Parents of kids with disabilities sue over Iowa's mask mandate law

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(Des Moines, IA) -- Eleven parents are going to court over Iowa's law which prohibits schools from imposing mask mandates. The parents have children with special needs, and say the law violates the American With Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit is asking the district court to block the provision of the law prohibiting mask requirements at school as a violation of federal law (ADA and the Rehabilitation Act) and to order the state to allow school districts to adopt mask mandates for their students and staff.

The parents and disability rights advocates are taking the action to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated whose disabilities, including underlying health conditions, make them particularly susceptible to severe illness, long-haul COVID symptoms, or even death from COVID-19. They argue that the ban on mask mandates discriminates against these students in education, effectively excluding them from public schools and denying them equal access to education. That is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The clients in the case are The Arc of Iowa and 11 parents of minor children across the state with disabilities. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Iowa, Disability Rights Iowa, The Arc of the United States, the Arnold & Porter law firm, and the Duff Law Firm, P.L.C.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was asked about the issue during a news conference this week in Des Moines. "We have an online option, the other thing I would say to them, is to continue to talk to their doctors. We have to remember it's their right to wear a mask, they can make sure they're wearing an N-95, they can wear a face shield. There's various things we can to mitigate their chances of being exposed," said Reynolds.

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