Sioux City school board to vote on mask mandate Wednesday

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — After Judge Robert Pratt issued a temporary restraining order against Iowa’s statewide ban on mask mandates, school districts, like Des Moines, have already put masks back on and Sioux City’s school board decision is on the way.

Vice President of the Sioux City Community School Board Monique Scarlett asked for the board to consider implementing a mask mandate during Monday night’s board meeting. She said it’s necessary for students’ safety because of the continued high transmission rate of the Delta variant across Iowa.

“Those who know me know I am about peace. I do not relish any kind of fight, but some fights are worth engaging especially when the health of our children are at stake,” said Scarlett.

Twenty cases of COVID-19 among students were reported by the Sioux City Community School District for the week of September 6-10. That’s slightly higher than last year’s mark of fifteen students during the first week they began reporting cases in September 2020.

Because children below the age of 12 aren’t eligible for protection through the vaccine, medical experts saidmasks are the best strategy for slowing the virus spread in schools.

“As a logical extension of that, we want to protect those people as much as possible. And doing a simple thing like requiring everyone in that building to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, helps protect them,” said MercyOne Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ravi Vemuri.

One parent at Monday night’s meeting echoed the importance of protecting kids who don’t have access to the vaccine yet.

“Our children under 12 cannot be vaccinated yet. Don’t we have an obligation to protect them? Children with disabilities are falling seriously ill, don’t we want to save them from that?” asked the parent.

Scarlett wanted a vote to be held during Monday’s regular meeting, but the board decided to postpone the vote until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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