Iowa professor who required masks ordered to teach from home

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A University of Northern Iowa biology professor who required masks be worn in his classroom and threatened lower grades for students who refused has been relegated to online teaching and stripped of his eligibility for merit pay.

UNI professor Steve O’Kane Jr. had pushed a resolution among his colleagues saying faculty should be allowed to manage their classrooms.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids reports O’Kane received a disciplinary letter from UNI College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences Dean John Fritch. Despite the letter’s warning that he could be fired if he fails to comply with university policies on face masks, O’Kane says he will require masks again in the spring if he’s allowed to return to in-person teaching.

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