This year Watertown Mayer ISD No. 111 is putting an emphasis on making sure that all students entering kindergarten or seventh grade have up to date immunization records. The district health office is doing this in order to comply with the “No Shots, No School” policy of the State of Minnesota that mandates that no students are allowed to attend school unless their immunizations are complete.
According to District Nurse Shari Hazelbaker, R.N., L.S.N., this information needs updated for kindergarten and seventh grade students because these are the recommended ages students need booster shots or to complete vaccination series.
The best way to make sure that students are ready for school is for parents to partner with their physician in order to determine that all immunizations are up to date. Most clinics in the area have the information for the ISD No. 111 health office and are willing to fax the information directly to the school. In addition, many clinics use the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection database that allows nurses at the school district to access immunization records. There is a provision in the law for parents who are conscientious objectors or have religious reasons for not immunizing their children. However, these parents must still submit a notarized statement to the school health office.
The district has sent reminders to parents in the form of letters and through the automated phone alert system. Students who do not have complete immunization records will not be allowed to attend after Sept. 14 until the immunizations are complete or the immunization series is in process.
“This may seem rigid, but this is what the state law mandates and it is really to protect the health of our students.” Hazelbaker said, adding that the most important thing to the district health staff is to keep students healthy and to keep them in school. “Many deadly and life altering diseases have been largely eliminated due to these vaccines. We sometimes forget how important they are not only to individual students but also to the community.”
Parents can access the Watertown Mayer School District website for additional information.