Will Reynolds Join Indiana’s Republican Governor, And Back Schools On Mask Mandates?

Republican Gov. Holcomb describes mask mandates as “wise” while Reynolds gaslights her constituents; Progress Iowa calls on Governor to reverse decision before children are put in danger

As the school year approaches and parents worry about spiking COVID-19 cases in Iowa and across the country, the Republican Governor of Indiana is putting politics aside and continuing to empower schools to determine whether to mandate masks. 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has stripped away similar decision making power from school districts, and has even publicly disputed whether masks are an effective mitigation measure, despite widespread scientific evidence to the contrary. 

“Iowa parents want our kids to go to school safely, and we want our local districts to have the authority to make safe decisions about our schools,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Governor Reynolds has turned COVID into a political power grab, instead of putting the needs of students first. It is time for her to reverse this disastrous decision before kids are put in harm’s way when school starts.”

As the delta variant has taken hold, COVID-19 cases have risen across the state of Iowa. In Indiana, cases in K-12 schools were four times higher this week than last, according to Indiana Department of Health figures cited by the Associated Press. And in North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida, cases are all rising as students return for the school year. 

The increase in cases and protests from parents has not budged Governor Reynolds, who has claimed she doesn’t know whether masks work, saying “I’m not a scientist,” all while making the decision herself for every school district whether to require masks.

“The Governor is right, she’s not a scientist, and she’s certainly not an educator,” said Sinovic. “She needs to get out of the way and let local school districts make public health decisions based on advice from actual medical professionals. Not politicians who want to score cheap points with the health of our kids.”

BACKGROUND:

Associated Press: Indiana’s governor backing schools on face mask mandates

ABC 9 Iowa: Gov. Reynolds on decision to prohibit school mask policies

CBS 2 Iowa: Group protests state law banning schools from having mask mandates

ABC 11 North Carolina: Numbers shows Delta variant rising among children, teens in NC as students head back to school

NBC 4 Ohio: Share of Ohio children hospitalized for COVID-19 increasing with Delta variant, ineligibility for vaccine

USA Today: As kids return to school, most Florida counties report COVID-19 cases four times higher than last year