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Iowa City mother of two says she’s frustrated with mask exemption guidelines

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:13 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Rebecca Lopez spent weeks fearing that her children would be kicked out of class.

“The conversations that I had were always like, well we don’t want to have to send your kids home from school and we can’t let them back until this form is signed,” she said.

She has two young children. Her son has Down syndrome and her daughter is autistic.

According to the Iowa City Community School District’s mask exemption form, both her children should be excused from wearing a mask. But the school told her she had to have their form filled out by their primary care provider.

“Because they specify that it has to be PCM, we’re not able to go into urgent care or the health department and have someone there review our documents,” said Lopez.

After moving from Kansas where she was active in the military, Lopez had a gap in her family’s insurance. It was a gap that led to long wait times and rescheduled appointments to try and get the paperwork completed.

“The active duty health care network is no longer available to me, so the active duty Air Force captain who was so helpful and did so many things to help my family, she’s just no longer available,” said Lopez.

Her children never were sent home from school. But Lopez says she’s still frustrated, saying that the paperwork they already have on file should be enough of an exemption as is.

“Of the nine conditions they have listed, eight are severe enough that any child who has these conditions would probably need an IEP or a 504 Plan for accommodation for this disability,” she said.

ICCSD states on its website that they require these forms to ensure that all other students and staff can comply with the guidance from the CDC and Johnson County Public Health.

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