New Maryland law requires students to have shots
As of yesterday, freshmen who have not received vaccinations against Hepatitis B and chickenpox, and do not have proof of an upcoming doctor's appointment to receive them, will be forced to leave school, in accordance to a Maryland health law that has gone into effect with the new year. The new law adds the two diseases onto the list of the already required polio vaccine, the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussen vaccine.
The new vaccination requirement applies to all students in Maryland public schools from middle school to 9th grade, and was expected to impact around 5,000 unvaccinated Montgomery County students. In order to comply with the law, every Blair first period teacher received a list with names of unvaccinated students. The teachers were instructed to ask the students to go to the SAC.
The ban on unvaccinated students, however, is no surprise, as health officials have been working since spring of 2006 to inform parents about the new mandate, according to a Montgomery County news release. The school system has sent repeated messages to parents to remind them to have their child vaccinated, with information on where and when they can do so.
Even with all the messages, some Blazers received their vaccinations just before the deadline. Freshman Sammy Denenberg received his Hepatitis B shot on Dec. 22, the school day before winter break, but was still on the vaccination list when he returned yesterday. Denenberg solved the problem by finding a staff member, who directed him to the health room. He says, "I showed them the form [with the proof] and they said it was okay."
Some, however, did not get their shots in time. According to Assistant Principal Linda Wanner, 52 people were on the list as of Tuesday morning. Of those 52, 34, like Denenberg, brought forms in with proof of vaccinations. Wanner believes the ban from school has been succesful though, saying that of the initial students, "about eight" are still out.
Pia Nargundkar. Pia Nargundkar was Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2007-2008 school year. More »