Orlando Sentinel | By Tiffiny Theisen | September 2, 2021
After one chiropractor provided over 500 mask opt-out forms for Sarasota County parents, the school district no longer accepts medical exemption forms from chiropractors, according to a news report.
Now, exemption forms can be signed only by medical doctors, osteopathic physicians licensed or advanced registered nurse practitioners, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Wednesday.
Dr. Dan Busch, who runs the Twin Palms Chiropractic practice in Venice, has signed about a third of all the medical exemption forms received across the entire school district, district spokesman Craig Maniglia said.
Dozens of parents and children were lined up outside his office this week as the district’s mask mandate went into effect Monday in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One parent said the practice’s forms were pre-signed, sitting in a stack behind the counter, and handed out without anyone asking to see the children.
“We were in and out, came in, signed a clipboard and handed a sheet,” Paulina Testerman told WFLA.
Superintendent Brennan Asplen issued an updated mask exemption form Tuesday evening, the Herald-Tribune reported.
He said the new policy was “so that we can be consistent in our consideration of whether medical reasons warrant individuals to be exempt from the policy and to prevent abuse,” the newspaper reported.
It’s unclear whether the hundreds of forms Busch signed will still be valid.
Florida state education officials on Monday began to make good on threats to withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates, despite a circuit judge last week ruling the ban unconstitutional.
Richard Corcoran, the state’s education commissioner, has said the districts imposing mask mandates are violating parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child, as required by a Florida Department of Health emergency rule.
But a Tallahassee circuit judge on Friday agreed with a group of parents who argued in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.