BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) -- Monday night saw the mask debate continue for parents in the Cedar Valley at both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls' school board meetings.
The Cedar Falls School Board of Education heard from 16 different speakers with no clear majority for either side. Some focused their comments on finding common ground or holding a special meeting to further discuss the issue.
The discussion was short in Waterloo with just a couple of parents bringing up the policy, one on each side of the issue. Waterloo Community Schools Superintendent Jane Lindaman said their focus remains on taking a holistic approach.
"For us, it's not political. It's about looking at kids and doing what we can to keep them safe and healthy," Lindaman said.
Lindaman said they received some pushback on the issue but also compliments from community stakeholders. the superintendent said she appreciates the grace and patience parents have afforded the district.
Waterloo's policy is to implement a 5-day mask mandate in elementary school buildings with over 3% of students, teachers, and staff out due to COVID-19, but will take into account Black Hawk County's transmission level.
Cedar Falls schools developed a similar policy that would require a mask for 5 days at any elementary building where over 3% of students, teachers, and staff are either positive or in quarantine related to COVID-19.
"It's perplexing, especially after reviewing the data I shared with you today why so many feel the desire and authority to make decisions regarding my children's health," said Jordan Landau, a mother in the district.
Some expressed concerns that the board wasn't heavily involved in the decision making process for the policy. Board President Jeff Hassman highlighted several district policies that place the decision-making power with the district's superintendent.
"Masks provide families that have medically fragile kids some peace of mind," said Amanda Weber, another Cedar Falls mom.
Weber presented a hard copy of a petition with 396 signatures that calls for a universal mask mandate in the Cedar Falls School District which is in line with what's recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.