COVID-19 Pandemic

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

No mask mandate for the Sioux City Community School District after the board did not have a consensus of support to hold a vote. Concerns were raised about disrespect from citizens who attended today's meeting

Prior to the meeting, the local teacher’s union president said there wasn’t time to meet with members to issue a stance on masks. Lesa Banks says there are educators on both sides of the debate. The state teachers' union hopes school leaders will focus on science and decide what to do next. 

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Parts of Siouxland under a tornado watch until 9 tonight, including Woodbury, Monona, Ida, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Clay, Emmet, and Pocahontas.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for several counties across central Iowa, including Calhoun and Carroll just outside of Siouxland.

A judge has agreed to delay the sentencing of the man convicted of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts after his lawyers said they need time to investigate new information implicating other people.

A group of South Sioux City High School students has invited the public to join them at a protest today, but school administrators have already said that that type of demonstration is not allowed. Last week, 100 students demonstrated to show concerns about school officials are handling racial equality, religious freedom, and treatment of LGBTQ students.

According to a Facebook post, a second protest has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. across the street from the school. The post said students are asking for community members to attend.

Wednesday, the district published a message regarding the walkout, including a video link. School-sponsored activities planned by the students and faculty shall be in conformance with board policies, Superintendent Todd Strom Strom said in the video. Strom said, "protests, walkouts, demonstrations, those are forbidden in schools and on school grounds are not allowed."

Strom encouraged students to bring concerns to a classroom teacher, school counselor, or building principal. He also said students could reach out to the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness group (IDEA) or use the district's "Let's Talk" form on the website to voice any concerns. Strom said the video and message were an attempt to restate the rules and expectations for students so they do not receive a violation. He said the school wants to provide a safe, educational environment and last Friday was a distraction.

Associated Press

Health officials in all three Siouxland states have temporary stopped use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, following CDC and FDA recommendations. This move comes after six women experienced severe and rare blood clots, resulting in one death. One case was diagnosed in Nebraska.

Health officials in South Dakota say no adverse cases were reported in nearly 16,000 doses of the J&J vaccine.  More than 78 thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Iowa.

News release from the state of Nebraska:

NET

Nebraska lawmakers advanced a new, $9.7 billion state budget that includes more money for property tax credits and college scholarships while setting aside $115 million for a possible state prison to ease overcrowding.

The package would cover state expenses for the next two fiscal years, starting on July 1.

It came as some lawmakers warned about a possible economic downturn that hit state revenues, which are currently higher than expected despite the coronavirus pandemic.