Updated: Hundreds Blocked From Natomas Classrooms

*** Update: As of 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 the Natomas Unified School District reported 412 students – 10.17 percent of the 4,051 7th through 12th graders districtwide – had yet to be vaccinated. Said a spokesperson for the district, “We are continuing to work with our students’ parents and guardians to get students immunized.” ***


THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
Effective this morning, hundreds of students will not be allowed into Natomas Unified School District classrooms until they get vaccinated against whooping cough.
Assembly Bill 354 requires 7th through 12th grade students at public and private schools in California be immunized against whooping cough which reached epidemic numbers last year. Students not already vaccinated by the time school started August 16 in Natomas, had 30 days to comply with the new rule.
That grace period expired the end of the day on Friday.
The morning of the Sept. 16 deadline, school district officials reported more than 1,000 students had not yet been vaccinated (or turned in verification they got a Tdap shot) despite flyers sent home, automatic telephone reminders and at least two free shot clinics held on school campuses over the summer.
In a last-ditch effort to get those students vaccinated, free clinics were held Friday at both Inderkum and Natomas high schools on Friday.
“Frankly, the two clinics did not reap the results I had hoped,” interim superintendent Dr. Walter Hanline said late Friday.
Natomas High School reported that 95 students either got vaccinated or turned in verification of the shot on Friday. The clinic held at Inderkum High School ended at 5 p.m. and the number of students vaccinated are not yet available.
“The students will be in the gyms of each of the schools until the shots are done,” Hanline said.
Hanline last week told the Natomas Unified school board that students would remain in make-shift study halls supervised by substitute teachers, until contact can be made with parents and the students vaccinated against whooping cough. In 2010, California experienced the most reported cases in over 60 years forcing some schools to close.
“The intent of the law is for students to be vaccinated,” said Ralph Montano, spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. “It is the school’s responsibility to enforce the law.”

Medical and personal belief exemptions are allowed, but must be on file with the student’s school.

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