Gazette Daily News Podcast, January 26

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I’m Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette’s Digital News Desk and I’m here with your Wednesday January 26th update.

Maggie Schmitt holds her face mask after school in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Maggie continues to wear her mask in her Prairie Hill kindergarten classroom and often continues to wear it after returning home. The College Community School District’s mask mandate was lifted last week after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill banning schools from requiring masks. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Temperatures are rising above 10 degrees. According to a National Weather Service forecast, sunny weather in the Cedar Rapids area will peak near 11 degrees. Wind chill values ​​drop as low as -25 degrees with gusts as high as 20 mph. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy with temperatures reaching 19 degrees Thursday morning. The wind chill will finally give us some respite as it rises to -5 degrees.

A federal appeals committee on Tuesday authorized the state of Iowa to enforce a law that prevents local schools from imposing mask mandates — but not for schools attended by students whose disabilities make them more vulnerable to serious illnesses if they contract COVID-19.

The appeals committee found that a mask requirement is a ‘reasonable accommodation’ for students with such disabilities and enabled a group of parents of children with disabilities to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law of the State of May 2021.

Two members of a three-judge panel at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Omaha ruled that a previous federal judge’s decision to issue an injunction that blocked the state’s ban on mask mandates was too much. broad because it applied to all schools in the state.

The split nature of the ruling has led school districts to interpret it very differently. The Cedar Rapids School District, for example, decided on Tuesday to no longer require masking but to encourage it. The Iowa City School District, on the other hand, decided to maintain its mask requirements.

The opening of a magnet high school for freshmen and sophomores in the Cedar Rapids Community School District is delayed until at least fall 2023.

District officials originally proposed opening a magnet high school for the start of the 2022-23 school year.

After gathering feedback from staff, students, parents and residents on the concept of a magnetic high school, the district decided to delay its opening, Superintendent Noreen Bush said in an email to The Gazette.

Bush said it became “increasingly clear” that more time was needed to develop the magnet high school.

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in December, the Iowa Workforce Development reported Tuesday.

That’s down from 3.7% in November and 3.7% a year ago, the agency said in a news release.

IWD added that Iowa’s total number of unemployed fell to 57,900 in December, down 3,800 from November.

Motorists in Iowa would be prohibited from using cell phones or other electronic communication devices while driving under legislation approved by the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

If the legislation is approved by the Legislature, Iowa would join 25 other states in banning the use of electronic devices capable of sending or receiving messages and storing or displaying video while driving. . In states with hands-free legislation similar to that proposed in Iowa, there has been, on average, a 15% reduction in deaths, according to an insurance company representative who spoke Tuesday during a hearing on HF 392.

Iowa law now prohibits the use of portable electronic communication devices to write, send, or view electronic messages while driving. Under HF 392, using an electronic device would be a mobile violation. The fine for a violation would increase from $45 to $100.

Support for this podcast provided by New Pioneer Food Co-op. Celebrating 50 years as Eastern Iowa’s source for local, responsible groceries with stores in Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids; and online via Co-op Cart on

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