The Kansas Department of Health and Environment mandated two new vaccinations for children going to school this year, and USD 428 has set their policy giving students a deadline to be current on all their shots. The Great Bend school district will consider excluding students from school if required immunizations are not current as of October 1.
Assistant Superintendent John Popp says nurses will monitor student immunization records and relay information to principals to make decisions on enforcing the policy.
“If we have some type of outbreak that the students that opted out of the immunizations are susceptible to then they have to stay out for an extended period of time,” said Popp.
Kansas is requiring a meningitis vaccine for students beginning 7th grade and students entering 11th grade who weren’t vaccinated before their 16th birthdays. Students entering kindergarten or 1st grade need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccines are in addition to five other mandated vaccines.
Exceptions are allowed for religious or medical reasons.
“If the parent has been responsive and have a plan by October 1 of how they are going to get this done, then we will continue to allow them to come to school,” said Popp. “If they do not have a plan, then we will probably exclude them from school for a period of time.”
Popp said years ago the district had a 14-day limit after the start of school for students to be vaccinated, but the cutoff has been ambiguous since then. This year, and going forward, October 1 will be the deadline to be current on immunizations.
Popp guessed there is less than 10 percent of the student population that the district is still waiting on for immunization records.