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Christine White, Johnson County pediatrician, withdraws from Blue Valley school board race

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Christine White, a Johnson County pediatrician, announced Thursday night that she will withdraw from her race for Blue Valley school board.

In a post on her campaign’s Facebook page, White said she instead plans “to focus my time and energy on my family, my medical practice, and educating patients and their families about how to limit their exposure to COVID-19.”

I entered pediatric medicine because I wanted to make a difference in improving the overall health of a vulnerable…

Posted by Christine White for School Board on Thursday, August 26, 2021

 

White is a pediatrician with Overland Park-based Johnson County Pediatrics, an affiliate of Children’s Mercy Hospital.

For months, at county commission and school board meetings, she advocated for an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in public schools and advocated for mask-wearing to be made optional in schools.

But earlier this month, she changed her position, announcing on Facebook that masks were needed “without exception” in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and limit children having to miss school to be in quarantine.

That post came a day after a Kansas City Star report and editorial which detailed a mask exemption White said she had secured for her teenager.

In Thursday’s announcement, White said her decision to withdraw from the school board race “was not something I felt pressured to do.”

The post continued:

“Our society has been battling a serious threat to our health and prosperity for a year and a half,” the post continued. “And that time will be extended indefinitely until we, as a society, make a concerted effort to eradicate COVID-19. It has devastated many families who have lost their loved ones, their vitality, their jobs and livelihoods.

“How to live in a pandemic has also divided communities. But we need to work together to rid COVID-19 and it’s variants from our society. And that starts with education. It is extremely important that our kids get to attend school in person, and wearing masks can ensure that occurs. That is why, with the arrival of new variants, my views on masks have changed.

“I want to be a part of collaborative efforts to educate the public that wearing masks, getting the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible, socially distancing and practicing hand hygiene all play an important role in stopping the spread.” 

It is now too late for White’s name to be removed from the ballot, but White said in Thursday’s post that if she is elected in November she will resign the office and “allow another community volunteer to serve in that capacity.”

White is running against Gina Knapp, a UMKC graduate and mother of three school-aged children, who has made a career in banking and nonprofit work.

That contest is to replace outgoing board member Stacy Obringer-Varhall.

About the author

Kyle Palmer
Kyle Palmer

Hi! I’m Kyle Palmer, the editor of the Johnson County Post.

Prior to joining the Post in 2020, I served as News Director for KCUR. I got my start in journalism at the University of Missouri, where I worked for KBIA, mid-Missouri’s NPR affiliate. After college, I spent 10 years as a teacher and went on to get a master’s degree in education policy from Stanford University.

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