Currently, there is a conflict relating to the Governor’s May 3, 2021, Executive Order invalidating all local Executive Orders mandating mask wearing and numerous local school boards now imposing mask mandates. Gov. DeSantis cited the new law passed in the 2021 Legislative Session, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, allowing parents to make this decision. However, days ago, Judge John Cooper, Leon County Circuit Judge, struck down the Governor’s order restricting School Boards from imposing mask mandates.
Nearly fifty percent of all children K-12 are now in public schools with mask mandates. Each of those School Boards have issued their own policies on any mask exemption in place for the mask mandate. For example, in Broward County, a student must have an approved IEP or 504 Plan and signed documentation from a “licensed medical professional” for a mask exception. If the student does not have an approved IEP or 504 Plan, the mask exemption must withstand a formal evaluation for eligibility.
The various county mask mandates differ in their mask exemption language, allowing a medical exemption from a “medical doctor” or “licensed medical professional” among others.
In signing off on a mask mandate exemption, you must consider whether or not you, as a chiropractic physician, are competent to attest that the mask wearing of the child for whom you are seeking the exemption, is detrimental to that child’s health. In addition, you must look at the verbiage of the individual school board’s mandate or exemption to see if you are the type of physician the School Board accepts to complete the exemption.
The FCA has not yet taken a formal stance on whether or not chiropractic physicians should be signing mask exemptions for children because of the many variations in local regulations and mandates. What we will encourage, however, is to put your political or philosophical beliefs aside when making the decision to sign a mask mandate exemption. Are you competent to do so? Could you go before a School Board to testify, within a reasonable degree of medical probability, that mask wearing for that child is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of that child?
And don’t forget, if and when you examine that child, Florida law now requires you have a signed parental consent form. (See this web post of 08/31/2021).
As the dust settles on this new and constantly moving issue, the FCA will keep you abreast of any new court orders or Executive Orders that may impact the profession.