Education

Wichita students not up to date on shots will be excluded from school starting Nov. 16

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Wichita school district students who aren’t up to date on their required immunizations will be excluded from school beginning Nov. 16.

Officials said school nurses have been notifying parents about the requirements. Since enrollment, parents whose children aren’t up to date on shots should have gotten letters, phone calls, e-mails or notifications at parent-teacher conferences.

“We really need to protect all of our students and staff members,” said Kimber Kasitz, coordinator of health services for the Wichita district. “We want to make sure people are healthy, and if we’re not immunized then we’re going to have a lot of illness spread that we could prevent.”

Beginning Nov. 16, students at Wichita schools will be pulled out of class and told they will not be allowed to return until their immunizations are up to date. As of Friday, about 2,000 Wichita students were not in compliance with vaccine requirements, Kasitz said.

For Kansas immunization requirements, contact your school nurse or health care provider, or visit http://healthservices.usd259.org.

This school year, there are changes in the varicella (chicken pox) requirement – two doses for all K-12 students.

If parents received a notice but think their child has the required shots, they should contact the school nurse to be sure. Some doctors administer a different version of the Tdap vaccine, called DTaP, but either will meet the requirement.

Kansas schools allow an unvaccinated child to attend school under two conditions:

▪ The child has an annual written statement from his or her physician saying that the child’s life or health would be endangered by undergoing the inoculation.

▪ Or, the parent or guardian has signed a written statement that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose teachings are opposed to inoculations.

During suspected disease outbreaks, any child claiming an exemption will be subject to automatic exclusion from school for up to 21 days, Kasitz said.

If students are excluded from school for immunization reasons, the first two days – Nov. 16 and 17 – will be excused absences, Kasitz said. After that, any days missed would be unexcused, she said.

Students who need shots but do not have insurance or a regular health care provider will be directed to the Sedgwick County Health Department or to a safety-net clinic such as GraceMed or Hunter Health Clinic, which provide immunizations at little or no cost.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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