PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s a lot of questions just a day after the state’s mask mandate went into effect for schools across the commonwealth.
One of those concerns is mask exemptions.READ MORE: State Police: Man Shot, Killed By Police After Stabbing Three People, Injuring Police Officer
“Masks are one of the best tools we have to keep students in class and COVID out,” Governor Tom Wolf said.
A day after the state’s mask mandate for K-12 schools went into effect, Dr. Todd Wolynn of Kids Plus Pediatrics in Squirrel Hill said he’s been fielding a lot of calls from parents who want their kids to opt-out.
“There’s a lot of disinformation out there, and just because somebody wants one doesn’t mean you can get an exemption,” Dr. Wolynn said.
Dr. Wolynn said if you want your student exempt from wearing a mask, you should be given the OK by a medical professional like your primary care doctor.
“We have been told there are school districts creating their own version of an exemption and telling parents if you don’t want your kids to wear a mask, let us know and send in,” Dr. Wolynn said.
A parent in the Laurel School District in Lawrence County who wants to remain anonymous said half of his daughter’s elementary school class turned the form in.
“A good deal of forms have been submitted from the elementary school and high school,” said Laurel Hill School District Superintendent Leonard Rich.READ MORE: Hofbrauhaus Suspends General Manager Amid Investigation Into Racism Allegations At Beer Festival
He said the district is in the process of gathering forms from parents.
“We will honor exemption forms unless we hear otherwise,” Rich said. “We may ask for additional documentation, take it on a case-by-case basis.”
Additional documentation like medical information, but Superintendent Rich said he’s not requiring it.
“Our forms and written communication have been vetted and believe in compliance with the order. As far as requiring medical documentation, that’s not in the order,” Rich said.
Rich said he is going to enforce the mandate.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to see if districts must get permission from a doctor before signing off on a mask exemption. The department released a statement, saying:
“Schools and school districts should follow the spirit and intent of the masking order and require students, teachers and staff to wear masks. In addition, schools should follow the same protocols or established processes for determining student eligibility for an exemption as they would when implementing other directives concerning the health and safety of students in the classroom.”MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Sunny Steelers Sunday
Click here to read the state’s order.