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Multiple people protest Davenport School District mask mandate Monday

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 11:13 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:57 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Multiple people gathered outside the Davenport Community School District administration building Monday morning to protest a recently passed mask mandate.

A TV6 crew said around 8:30 a.m., there were at least 20-25 adults and children gathered. Some held signs that read “unmask our kids,” “no masks,” and “my body my choice.”

On Thursday, the school board voted 5-2 to require masks to be worn, regardless of vaccination status, by anyone inside a district building. The mandate took effect Monday and also applies to all indoor sporting events in the district.

The move came several days after a federal judge blocked Governor Kim Reynolds’ ban on mask mandates in schools.

“I think parents, if they want their children to wear a mask that’s fine, but also parents that don’t feel comfortable if their kid’s wearing a mask for 8-hours a day, they should have that choice,” said Hallie Westercamp, who has three kids in the school district. “I don’t think the discussion has been fair in regards to this. I think parents should have the freedom of choice. To put on their kids...if they want to wear a mask or if they don’t want to wear a mask.”

“Last year when they mandated them in school we pulled our kids out immediately and had them do homeschooling while that was a mandate,” said Tim Briggs, who has two kids in the school district.

Once Governor Reynolds placed the mask mandate ban, Biggs said his kids went back to school.

“I just hope the school board sees the kind of mess that they’ve created with the private vote that they did. I’d encourage them to talk to every Davenport school today and ask them how their administration office went this morning,” he said.

“It’s just really disappointing that these changes would take into effect after everyone made all their plans,” said Angela Foht, a parent in attendance.

Foht said her family specifically wanted to live in Iowa to avoid a mandate and has now changed plans for her daughter’s kindergarten school year.

“I pulled her Friday morning and I’m gonna home school her if I have to because I’ve already picked out my curriculums. I’m looking into other education but it’s really difficult when you’ve already made all your decisions for the year and I think that’s what they’re not taking into account,” she said.

Mike Vondran, a spokesman for the district said “The day was quite normal in terms of attendance.”

“The vast majority of students came to school ready for the day and complied with the mask requirement,” he said “There were just a very few who would not comply. They were asked to wait in the library while parents were called to come pick them up.”

He added, “If the student refuses to wear a mask they will have a seat in the library, their parent is called to come pick them up and they are noted as an unexcused absence for the day.”

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