One Kansas City-area mom had to fight tooth and nail to get a mask exemption for her children, despite having paperwork showing disturbing changes in their vital signs after just one minute of putting on a mask.  USD 229 Blue Valley officials rejected the results on a technicality, but a doctor says the results should have been a red flag that prompted the district to take action.

Julie Myrick, who has both a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old in Blue Valley elementary schools, originally went to the Blue Valley Board of Education asking for mask exemptions for her children, one of whom has asthma and the other struggles with focal epilepsy.

Her 10-year-old was complaining of headaches daily, and her 7-year-old was having daily meltdowns due to fatigue and irritability.

“My initial grievance hearing under SB40 was a request for accommodations to be made for my children who were having difficulty learning due to prolonged mask use and the symptoms they were experiencing with mask use,” she said in an email. “The hearing officer recommended my request be granted but the BOE did not respond to my individual request but simply voted 7-0 to maintain the current mask policy.”

Myrick said both her children were having adverse reactions to the masks — to include severe headaches daily — but the district was unpersuaded.  She was able to secure “unofficial” mask breaks for her children, but that required them — per the district — to go to the nurse’s office, taking them out of class.

Myrick said she was told she didn’t have legal standing to challenge the mask mandate under SB40, but that she could obtain a medical exemption — which she attempted to do.

Blue Valley ignores medical results

Myrick said her pediatrician’s office declined — as a matter of policy — to write any exemptions.  With her older child complaining of lethargy and daily headaches, Myrick eventually went to Dr. Chad Hawk, a local chiropractor, who took vitals before and after wearing masks.

What he found was very disturbing.

In the case of her seven-year-old, within one minute of donning the mask blood oxygen levels decreased from 99% to 92%, respiration increased from 21 breaths per minute to 36, and blood pressure climbed from 82/50 to 127/95.  The 10-year-old’s heart rate dropped from 65 beats per minute to 41 bpm, while blood pressure was at 118/82.

Blue Valley officials rejected the results from Dr. Hawk because he is a doctor of chiropractic, not an MD, a doctor of osteopathy, a Nurse Practitioner, or a Physician’s Assistant.

The Sentinel spoke with Dr. Richard Bowman, an MD from West Virginia, about the response Myrick’s children were having to the masks.

“Certainly the child’s having a physiological response to the mask which is potentially going to cause he or she some difficulties with utilizing it on a daily basis,” Bowman said.

But Bowman noted those preliminary results should have thrown up a warning for school officials.

“You have these initial preliminary results which should be a red flag, should give [the child] an excuse to not wear [a mask],” Bowman said. “What do you do from there? Well, that could be a variety of answers, but certainly further investigation on the medical end to try to determine the underlying cause.

“It’s sort of neither here nor there, it doesn’t necessarily matter what the direct medical cause is, [the child] should still be given an exemption to not wear the mask.

“That doesn’t even take into consideration that depression that these children are going to suffer — have suffered — will continue to suffer, some for a lifetime from being isolated socially isolated during their developmental years, and they continue to be isolated by simply being separated and not being able to interact, either at school or after school.”

USD 229 accepts form letter with no medical data

Myrick was eventually able to find a nurse practitioner who was willing to write the exemptions, but no medical information was included in the form letters provided to Blue Valley officials.

“[The child] … is unable to comply with the mask requirements due to an underlying medical condition. [The child] … and …  family are aware of the potential risks of contracting COVID 19 but [the child] …  is not at a high risk for complications from a COVID 19 infection should that occur due to an accidental exposure. [The child] …  will practice self-isolation if [the child] …  is having any signs or symptoms of an acute COVID 19 infection [the child] is not considered to be at high risk to others with just casual contact if [the child] were to have an asymptomatic infection.”

Those form letters were accepted and both children are now exempt from wearing masks in school.

However, Myrick said, her eldest reported that four other children went to the nurse complaining of headaches on May 4.

She asked the school nurse if they were tracking these complaints so they could be presented to the board. 

Myrick received no response.  The Sentinel also posed a series of questions to the district that were ignored.

She also told the Sentinel that while school policy continues to require masking outdoors at recess — despite CDC guidelines saying outdoor activities are largely safe — that has quietly not been enforced.

No legitimate medical reason to put masks on children

Dr. Bowman says that, in his medical opinion, there has never been a legitimate medical indication based on COVID transmission rates for requiring children to wear masks.

“These policies are ludicrous, particularly now that we have, elderly people and vulnerable people, or anybody who chooses to be vaccinated,” he said. “They’re vaccinated, and we still feel that it’s worth the risk of putting a mask on a child?

Bowman also believes severe anxiety disorder, already apparent, will have a long-term impact on children.  He says severe anxiety disorder causes children to be terrified of COVID for no good reason.

“They have less reason to be terrified of dying from (COVID), or a pretty equivalent reason to be terrified of dying from it as they do from lightning strikes.

“This is insane. And they’re going to have lifetime anxiety disorder issues, many children will. The morbidity and mortality that we’ll see from the psychologic conditions caused by the mask… far exceeds the morbidity and mortality that we potentially saved from having them wear masks.

“These things are going to be, for many children, lifelong issues that will cause significant morbidity, reduced productivity, homelessness, suicide. These are things that are going to be immeasurably damaging to this whole generation.”

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