Recently, we have been receiving inquiries from parents who are worried that their children with disabilities won’t be able to go back to school because of the new mask mandate issued by Governor DeWine. The order requires all students in grades K-12 to wear a mask at school. But, as we all know, there is a fairly small group of students who, because of their disabilities, simply cannot wear a mask all day, if at all. Governor DeWine’s mandate specifically exempts these students:
- any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance,
- a child with significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a mask,
- a child living with severe autism or extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious due to the mask, and
- a child with a facial deformity where a mask will cause airway obstruction.
There is a lot of talk about masks for persons with asthma, but you’ll notice that asthma alone is not a qualifier. In a joint letter from Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, which the Governor references, it states, “Specifically, asthma, allergies and sinus infections are not a contraindication for using a face covering/mask.” That is not to say that someone with asthma couldn’t qualify for an exemption based on one of the scenarios itemized above.
If you believe your child falls into one of the exemptions provided by the Governor, reach out to a school administrator right away. Tell themKeep reading ...