Eagle County Schools shares exemption process for face covering
504 plans to be used for requesting medical face covering exemptions
Eagle County Schools announced Tuesday that the 504 process will be used for parents who request a medical exemption to wearing a face covering for their children during the 2020-21 school year. Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 allows parents to ask for specific accommodations if their child(ren) have physical or mental impairments that affect or limit their abilities to:
- Walk, breathe, eat, or sleep
- See, hear, or speak
- Read, concentrate, think, or learn
- Stand, bend, lift, or work
The 504 process can be started with a doctor’s note. If a student cannot wear a face covering, the accommodation is to participate in school through distance learning as the district cannot keep the other students and staff safe if an exempt student is not wearing a face covering. Parents may proactively choose to enroll in World Academy, or remote learning with their neighborhood school, without seeking the specific 504 exemption.
There will be a few exceptions to the face-covering policy, including preschool students and students with individualized education programs who have exceptional needs that prevent them from putting on or wearing face coverings independently. Those cases will be handled individually by the district’s department of exceptional students services.
Unfortunately, fraudulent flyers and “face mask exempt cards” are circulating on social media that claim a person is categorically exempt because wearing a face mask “poses a mental and/or physical risk” and that under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the person is “not required to disclose their condition.” Both ADA.gov and justice.gov have confirmed that these flyers and cards are fraudulent and inaccurate.
“We strive to be as accommodating as possible to parents and students to advance their success in school,” said Superintendent Philip Qualman in a news release. “World Academy is a great option for families unwilling or unable to wear a face-covering as we all prepare to return to school in the safest possible manner.”