Farmington schools’ new vaccination policy set – Farmington Daily Times
FARMINGTON Ã¢Â€Â” The Farmington Municipal School DistrictÃ‚Â has updated its immunization and vaccination policy to comply with new requirements for submitting immunization reports to the state.
School boardÃ‚Â members approved the changes during ThursdayÃ¢Â€Â™sÃ‚Â meeting. They suspendedÃ‚Â board rules so they could approve the new policy on its first appearance in front ofÃ‚Â the board.Ã‚Â SuperintendentÃ‚Â Gene SchmidtÃ‚Â said after the meeting thereÃ‚Â typically areÃ‚Â two readings of a new policy before the board votes.
Schmidt said he felt it was urgent forÃ‚Â the district to have a clear and concise policy in accordance withÃ‚Â Ã‚Â New Mexico Department of HealthÃ‚Â rules that require submission of the reportsÃ‚Â on immunization coverage for students in kindergarten and seventh grade by Nov. 1.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThe 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,Ã¢Â€Â Schmidt said.
A memo from the state health department to superintendents and school administrators in July informedÃ‚Â them that the department wanted school districts to ensure they are following state statutes and regulations afterÃ‚Â a nationwide outbreak of measles during the 2014-2015 school year caused concern.
David Morgan, spokesmanÃ‚Â for the state health department’s Southwest Public Health Region, said the department last compiled the annual immunization coverage report in 2008Ã‚Â 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 whenÃ‚Â no confirmed cases of measles were reported following the large multi-state outbreak linked to the DisneylandÃ‚Â and Disney California AdventureÃ‚Â theme parks in Anaheim, Calif.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI feel like they do see this whole breadth of outbreak of communicable diseases as something that can happen (here) in a heartbeat,Ã¢Â€Â McDonald said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, 117Ã‚Â of the 189Ã‚Â reported cases of measles from Jan. 1Ã‚Â to Sept. 18Ã‚Â 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. 1Ã‚Â 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 theÃ‚Â time frame for thatÃ‚Â process.
TheÃ‚Â Farmington district has an estimated 98 toÃ‚Â 99Ã‚Â percent immunization compliance rate, according to McDonald.Ã‚Â She said the office sends a lot of Ã¢Â€Âœfinal noticesÃ¢Â€Â to parents about their students’Ã‚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 aÃ‚Â high compliance rate.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhen parents find out their student is going to be dis-enrolled, theyÃ¢Â€Â™ll do what it takes to keep them in school,Ã¢Â€Â McDonald said.
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.