Dr. Frank Tursi is a local family physician who said he is seeing a lot of parents requesting for doctor’s notes to excuse a child from wearing a mask. However, he said it isn’t that simple to give one.
Tursi is seeing an an uptick of underage patients testing positive for COVID-19, some as young as 5-14-years-old.
So what is a legitimate excuse?
“Certainly, if anyone is truly asthmatic, that sometimes rebreathing would trigger an asthma attack,” Dr. Tursi said. “So, if somebody is truly asthmatic then they probably would be the exception. Certainly, the scheme of autism and the autistic spectrum.”
The Union City Area School District said there are exceptions.
“One would be the 504 plan,” said Matt Bennett, the superintendent, “which will be a specific health disability, [which] would cause restriction on that mask. And second is IEP, which incorporate a number of learning and emotional disabilities.”
Dr. Tursi said he has written a few excuses for his patients, but those who aren’t a fan of the mask continue to be a challenge for him.
“’Well, Doc, just want a letter,’ and it’s like no-no, if there’s a legitimate reason for it, I’ll work with you,” Dr. Tursi said, “but not just to kind of support your view.”
He said the recent trends of transmission have him concerned.
“Within the last week, short week, holiday week, we’ve had six different families that have kids who showed up positive, and then, we have to get the rest of the family tested.”
So the challenge continues to convince parents to have their child wear a mask in order to protect them and others.
“But again, multiple parents, just because of their views, they [say], ‘Can you just say he’s asthmatic or can you just say..?’ [pause] Well no, that’s just unethical and bad medical practice. So again, just bite the bullet and wear the mask.”
Dr. Tursi said he hopes parents can understand that masks will protect their child from getting sick.
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