Which Iowa Schools Require Masks, Which Don’t

Most Iowa schools will require students and teachers to wear facial coverings at least partially as students head back to school this fall, finds a Des Moines-based education organizer who compiled a list of Iowa schools and districts and their face mask requirements.

Former Iowa State Education Association associate director Randy Richardson now organizes with Iowans for Public Education—in July he created and now updates the list he shares with fellow educators and other followers on social media. More schools are requiring masks, the list shows, except for cases of some, usually rural districts which do not amid ongoing discussions on opening school safely while COVID-19 cases increase across the state.

“I found a lot of schools were being very coy about how they worded their positions on masks,” Richardson said. “Some who insisted that they were requiring masks actually were only strongly recommending them or only requiring them in certain situations.”

Richardson also noted that community members in some places have resisted facial covering requirements. In Emmetsburg, the district superintendent Darren Hanna favored mask requirements but after a survey showed local parents were overwhelmingly opposed, he went on to not mandate them. Burlington has also gone back and forth over the mask mandate and is now requiring facial coverings.

In Le Mars, Iowa, parents and students presented their school board on Tuesday with a petition attempting to overturn its mask mandate. The petition has over 304 signatures.

“I just want everybody to realize, this was not based on personal opinion or politics around this table,” Superintendent Steve Webner said at the meeting to a number of community members who spoke out against the mandate. “They had to follow, had the responsibility to follow the CDC, the Department of Public Health, as well as Plymouth County Public Health. I respect everybody out there. There’s a million different opinions on this and I respect everything.”

Most of Richardson’s information is from school websites with input from contacts across the state.

The list is tentative, subject to swift changes due to fluidity of the pandemic and was reviewed by Iowa Starting Line. Schools or districts that require masks are marked with ‘R’ on the list and those that do not require masks are indicated with ‘NR’ unless otherwise noted.

