The Sarasota school district says they are accepting these medical exemptions for now, but are looking into their legitimacy, & could revoke them in the future.
In a sign of how desperate school children (and their parents) are to avoid being forced to wear masks all day while in school, one Florida chiropractor is doing so much business signing medical exemption forms for students seeking to circumvent the mask requirement that it has attracted media attention.
Dr. Dan Busch of Twin Palms, Fla. insisted in an interview with a local ABC News affiliate that he was only signing exemption slips for qualified patients. Though what those “qualifications” are exactly isn’t clear. Having a medical exemption form signed by a doctor is the only way students can opt out of wearing a mask under the current mandate in the Sarasota County School District.
“The people that I will sign exemptions for are the people that qualify for conditions within my scope of practice,” Dr. Dan Busch, a chiropractor with Twin Palms, told WWSB.
“The parent and child come in, we evaluate what their conditions are, see if they have a valid legitimate condition that would warrant a mask exemption,” Busch said. “If they do not, they have to go on their way.”
Parents of some of the children also spoke with the TV reporters, and told them that they believe their children should have a choice whether to mask up or not.
“Parents have every right to look at their child and say, ‘I don’t want that mask on my child, I know what it does to him or her,'” said parent Chad Dion.
Unfortunately for these kids, it looks like the media attention may have led to the closure of this loophole. Officials from the Sarasota school district say they are accepting these medical exemptions for now, but are looking into their legitimacy, and could revoke them in the future.
“When there’s suspicion behind them, we do have to do our due diligence in the end,” said Craig Maniglia, director of communications for the Sarasota County School District.
Add that to the list of duties that school administrators are now being forced to handle (in addition to their normal workloads) in the age of COVID: they’re tasked with deciding which medical conditions are “legitimate” enough to get around the mandate.
That’s not to say that the school district won’t recognize legitimate medical conditions: a district representative said the schools will promise to be sensitive to students’ needs, while at the same time doing everything in their power to prevent outbreaks.
Fortunately for them, school children aren’t especially vulnerable to COVID (In fact, it’s more like the opposite: they have much higher chances of being asymptomatic) while studies have shown that schools aren’t a locus of spread during community outbreaks.