Students could be excluded without immunizations
170 students in the 509-J school district could have to stay home if they have not had their immunizations by Feb. 20General Editor
Jan. 30, 2002 -- Some 170 students in the 509-J district could be excluded from school on Feb. 20, unless they obtain necessary immunizations, School District Nurse Sue Morgan has announced.
Morgan said the schools report to the county and exclusion letters are then sent out by the Jefferson County Health Department.
Currently, students without the proper vaccinations include two at Madras Elementary, three at Big Muddy School, six at Madras High School, 23 at Westside Elementary, none at Warm Springs Elementary, nine at Metolius Elementary, and 128 at Jefferson County Middle School.
"We started out with 311 students without the proper vaccinations at JCMS," Morgan said, noting some progress has been made.
Part of the problem is that new vaccination requirements for seventh-graders were begun last year and parents are still getting used to it.
Seventh-graders must now have three Hepatitis B vaccinations, a second MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and a varicella (chicken pox) vaccination.
If the student has had the chicken pox disease, they don't need the shot, but a parent must sign a statement saying when they had chicken pox. Parents cannot give the information by phone, it has to be in writing and signed.
"The problem is getting that information. We've worked with the health department and Indian Health Service, but many of the immunization cards don't have chicken pox information on them," Morgan said.
She said clinics have even been held the past two years at the middle school to get students started on the new Hepatitis B series, but due to lack of students taking advantage of it, a shot clinic will not be held this year.
Warning letters will be sent out to parents Feb. 6, to give them time to bring vaccine documentation to the school or obtain vaccinations for their children before the Feb. 20 deadline. After that date, students without proper vaccinations will be excluded from school.
Parents can obtain more information by contacting their child's school.
Sandy Holden, immunization coordinator at the health department, said people can obtain vaccinations every Monday from 2 to 4 p.m., and every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, at the health department at 715 SW Fourth St., Suite C, Madras. No appointment is necessary.
In addition, special clinics will be held Feb. 11, 9 a.m. to noon; Feb. 13, 9 a.m. to noon; and Feb. 20, 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Fees for shots is on a sliding scale, and no one will be turned away.