As can’t be avoided once you turn on your radio or television, mask mandates (and now the issue surrounding vaccine mandates) have created polarizing positions in our communities. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order on May 3, 2021, invalidating all local Executive Orders mandating mask wearing, citing the new law passed in the 2021 Legislative Session, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, allowing parents to make this decision. Since then, a Leon County judge (J. Cooper) struck down the Governor’s order restricting School Boards from imposing mask mandates, yet not long thereafter, the First District Court of Appeal reversed his decision and put the mandate back in place until such time as it undergoes further review. This issue likewise made it to the Federal courts where a judge declined to block the ban on mask mandates. At this time, the Governor’s Executive Order precluding mask mandates is in place.
While chiropractic physicians have been deemed “essential healthcare workers” by treating non-COVID patients during this pandemic to free the emergency rooms from those who do not need emergency care, the FCA has previously stated its position on chiropractic physicians issuing mask mandate exemptions for children. While some in the profession have taken it upon themselves to issue mask mandate exemptions en masse, the FCA does not endorse or support this conduct.
Notwithstanding the Executive Order precluding mask mandates, some school boards may continue to issue mask mandates. In signing off on a mask mandate exemption requested by a parent in a school district still mandating masks, you must consider whether you, as a chiropractic physician, are able to attest that the mask wearing of the child for whom you are seeking the exemption, is detrimental to that child’s health. In addition, you must look at the verbiage of the individual school board’s mandate or exemption to see if you are the type of physician the school board accepts to complete the exemption.
The FCA encourages its members and the profession to put political or philosophical beliefs aside when making the decision to sign a mask mandate exemption. Ask yourself, could you go before a school board, the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine, or a court of law to testify, within a reasonable degree of medical probability, that mask wearing for that child is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of that child based upon your examination of that child?
The Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine is likely watching the same news segments we are. Defending a complaint for practicing without professional competency can bring significant administrative, civil, and criminal penalties
For those school districts continuing to allow mask mandate exemptions, the FCA does not support the signing of these exemptions except for limited circumstances when both sound clinical judgment and the precise parameters of the exemption are followed.