The first day of the Davenport Community School District’s new mask mandate went mostly smoothly, district officials said.
Iowa schools were barred from mandating masks by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds until last week, when a federal judge halted the ban pending a new lawsuit on behalf of parents in several Iowa communities, including Davenport. The suit’s plaintiffs contend the state law discriminates against students with disabilities that make them more susceptible to COVID-19. The law effectively excludes these students from public schools and denies them equal access to education in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, say the plaintiffs.
In the wake of the federal action, the Davenport district’s school board voted on Thursday during a special open meeting to institute a face-covering requirement beginning Monday.
The district described the first day as going well, with staff and students successful at engaging in their school day.
Most students complied with the face-covering requirement, according to the district. Those who did not — described as only a few — were sent to their building’s library and their parents were called to pick them up. They received an unexcused absence.
There were no reports of noncompliance among district staff, faculty or visitors, according to the district.
There were also small morning and afternoon protests against the mandate outside the district’s Achievement Service Center, 1702 N. Main St. The center includes the administration offices. The district said the protests were peaceful and respectful.
District Superintendent TJ Schneckloth went out and spoke with them and listened to their views, the district said.