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RE: COVID-19 Student Face Covering Request for Exemption Due to Disability

Dear Gunnison Watershed School District –

We have recently been made aware that the Gunnison Watershed School District (GWSD) has released a COVID-19 Student Face Covering Request for Exemption Due to Disability Form. This form is based on the mask mandate released at the public meeting that was held on Monday, September 13, 2021 with the Gunnison Watershed School District (GWSD) School Board and leadership. This form states that “the district recognizes that some students may have disabilities that make it medically inadvisable or otherwise inappropriate to wear a face mask or other face covering and will reasonably accommodate students with disabilities. In order to receive an exemption from applicable face covering requirements, this form must be completely filled out, signed by [child’s appropriate medical professional], and returned to the school your child attends.”

Our provider team at Gunnison Valley Health Family Medicine is united in our viewpoint that we will adhere to the current CDC guidelines in conjunction with our advising medical societies (American Academy of Family Physicians [AAFP] and the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP]) to guide our medical decision-making. Our providers are unlikely to write an exemption. Those with valid disabilities per the guidance of the CDC may be considered, but it should not be assumed that the exemption paperwork will be completed. In order to review a request made by a parent or student, a visit must be scheduled in our office for discussion with one of our providers.

Per the guidelines of the CDC, AAFP, AAP, for children under the age of 2 years it may not be feasible or applicable to wear a face covering. Otherwise, extremely rare circumstances may be considered. At this time, we have not been able to identify anyone on our patient panel who presently meets these criteria to qualify for an exemption.

Thank you for understanding our position.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Anderson, DO

Charlie Hastings, MD