Kansas City Star: Some KC area doctors write mask exemptions for students who don't need them
By Lisa Gutierrez, Sarah Ritter, and Eric Adler
Parents in Kansas City who don’t want their children to wear masks in school despite mandates are swapping names of local physicians and nurse practitioners they claim will sign medical exemptions for families.
At the same time, some local pediatric groups are telling patients they will not write exemptions outside of what would be medically necessary — and those exemptions are rare.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend universal masking indoors for grades K-12.
The pediatrics group recommends masks “because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated.”
Doctors who are asked to approve a medical exemption are advised to first consider: Can these children remove the mask by themselves?
“If a child is unable to put on and take off their mask by themself, then they shouldn’t be masked, which covers a lot of things like developmental disabilities or severe physical disabilities,” said Dr. Angela Myers, division director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy.
“Another exemption would be a child with severe autism who just cannot tolerate something on their face, which causes a lot of stress or problems, because having a mask there is only good if you leave it there.
“If you’re constantly taking it off, putting it on, taking it off, or touching it all the time then you’ve lost the ability of the mask to provide much protection.”
If a medical exemption is justified for those reasons, the pediatrics academy says the child’s medical providers might “consider advising the parent/guardian to explore virtual learning opportunities with their school district prior to or in lieu of providing a medical exemption.”
Read the full article via The Kansas City Star
Learn more about Helping Your Child Wear a Mask
Read Children's Mercy's Guidance for Keeping Schools Safe for Students and Staff
Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine at Children's Mercy