School board member says medical exemption allows him not to mask up at meetings

Some questioned by Justin Orlando, left, did not wear a mask at Monday's Board of Education meeting at Masuk. Chairman David Ferris says Orlando has a medical exemption.

MONROE, CT — Several people watching the Board of Education budget workshop online Monday night questioned why board member Justin Orlando was not wearing a facial covering, a requirement at meetings. Orlando told The Sun he has a medical exemption allowing him not to wear a mask.

Orlando declined to say what his medical condition is, because of doctor/patient confidentiality.

Chairman David Ferris confirmed that Orlando has a medical exemption.

Justin Orlando

Orlando, a Republican serving his first term on the Board of Education, made his views on COVID-19 and masking clear during the election.

He disagrees with Gov. Ned Lamont having sole authority on how the State handles the pandemic, including the executive order requiring masking in schools.

“I am not anti-mask. I am pro choice,” Orlando explained. “This forces people to do what they disagree with. The governor is mandating that I mask my kids.”

Orlando said he believes in parental choice.

During the campaign, Orlando, a married father of three, said his children go to school with masks with the exception of his oldest daughter who has a medical exemption, signed by a pediatrician.


  1. Ah yes, Mr. Orlando is “not anti-mask,” but he has worn a t-shirt reading “Breaking News: Fresh Air is Still Fresh Air” and his personal Facebook page is littered with misleading anti-mask posts, including one video removed from YouTube for violating community standards. We can all understand that Mr. Orlando has a “medical exemption” (curiously, he does not say he has a “medical condition”) that precludes him from wearing a mask in indoor settings among others who may not be as physically robust as a former Masuk athlete as himself. To truly protect him from any potential complications due to the new Omicron variant and his nebulous medical condition, perhaps we can allow him to attend meetings such as this remotely. At the very least, Mr. Orlando should advocate for any decision he makes as a member of the Board of Education to be merely a recommendation and not binding. There may be people in town that disagree with him, and he wouldn’t want to “force people to do what they disagree with.”

  2. Fresh air is still fresh air! Great t-shirt ! Actually surprised someone would have a problem with that. #unmaskourchildren

  3. I am thoroughly disgusted by the prevailing anti science stance of some supposedly intelligent people and especially by elected officials. “Fresh air” Justin has obviously never had surgery done on himself or his loved ones because how could a surgeon and the whole surgical team safely work by breathing in “stale air”? The masks protect others, Justin. They help remind you to keep your fingers out of your nose and mouth. Just whom did you get elected to serve? Yourself only?

  4. The questions our Monroe citizens must ask, and must have answered are:
    * Did Mr. Orlando provide proof, actual documentation, of his alleged “medical exemption” to members of the BOE, and to whom?
    * And which members (plural) of the BOE reviewed, witnessed and will attest to the authenticity of Mr. Orland0’s “medical exemption” documentation?


  5. This is disappointing to say the least. Medical Exemption is a signed excuse to avoid the policy that applies to everyone else. He is not saying his medical condition does not ALLOW him to wear a mask, he’s saying a medical exemption allows him NOT to. Not “I deeply regret that my medical condition does not allow me to observe this simple precaution to protect everyone’s health and safety;” his media posts are more along the lines of “I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” The medical exemption sounds like a craven, dishonest way of avoiding responsibility. It’s hard to imagine how our community can be well served by someone with so little regard for his own impact on public health.

    • Correct, and have it administered with results ready before every meeting. Yes I agree with such provision to Mr. Orland’s exemption.

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