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No mask mandate for Sioux City schools after motion not seconded for a vote

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - After over two hours of discussion and public input, the Sioux City Community School Board decided not to implement a mask mandate for students and staff in its schools.

The motion for a mask mandate didn't even come up for a vote after no school board members seconded Monique Scarlett's proposal.

Wednesday's special meeting was called after a federal judge blocked enforcement of an Iowa law that banned mask mandates in the state's public schools.

Sioux City's public schools operated under a mask mandate for most of the 2020-2021 school year. Then, in May of 2021, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the existing mask mandate ban into law.

Wednesday's special session of the school board produced passionate opinions and intense discussion of mask mandates. Many parents, and even teachers, came to voice their opinions.

"We were able to listen to both sides of the community, where they are on the issue. We heard from parents, we heard from community members, we heard from teachers, we have also heard from students. As with any difficult issue, you have people in favor, people against. We're just trying to do our best. So for now, no mask mandate," said Perla Alarcon-Flory, School Board President.

Alarcon-Flory said the district will continue to keep an eye on COVID numbers.

One citizen said he wasn't happy with the outcome of the meeting.

"We are playing with fire here. We are gambling with our most precocious resource and it is unconscionable. So, I came to speak in favor of the mask mandate. Because this is not about what we want. This is not about what's most convenient. It's what is right and what is safe. And we were failed today. I am severely disappointed in the decision," said Mike Bushby, Sioux City.

Alarcon-Flory added the district needs the community's help and support… by letting them know when their children are sick.


SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- The Sioux City Community School Board did not vote on a mask mandate for the district on Wednesday afternoon due to the lack of a second motion.

The school board listened to over an hour of public comment from those for and against a mask mandate. Some called in to express their opinion, others sat in on the meeting in person.

The board then discussed amongst each other if they should vote to pass a mandate or not.

No one seconded the motion to vote for a mask mandate, therefore no vote was held.

This special meeting was organized after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order lifting Iowa's ban on mask mandates in public schools.

You can watch the meeting here.

This is a developing story. KTIV will continue to update this article with more information from the meeting.

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KTIV Staff

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