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Letter to the editor: ICCSD has chosen the correct ethical path on masks


August de Richelieu/Pexels

By Mike Fallon, Iowa City

Submitted May 29

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent e-mail on COVID-19 quarantine guidance from Matt Degner, Superintendent, Iowa City Community School District? The cautious tone of his e-mail bespeaks of an embattled and beleaguered public official. Reading between the lines, Matt is between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. ICCSD must navigate the immoral and unethical law Governor Reynolds signed — which states school districts can no longer require students, staff, or visitors to wear masks while in school or on District property — and the deep-seated concern this community has regarding quarantine protocols when someone has been determined to have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual.

Clearly, ICCSD has chosen the correct moral and ethical path by continuing current COVID-19 quarantine protocols through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. The following sentence — tortured and nearly incomprehensible — is the direct result of Gov. Reynolds’ overreach and naked political ambitions:

Please note that quarantine is only not recommended if a potential exposure occurs when both the infectious individual and the close contact(s) are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.

I read that lengthy and tortuous sentence three times before I comprehended it. I’m a native English speaker; I can only imagine what non-native speakers might make of that sentence.

Full text of Degner’s email, sent May 27:

Dear Families and Staff,

Last week, we shared information with you regarding House File 847, which Governor Reynolds signed into law. The law states that school districts can no longer require students, staff, or visitors to wear masks while in school or on District property.

With the announcement of this change, we have also received questions regarding quarantine protocols when an individual is determined to have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johnson County Public Health guidance, we will continue with our current COVID-19 quarantine protocols through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Please note that quarantine is only not recommended if a potential exposure occurs when both the infectious individual and the close contact(s) are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly.

We will continue to keep you updated with any additional changes to COVID-19 health and safety guidance. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Matt Degner
Superintendent
Iowa City Community School District


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