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Judge Extends Injunction on Iowa Mask Mandate Ban in Schools

A federal judge Friday extended an order that will prevent state officials from enforcing a law that prohibits school districts from implementing mask requirements until a federal lawsuit challenging the law can be heard. Several parents and advocacy groups had sued to overturn the law, saying students who are at risk because of health conditions were not being protected against COVID-19. 

Judge Robert Pratt had earlier issued a temporary restraining order preventing Gov. Kim Reynolds and Department of Education Director Ann Lebo from enforcing the law Reynolds signed in May.

The order entered today issues a preliminary injunction that continues to prohibit the state from enforcing the law until the court case can be decided.

Lawyers for Reynolds and Lebo immediately filed notice of an appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which could reverse Pratt’s order or keep it in place.

Eleven parents and The Arc of Iowa, a group that defends the civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, sued the state on Sept. 3. They claim the law substantially increases the risk of several children with health conditions of contracting COVID-19 and that it violates federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek responded to the announcement, saying We are pleased the courts continue to recognize the importance of local control allowing local school districts to make important decisions about the health and safety of their students, employees and school communities.

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