Governor lifts mask requirement; masks still needed at HCS events

    HARLAN -- Masks are still required at sporting events hosted in the Harlan Community Schools, although the number of spectators will be allowed to increase, officials confirmed, after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds relaxed mask requirements across the state this week.
    The governor last Friday lifted limited mask requirements in Iowa, as well as social distancing requirements and other COVID-19 mitigation specific to businesses and social gatherings.
    Since November, Iowans two years old and older have been required to wear masks in indoor areas where they spent 15 minutes or more within six feet of another person, with some exceptions, who is not in their household.
    The proclamation also called for social distancing between groups of people at such locations as restaurants and bars, fitness centers, and sporting events, including high school events.
    The new proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7, lifts the requirements, but also says, “I strongly encourage that all businesses or other employers remaining open with in-person operations take reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the health of employees, patrons and members of the public, including social distancing practices, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures.”
    While lessening some requirements, some establishments in Iowa have said they will keep masking and social distancing guidelines in place.
    Harlan Community Superintendent of Schools Lynn Johnson said although the governor did remove the mask ‘requirement’ for athletic events and gatherings, she continues to strongly encourage employers and those organizing gatherings to take public health measures consistent with the guidance issued by Iowa Department of Public Health to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  
    “We will continue to follow the guidance of IDPH and our local health board which currently still includes the continued use of masks and social distancing,” she said.  “It is also important to note that our continued use of masks has served to reduce the number of students quarantined as a result of exposure at school.”  
    For sporting events, HCS will continue to evaluate the number of spectators they can allow to enter while still being able to afford the protection of social distancing.  
    “We will be allowing an increased number of spectators at our home events but we will still be requiring masks to be worn, particularly at indoor events,” Johnson said.  “We will establish protocol for outdoor events that is in-line with IDPH guidance.”


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