75 total views, 2 views today Prince George’s County Public Schools has extended its deadline for students to meet new state immunization requirements from Sept. 16 to Oct. 31. The Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and Maryland State Department of Education will grant the 45-day extension to school districts that request the extension […]
76 total views, 3 views today
Prince George’s County Public Schools has extended its deadline for students to meet new state immunization requirements from Sept. 16 to Oct. 31.
The Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and Maryland State Department of Education will grant the 45-day extension to school districts that request the extension by Oct. 2 and submit a plan to ensure all students receive necessary immunizations, according to a DHMH memo. Max Pugh, a spokesman for PGPCS, confirmed the school system has requested an extension.
During the 45-day extension, students without proper immunizations will be able to go to school, Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., secretary of health and mental hygiene, said in the memo.
More than 250 kindergarten and 7th grade students would have been excluded from attending school for failing to meet the immunization requirements without the extension, according Pugh.There are 10,180 kindergarten and 9,188 seventh grade students in the county, Pugh said.
New state immunization requirements issued earlier in April require kindergarten students to have two doses of the Chicken Pox vaccine and seventh grade students to have a Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (TDaP) vaccine and a Meningitis vaccine.
Half of the state’s 24 school districts have expressed concern about the exclusion of students who would not meet the new immunization requirements, said Stephen Guthrie, president of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland.
As of Sept. 10, about 8,000 students statewide would have been excluded from attending school on Tuesday because they did not meet the new immunization requirements, Guthrie said. The number of potentially-excluded students since Sept. 10 has dropped significantly, he said.
“In the past, when there are new immunizations, there have been extensions granted when a significant number of students could be excluded,” Guthrie said. “All 24 systems have been working to implement the new immunization requirements.”
School districts have partnered with local pediatricians, health departments and other organizations to provide immunizations, he said. School districts also held immunization clinics on weekends.
On Sept. 13, PGCPS held free immunization clinics at four high schools in the county. About 500 students received immunizations, Pugh said.
School districts will have until Fri. Sept. 19 to request one-time 45-day extensions, according to the DHMH.
“We’ve done everything possible to meet the new requirements,” Guthrie said.