Farmington schools’ new vaccination policy set – Farmington Daily Times
FARMINGTON â The Farmington Municipal School DistrictÂ has updated its immunization and vaccination policy to comply with new requirements for submitting immunization reports to the state.
School boardÂ members approved the changes during ThursdayâsÂ meeting. They suspendedÂ board rules so they could approve the new policy on its first appearance in front ofÂ the board.Â SuperintendentÂ Gene SchmidtÂ said after the meeting thereÂ typically areÂ two readings of a new policy before the board votes.
Schmidt said he felt it was urgent forÂ the district to have a clear and concise policy in accordance withÂ Â New Mexico Department of HealthÂ rules that require submission of the reportsÂ on immunization coverage for students in kindergarten and seventh grade by Nov. 1.
âThe state is telling us to move on this quickly, that the health and safety of all kids are important and we need to have the rules and protocols in place,â Schmidt said.
A memo from the state health department to superintendents and school administrators in July informedÂ them that the department wanted school districts to ensure they are following state statutes and regulations afterÂ a nationwide outbreak of measles during the 2014-2015 school year caused concern.
David Morgan, spokesmanÂ for the state health department’s Southwest Public Health Region, said the department last compiled the annual immunization coverage report in 2008Â and reintroduced the requirement to assist in tracking vaccine coverage rates in New Mexico.
Cathy McDonald, Farmington schools nursing coordinator, said New Mexico was lucky whenÂ no confirmed cases of measles were reported following the large multi-state outbreak linked to the DisneylandÂ and Disney California AdventureÂ theme parks in Anaheim, Calif.
âI feel like they do see this whole breadth of outbreak of communicable diseases as something that can happen (here) in a heartbeat,â McDonald said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, 117Â of the 189Â reported cases of measles from Jan. 1Â to Sept. 18Â this year were linked to the outbreak at Disney theme parks in California.
The board policy also states the district will dis-enroll non-compliant students on Dec. 1Â of each year until the student is properly immunized or presents a valid exemption.
McDonald said state law has required school districts to dis-enroll non-compliant students, and the new district policy clearly identifies theÂ time frame for thatÂ process.
TheÂ Farmington district has an estimated 98 toÂ 99Â percent immunization compliance rate, according to McDonald.Â She said the office sends a lot of âfinal noticesâ to parents about their students’Â immunization records but rarely has dis-enrolled a student for failing to maintain immunizations. McDonald also said the nurses in the district work hard to keep parents informed about their children’s vaccinations, and that has helped ensure aÂ high compliance rate.
âWhen parents find out their student is going to be dis-enrolled, theyâll do what it takes to keep them in school,â McDonald said.
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.