DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the state of Iowa to immediately halt enforcement of a law passed in May that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Judge Robert Pratt said in an order signed Monday that the law substantially increases the risk of several children with health conditions of contracting COVID-19.
Pratt says he has looked at data on the effectiveness of masks to reduce spread of the virus and agrees with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics on mask-wearing in schools.
Several parents with children that have various medical conditions sued the state.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
“Today, a federal judge unilaterally overturned a state law, ignored the decision by our elected legislature and took away parents’ ability to decide what’s best for their child. We will appeal and exercise every legal option we have to uphold state law and defend the rights and liberties afforded to any American citizen protected by our constitution,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The ACLU of Iowa released the following statement:
"Now that HF847 is blocked, schools must not delay in providing for universal masking in order to meet the needs of kids in their district who have disabilities, including underlying conditions, making them vulnerable to serious illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19, in accordance with federal law."