Red Oak Junior-Senior High School

Red Oak Junior-Senior High School

(Red Oak) -- Like all KMAland districts, The Red Oak School District is prepared for another school year facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting in special session Wednesday afternoon, the Red Oak School Board approved the districts 2021-2022 COVID-19 plan. Red Oak Superintendent Ron Lorenz tells KMA News the district hopes to begin the school year much like they ended the previous one. However, he says there are a couple of exceptions.

"School districts in Iowa are prohibited from requiring students, staff, or visitors to wear face masks on school property," Lorenz said. "So we are going to make face masks optional, pending any additional guidance from the state or the governor's office."

Legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds in late spring prohibits schools from enforcing mask mandates.

When asked about the message the district is putting out in regards to COVID-19 vaccinations, Lorenz emphasized that it is a personal choice.

"I think the state's been very clear that vaccination is a personal choice, and I'm not going to get into that world," Lorenz said. "We're not going to play politics with this, we're here to educate kids and we trust our parents to make the best decision for them and their students, so that's a personal choice."

Lorenz said some individuals did suggest requiring proof of vaccination for those eligible, however he added the district likely won't be going that direction.

"That is something we can't do, again we're prohibited from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for entering school facilities, so that is not a place that we're going to go," Lorenz said. "Otherwise we're going to stay the course with respect to all the things we've been doing, our physical distancing, our cleaning, preventing, and mitigation strategies."

Lorenz says the district will continue to keep constant communication with parents should plans change, and continue to offer full-time and robust face-to-face education. He adds the district will also operate as usual in regards to who is allowed into school facilities.

"We are not limiting people, we are not restricting people, we ask that folks as always report to our offices," Lorenz said. "At no point do people have full reign of the buildings, but we're going to continue to do business as we've done in the past."

Lorenz says those interested in reading the full COVID-19 plan for the upcoming school year can find it on the Red Oak School District's homepage.

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