going to implement it, implement it district wide and if not, just let people make the decision on their own like they have been,” said Meagan Larson, a parent of two students in the school district.

“I think that part is beneficial. I think that part of what they’re discussing whether or not to do it just for high positivity rates in schools. So I think that’s super beneficial,” said Tracy Gonzalez, a parent of two students in the school district.

With a rise in positive COVID-19 tests among Sioux City Community School District students and staff, the district Superintendent requested a policy change regarding mask mandates.

“Up to this point, all of the mask decisions have been made by the board. The policy committee of the school board considered some change in language to policy that would give more authority to the superintendent of schools to make decisions, to place mask mandates in place,” Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman said.

Dr. Gausman said the mandate would be implemented if a 3% positivity rate was reached and would only affect the buildings that reached that threshold. Mandates would be in effect in increments of five school days until positivity drops.

“We’re required by law to report any school building who has an absence rate greater than ten percent to the Iowa Department of Public Health,” Dr. Gausman said.

However, Dr. Gausman said he knows that not everyone will be on board.

“And I think it should be continued as a personal choice or a families choice,” Larson said.

“We have been open as a district and I’m proud of that and I think that’s good for kids, it’s good for the community. So this to me is all about just taking the option, you know, using this option to keep our schools open,” Dr. Gausman said.

The new policy is effective immediately. District officials also emphasized that folks should stay home if they’re not feeling well.