Students with disabilities can exempt from mask-wearing in school

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After the school board decided this week that all students and staff must wear masks unless they are able to social distance, many parents were concerned.

Some families, that have students with disabilities, say it will be difficult for their child to keep a mask on.

When it comes to wearing masks, however, Bay District Schools said, ‘no one-size-fits-all”.

Parents of students who have a medical exemption for wearing a mask, need to provide documentation to their school.

They can bring in either a note from a physician or any other licensed medical professional.

“We know some of these special needs students can’t wear a mask, and we’re understanding of that. It’s not gonna be an issue for them,” said Superintendent of Schools, Bill Husfelt.

One parent said it will be difficult for her children to wear one in the classroom.

“All of us have asthma and all of us have upper respiratory problems, both my kids have severe ADHD, they’re always fidgeting. I can’t even get them to wear them in the doctor’s office when we go in there or anywhere, they take them off,” said BDS Mother Krystal Antonucci.

She believes the decision should be left up to the parents of the student.

“If you’re in high school, I would understand yes but elementary and middle school, it should be a no,” said Antonucci.

Pediatrician Rubina Azam says she believes many parents will be coming in to get their child an exemption, but encourages them to wear a mask if they can.

“We do have a lot of patients that are requesting an exemption from wearing a mask. But again because we recommend masks, that’s the only way we can decrease the spread of this infection. I’ll give  an exemption to those patients who have, like I mentioned, sensory issues, autism or some kind of disability,” said Dr. Azam.

Certain disabilities will qualify a student for one of these mask exemption letters.

“If there’s a kid who has adhd, anxiety and also they have really sensitive issues.They just cannot tolerate the masks on their face, so those kids they do get the exemptions,” aid Dr. Azam

For more information on what qualifies for a mask exemption speak to your primary care doctor.

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