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SIOUX CITY DIOCESE

Catholic schools not mandating masks

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catholic schools masks 21-09-15s

Masks will not be mandated in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sioux City, including Kuemper, due to a recent court order.

The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sioux City, including Kuemper Catholic Schools, will not be instituting mask mandates at this time, due to the current legal proceedings in Iowa.

Patty Lansink, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Sioux City, noted the diocesan attorney verified that the temporary restraining order lifting the ban on mask mandates did not apply to the 16 Catholic school systems in the diocese.

“If you have heard about this ban, it is only lifted for public school districts — it is not lifted for non-public schools,” Lansink said. “We want to clarify that we still will not be mandating masks, because the ban is still not lifted for our schools.”

In May 2021, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the House File 847, which banned school districts and local governments from imposing mask mandates on their properties. This applied to public and non-public schools, including Catholic schools.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt issued a temporary restraining order Sept. 13, which gives Iowa school districts the option of implementing mask mandates in schools.

Only public schools are mentioned in the order:

“Defendants Gov. Reynolds, Director (Ann) Lebo (Iowa Department of Education) and the school districts are enjoined from enforcing Iowa Code section 280.31 banning local public school districts from utilizing their discretion to mandate masks for students, staff, teachers and visitors.”

Lansink said that issues surrounding COVID-19 precautions and schools can change quickly, and her office will continue to monitor the situation.

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