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

Christine White, a pediatrician in Johnson County, announced Thursday evening that she will retire from her race for the Blue Valley school board.

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

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

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

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

For months, she advocated easing COVID-19 restrictions in public schools during provincial committee and school board meetings and called for mask wearing to become optional in schools.

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

That post came a day after a Kansas City Star report and editorial detailing a mask release White said she arranged for her teen.

In Thursday’s announcement, White said her decision to pull out of the school board race “wasn’t something I was pressured to do.”

The message continued:

“Our society has been battling a serious threat to our health and prosperity for a year and a half,” the post continues. “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 must work together to drive COVID-19 and its variants out of our society. And that starts with education. It is extremely important that our children can attend school in person, and wearing masks can ensure that this happens. That is why my view of masks has changed with the arrival of new variants.

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

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

White takes on Gina Knapp, a UMKC graduate and mother of three school-age children, who has pursued a career in banking and nonprofit work.

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

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