MT. VERNON — Several new vaccination requirements are on the horizon for Illinois schools, but some local educators say they don’t believe the updated guidelines will cause any difficulties with registration.
“I don’t see there being a problem,” said Mike Green, superintendent of District 80 Schools. “It’s just working with the parents and letting them know the laws have changed. … I think any time you can help protect a child’s health, it’s a good thing.”
Starting next school year, 2014-2015, students entering school at the kindergarten through 12th grade levels will need to show proof of having received two doses each of rubella and mumps vaccines. Previously, they just had to show proof of receiving one dose each.
In addition next year, any child entering kindergarten, sixth or ninth grade will have to show proof of having received two doses of varicella (chicken pox) vaccine instead of only one.
Then, for the following school year, 2015-2016, all students will have to show proof of having received a meningococcal vaccination, which is not currently required.
The new state requirements bring Illinois in line with updated federal guidelines, said Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“It’s to make students and the community safer,” Arnold said. “We try to push out the information as much as possible.”
Deanna Metje, supervising nurse for District 80, said many students will have already received the two doses for mumps and rubella as part of their MMR vaccinations.
“If they had two MMRs, they are in compliance,” Metje said. “But if they had each of those shots separately, we may have to look at it.”
Metje said school officials send vaccination information home to parents well in advance of registration.
Also, during last year’s District 80 registration event, officials with the Jefferson County Health Department and Good Samaritan Regional Health Center were on hand to provide physicals for students. The health department also offered vaccinations during registration, Metje said.