116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids school officials will consider ending the district’s mask requirement for students, staff and visitors if the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county and school decreases.
Officials also would consider ending the mandate if the temporary restraining order — which halts enforcement of a state law barring schools from requiring masks — is changed or canceled.
In a newsletter Friday, Cedar Rapids Superintendent Noreen Bush outlined the metrics the district will consider in ending its mask requirement.
Cedar Rapids schools reinstated a mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors Sept. 15. Masks also are required for Cedar Rapids-based day care programs, with masks encouraged during school activities beyond the school day.
The federal court ruling halting enforcement of the state law — passed in the final hours of the 2021 legislative session — came in a lawsuit filed by parents of children who suffer medical conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.
If the restraining order is changed or lifted, masks will not be required during the school day, the Cedar Rapids metrics note.
Other metrics that could be considered in determining when mask requirements for students and staff can safely end, according to the newsletter, are:
- Linn County’s seven day COVID-19 positivity rate drops below 14 percent.
- The transmission level of COVID-19 in Linn County, as defined by the Iowa Department of Public Health, dips below epidemic level.
- The positivity rate for COVID-19 within the Cedar Rapids Community School District is below 2 percent.
- Linn County cases in the 17 and younger age group drop below 10 percent.
As of Friday, Sept. 24, 69 students and 19 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, the district reported.
Linn County reported 920 new cases over the past week, with a 10.3 percent positivity rate. That’s down from last week’s 960 cases.
In Linn County, 129,051 individuals are completely vaccinated, up 1,015 from last week. The total is 56.92 percent of the county’s total population and 71.52 percent of individuals age 16 and older.
The district also could consider canceling the mask requirement for middle and high school students if the district has access to data showing a school’s population has an immunization rate of more than 50 percent.
Once the vaccine becomes available for elementary students and the district has access to data to determine a school has at least a 50 percent immunization rate, that also could be a factor in no longer requiring masks.
The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved a COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 12.
Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, Bush said.
After the district mask requirement ends, individual schools may implement temporary masking requirements for students and staff if 2 percent or more of students have COVID-19 and if the five-day daily attendance average shows 8 percent or more of the students are out because of illness.
A temporary mask mandate under those circumstances would last 10 school days and would be extended if the metrics are not met after that.
Any temporary mask mandates for localized outbreaks will be in place for students who are indoors during school hours, unless additional restrictions are needed or externally ordered.
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