1. Adair Casey/Guthrie Center-NR
3. Albia-NR
4. Alburnett-NR
5. Algona-NR
6. Allamakee-NR
7. Alta-Aurelia-R
8. Ames-R
9. Anamosa-R
10. Ankeny-R
11. Atlantic-NR
12. Audubon-NR
13. Ballard-R
14. Baxter-R
16. Bellevue-R
17. Belmond-Klemme-R
18. Benton-R
19. Bettendorf-R
20. BGM-NR
21. Bondurant-Farrar-R
22. Boone-R
23. Boyer Valley-NR
24. Burlington-R
25. Cal-R
26. Camanche-NR
27. Cardinal (Eldon)-NR
28. Carlisle-R
29. Carroll-NR
30. Cedar Falls-Staff required, students only required on buses, in hallways, and other times when social distancing isn’t possible
31. Cedar Rapids-R
32. Centerville-NR except on bus
33. Central City-R
34. Central Decatur-NR
35. Central DeWitt-R
36. Central Springs-R
37. Center Point Urbana-NR
38. Charles City-R, but students can remove masks if they are more than six feet apart
39. Clarion Goldfield Dows-R
40. Clarke-R
41. Clarkesville-R
42. Clear Creek Amana-R
43. Clear Lake-R
44. Clinton-R
45. Colfax-Mingo-R
46. College Community-R
47. Coon Rapids-Bayard-NR
48. Council Bluffs-R
49. Creston-R
50. Dallas Center Grimes-R
51. Davenport-R
52. Davis County-NR
53. Decorah-R
54. Denver-R
55. Des Moines-R
56. Dubuque-R
57. Durant-R
58. Eagle Grove-R
59. East Marshall-R
60. East Sac County-NR
61. Easton Valley-NR
62. Emmetsburg-NR
63. Essex-NR unless on buses or when entering or in hallways
64. Estherville Lincoln Central-R
65. Fairfield-R
66. Forest City-R
67. Fort Dodge-Required when unable to socially distance
68. Fort Madison-Required for staff
69. Fremont-Mills-NR
70. Garner Hayfield Ventura-Required for staff
71. Gilbert-R
72. Glenwood-Required for staff
73. Glidden-Ralston-NR
74. GMG-Required for staff and grades 3-12
75. Greene County-NR
76. Grinnell Newburg-R
77. Grundy Center-R
78. GTRA-NR-required when utilizing district transportation. Staff will also be required to wear masks in any location students have limited social distancing
79. Hampton DuMont-R
80. Harlan-NR except when students arrive or are in halls
81. Harley Melvin Sanborn-NR
82. Highland-R
83. Hinton-NR
84. HLV-NR
85. Howard Winneshiek-NR
86. Hudson-R
87. IKM Manning-NR
88. Indianola-Required for staff and students in grades 6-12
89. I35-R
90. Independence-Required for staff and grades 7-12
91. Iowa Falls-R
92. Iowa City-R
93. Johnston-R
94. Keokuk-required when social distancing is unavailable. In classrooms, teacher choice if student masks are on or off as long as students are social distanced
95. Keota-NR
96. Kingsley Pierson-R
97. Knoxville-R
98. Lake Mills-R
99. Lamoni-NR
100. Lawton-Bronson-R
101. LeMars-R
102. Lewis Central-R
103. Linn Mar-R
104. Lisbon-R
105. Logan-Magnolia-R
106. Louisa-Muscatine-NR
107. LuVerne-NR
108. Lynnville Sully-NR
109. Madrid-R
110. Manson NW Webster-Required for staff
111. Maple Valley Anthon Oto-Required for staff
112. Maquoketa-NR
113. Marion-R
114. Marshalltown-R
115. Mason City-R
116. Melcher Dallas-R
117. MFL-MarMac- Required on buses, encouraged elsewhere
118. Mid-Prairie-Required until September 28
119. Missouri Valley-R
120. MMCRU-R
121. MOC-Floyd Valley-NR
122. Montezuma-NR
123. Monticello-R
124. Mount Pleasant-NR unless no social distancing
125. Mount Vernon-R
126. Muscatine-NR
127. Nashua-Plainfield-NR
128. Nevada-Students are required to have a mask with them every day. They are required to use them on the buses, at the nurse’s office, in the music classroom and in areas that are designated by signage (such as rooms where the teacher is immuno-compromised/has a medical issue or a family member is similarly affected and it is documented by doctors
129. Newell Fonda-NR
130. Newton-R
131. Nodaway Valley-NR
132. Northeast-NR
133. North Linn-Required for staff and all students in grades 3-12
134. North Polk-R
135. North Scott-R
136. North Tama-R
137. North Union-NR
138. Northwood Kensett-R
139. Norwalk-Required for staff and students on buses and when unable to social distance
140. Odebolt Arthur-NR
141. Oelwein-NR
142. Ogden-Required for staff
143. Okoboji-Masks encouraged
144. Orient Macksburg-R
145. Oskaloosa-R
146. Ottumwa-R
147. Panorama-NR
148. Paton Churdan-NR
149. Pella-R
150. Perry-NR
151. Pleasant Valley-R
152. Plesantville-NR
153. Pocahontas-NR
154. Prairie City Monroe-Required for staff
155. Red Oak-NR
156. Ridgeview-NR
157. Riverside-R
158. River Valley-NR unless on busses or hallways
159. Rock Valley-NR
160. Saydel-R
161. Sheldon-NR
162. Shenandoah-NR, encourage
163. Sidney-NR
164. Sigourney-NR
165. Sioux Center-R
166. Sioux City-R
167. Solon-NR
168. South Central Calhoun-Required for staff
169. Southeast Polk-R
170. 169. Southeast Warren-NR
171. 170. Southeast Webster-NR
172. Southeast Valley-requiring masks for 5-12 music classes, but not required for other classes
173. South Hamilton-R
174. South Hardin (Eldora New Providence)-R
175. South Tama-required for staff, required for students when entering and exiting, and during passing. Able to remove masks in classroom when able to properly social distance.
176. Southwest Valley (Corning and Villisca)-NR
177. Spencer-R
178. Spirit Lake-Required on buses, hallways and when social distancing isn’t possible
179. Springville-R
180. Starmont-Required for staff
181. Storm Lake-NR
182. Stratford-R
183. Tipton-R
184. Treynor-NR
185. Tripoli-R
186. Turkey Valley-R
187. Union-R
188. Urbandale-R
189. Van Buren-NR
190. Van Meter-Required for staff
191. Vinton Shellsburg-R
192. Waco-NR
193. Wapello-NR
194. Wapsie Valley-Required for staff
195. Washington-R
196. Waterloo-R
197. Waukee-R
198. Waverly Shell Rock-R
199. Wayne-NR
200. Webster City-R
201. West Central Valley-NR
202. Western Dubuque-Required for staff and grades 3-12.
203. West Fork-R
204. West Des Moines-R
205. West Hancock-NR
206. West Harrison-R
207. West Liberty-R
208. West Marshall-NR
209. West Monona-R
210. Westwood-NR except on buses
211. Whiting-R
212. Williamsburg-R
213. Wilton-R
214. Winterset-Required for staff
215. Woodbine-NR
216. Woodbury Central-NR
217. Woodward-Granger-R


by Isabella Murray
Posted 8/17/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.

2 Comments on "Which Iowa Schools Require Masks, Which Don’t"

  • Local school boards need to b the one making the choice on mandatory masks. As a disclaimer I’m considered “high risk” and always wear a mask. However, I don’t want the governor or teachers union dictating the school’s mask policy as it needs to be a local decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *