Sarasota schools: Licensed medical doctor must sign mask medical exemption form

The superintendent of Sarasota County schools says medical exemption forms for the district's COVID-19 mask policy will only be accepted if they are signed by a licensed medical doctor.

The school board passed a 90-day emergency mask requirement for students and staff on August 20, which came with some stipulations. If the county's COVID-19 positivity rate fell below 8% three days in a row, the requirement would be lifted, unless positivity increased above 10%, at which time the mandate would return.

The positivity rate in Sarasota County was more than 18% at the time of the meeting. As of this writing, the county's seven-day positivity rate was 19%, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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The emergency rule also included a medical exemption with a doctor's signature.

Now, school leaders are amending the medical exemption requirements to include only medical doctors licensed under Chapter 458, Florida Statutes; osteopathic physicians licensed under Chapter 459, Florida Statutes; or advanced registered nurse practitioners licensed under Chapter 464, Florida Statutes.

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In addition to the updated requirement for medical exemptions, the district released a new form for providers to complete on behalf of any parent whose child requires the exemption.