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'My concern is that families will see that as a loophole' | Mask waivers causing concern for some Iredell-Statesville parents

Some fear the district's medical mask exemption isn't being properly vetted and parents are signing for their student not to wear a mask for no good reason.

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — Sept. 8 update: Iredell-Statesville Schools received a little over 800 mask waiver forms, but are now requiring a signature from a medical professional instead of just a parent. A spokesperson for the district told WCNC Charlotte this change is expected to reduce the number of mask waiver forms submitted to the district.

The original reporting continues below.


The mask mandate at Iredell-Statesville schools is officially in effect, but parents in support say there's still concern the mask requirement won't be followed due to many parents submitting mask waivers.

The district shared a COVID-19 Student Medical Mask Waiver form as an option for parents to consider if their student is unable to wear a mask for various reasons including developmental, medical or behavioral health needs. Yet as part of the form, a medical signature isn't required -- meaning a parent or a doctor can sign.

RELATED: Religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine not likely to stand up in court, says attorney

“My concern is that families will see that as a loophole and be able to sign the waiver so that their children aren’t wearing masks," Dr. Margaret Quinlan, a communication studies professor at UNC-Charlotte and Iredell-Statesville parent, said.

Credit: Iredell-Statesville Schools

Just a few weeks into the start of the new school year, five different ISS schools are making the temporary move to virtual learning due to a spike in COVID cases.

“If our goal is to keep children in school then we need to have as many masks as possible," Quinlan said.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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