Memo on Face Covering Exemptions

Memo: Face Covering Exemptions
Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Dear Families of Saint Johns,

Per Executive Order 20-81 issued on July 22,2020 by Governor Tim Walz, all students, staff, faculty members, volunteers, and visitors to Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church & School are required to wear a suitable face covering to cover their nose and mouth while indoors.  There are, however, exemptions for those “individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. These individuals should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields, and staying at home as much as possible.” (EO 20-81, 8.a)  “Children who are five years old and under,” as well as “those who are under two-years old should never wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.” (ibid, 8.b)

When asked “What medical conditions or circumstances would prevent a person from wearing a face covering” the Minnesota Department of Health answered, “There is no defined list of recognized medical, mental health conditions or disabilities that would prevent someone from wearing a face covering. Even if there was, there can be individual variation in tolerance for wearing a face covering among people with the same condition–one person might tolerate a face covering and another might not.  Face coverings can also pose special challenges for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or have other communication needs or disabilities. The Executive Order not only provides exemptions for people who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical or mental health condition or disability, but also allows people without such conditions to temporarily remove their face covering while communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a condition or disability that makes communication with that individual while wearing a face covering difficult.” (

Any student, staff, faculty member, volunteer, or visitor to Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church & School who has an exemption is required to provide in writing a signed letter explaining that they are exempt because of a “medical condition, mental health condition, or disability.”  Those students who are under the age of five and not yet attending Kindergarten are not required to provide such documentation.  The signed affidavit must be presented to the office staff upon entering the building.

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