Hundreds of mask opt-out forms rejected by Florida school districts

Tampa Bay, Florida — A document that gives students a pass to opt out of wearing masks on some school campuses as parental debates, state battles, and court battles continue over school mask obligations. Is also natural. It is causing controversy throughout the state.

Currently, about 12 school districts in Florida require you to wear a mask on campus. About half of them allow parents to sign a form to opt out of delegation, and the other half require a doctor’s note or doctor’s signature on the medical exemption form.

For school districts that require a signed medical exemption form, I have learned that at least 675 exemptions have been denied by the school district since the school began.

Alachua County, the first school district to require masks this year, has received 85 medical opt-out forms so far. The district rejected 5, because the form was signed by “someone who is not a qualified medical professional,” a district spokesman told us by email.

In Orange County, as of last week, the district had rejected a total of 20 medical exemption forms. A spokeswoman said the possible reason was that legitimate health care providers did not sign the form.

But even the form signed by a licensed Florida doctor raised his eyebrows.

Last month, a Leon County mom told me about a local ER doctor charging her parents $ 50 for a signed opt-out form addressed to her parents in official letterhead.

Dr. Brian Warden advertised on social media his willingness to help parents get a sign medical exemption. In one post, he felt the need to clarify, “I’m a real doctor.”

As a result, Warden, which provides contract services to the Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, has been removed from serving patients, according to HCA Healthcare spokesman Rachel Styles.

“We act with absolute integrity in everything we do. It is our expectation that third-party providers will act in a manner that is consistent with their values. Immediately after learning of the behavior, we began the process of excluding him from serving inpatients, “Stiles told us in a company statement.

Warden did not respond to our request for comment.

In Sarasota County, Dr. Dan Bush, a chiropractor in Venice, made a national headline by signing hundreds of medical exemption forms for students. He is accused of giving out signed forms like candy and running an “exemption factory” without proper evaluation and evaluation of students.

Two mothers, Paulina Testerman, helped guide the prosecution to rule out Bush’s alleged behavior. She leads a group called Stop the Spread SRQ. This is a grassroots group that aims to support school mask mandates and prevent the spread of false information about COVID-19.

“After all, no one who breaks the rules to get what they want doesn’t have a business working in health care,” Testerman said of Bush’s alleged behavior. rice field.

Of the 650 medical exemption forms rejected by the Sarasota County district, a spokesperson said the form signed by Dr. Dan Bush accounted for the majority of the district’s rejections. Recently, the district school board voted to limit the types of healthcare providers eligible to sign an exemption. Chiropractors, including Bush, are no longer considered eligible providers.

Dr. Bush’s lawyer told us that Bush didn’t comment, but his supporters had a lot to say.

“We are neither a professional mask nor an anti-mask. We are a parent’s right and freedom,” said Alexis Spiegelmann. She leads Mom’s Sarasota branch for freedom. Spiegelman said he volunteered for an exemption event last weekend in a privately owned recreation area known as The Hollow in Venice. She appeared thousands of people to get a mask exemption signed by an approved doctor in the county, but who those doctors were and how they evaluated the students Said it was unknown.

A video of the Sunday event shows a line of cars approaching the area, along with a crowd of families wearing red, white, and blue. Spiegelmann said there was a food truck and music. “It was an incredible turnout,” she said. “That’s what we see as a result of government overkill,” Spiegelman added.

The Sarasota County School District has not yet announced the number of new forms received this week after the event, the signers of the forms, or whether any of these forms have been rejected.

However, USF Health Policy Professor and Medical Ethics Expert Jay Wolfson said:

Medical tax exemption requires examination and diagnosis, and those records must be maintained by the physician who evaluated the person for tax exemption.

“I can’t trust my parents saying my child has asthma or dermatology. You have to do a test, you’re not handing out lollipops here.” He said.

Wolfson has not been involved in or commented on any of the cases mentioned or doctors, but medical practice and medical care, even though the political pulsations of our community remain very volatile and gray. He said the rules for issuing exemptions are clear to all medical professionals.

“He practices medicine. He doesn’t offer philosophy lessons or good government lessons. He does it because he wants his parents to be reassured because of his political beliefs. If so, it’s not his job, “Wolfson said.

The Florida Department of Health does not confirm or reject complaints against doctors who have signed a mask exemption exemption. Complaints and investigations will not be published until 10 days after the possible cause is found.

Hundreds of mask opt-out forms rejected by Florida school districts

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