School regulations changed in response to measles outbreak

1 year 4 months 3 weeks ago November 03, 2015 Nov 3, 2015 Tuesday, November 03 2015 Tuesday, November 03, 2015 2:38:00 PM CST in News
By: Annisa Budiman, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – After the measles outbreak that happened earlier this year in February, some schools decided to revisit their vaccination regulations. 

County and state health departments allow certain exemptions from vaccinations, including religious beliefs and medical reasons, but some schools have decided not to accept some of those exemptions.

Dan Johnson, Head of School at Columbia Montessori School, said, after the outbreak, he decided to revisit the school’s regulation on vaccinations.

“Day care centers in particular are serving a student population that may not only include older students, but also include students that are too young to get vaccinated,” he said. “So schools had to consider whether to continue accepting students that are coming with exemption cards on file, either medical, religion, or philosophical exemptions.”

Johnson said schools sometimes feel pressured to let in unvaccinated children.

“It’s difficult to turn down a family. You want to boost your student enrollments and that means taking as many children as you’re able to serve. If you place restrictions on the children you’re able to serve, that obviously creates a greater degree of difficulty in terms of having a full center that allows you to financially meet your needs and so on,” he said.

He said conversations about regulation changes started in an attempt to preserve what's called the ‘herd immunity’, in which the community is made safer by lessening the risk of an epidemic. His school decided to only accept students with medical vaccination exemptions.

“There are several reasons why a child may not, under a medical professional’s advice, proceed with the regular immunization schedule. Maybe it’s because of an allergy or a reaction to an earlier vaccination,” he said. “Those students also need a high degree of immunity in the environment that they’re in as well, because a child that can’t, because of medical reasons, get immunized is really no different than a child who has not yet reached an age that can receive immunizations.”

Johnson said the decision got wide support from parents.

“We did, at the time, have parents who ask us, because there really wasn’t any need previously to ask us much about it. Then, when they hear a daycare center in Chicago had eight kids with measles, all the sudden they’re calling their child’s daycare centers and they’re saying, ‘hey, what are your policies’,” he said.

Sydni Stranz, parent and assistant head of school, at Columbia Montessori School, said she was happy with the changes.

“It was a little nerve-racking for a parent with an infant, and when the school decided to change their policy regarding the vaccine and have everybody vaccinated and show those records, unless it was a medical excuse, I was really relieved,” she said.

Stranz said the school acted quickly, changing its policy about 7-10 days after the outbreak was reported.

“Sometimes policies, especially big topics like that, can take a while. But our whole entire board of parents that are affiliated with the school, they were on board pretty much immediately,” she said. “With any policy change, we made sure that our parents were aware.”

Although it never affected the Columbia area, she said for diseases like measles, you can never predict what will happen.

“Obviously, where it happened, it was in a bigger city where dense population is, but Columbia is a pretty big town,” she said. “I think anything that the school can do to make it a better place is great.”

Paul Prevo, Owner of Tiger Tots Child Development Center, said vaccinations haven’t been a concern at their school. Although a majority of the children in their care are immunized, Prevo said the school follows the state licensing procedures and accepts any exemptions.

“Our parents have a great deal of trust in us, and we really didn’t have any concerns raised by the parents that I’m aware of,” he said. “We fully believe in the parent’s rights to choose how to raise their children.”

Prevo said the school was on high alert when the outbreak happened and kept in communication with parents on the benefits of vaccinations.

Johnson said he does not want to impose on parents’ beliefs, but the safety of the majority of the kids is what’s important.

“You’re trying to balance concerns parents have with vaccinations with concerns that other parents have in terms of preserving a healthy environment for their child,” Johnson said. “As a school, we certainly are not going to get into a conversation with parents whether they should vaccinate or not, that is a personal decision that families make. All we can try to do is preserve the healthiest atmosphere for the children that we serve.”

Columbia Montessori School did not disenroll students with exemptions other than medical, but Johnson said moving forward the enrollment will be much tighter.

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led House has squashed an attempt by Democrats to expand Medicaid eligibility. Members... More >>
8 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Less than a week away from election day, and Columbia City Council candidates are still working to out... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People looking for jobs and education opportunities will have the chance to meet employers and educators at... More >>
10 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:31:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prosecutors say a Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis was part of a stolen identity fraud... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:35:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - An area man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of stealing, trespassing and property damage. The Fulton... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:20:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
HOLTS SUMMIT - Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows colon cancer rates have been steadily... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:15:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two teenagers were arrested Wednesday and accused of ATV theft. According to a release, Callaway County... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:56:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
COLUMBIA - Former MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley has accepted the position of president at the New York Institute of... More >>
14 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
CALIFORNIA - Three people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday at the Moniteau County Jail. According to a release... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OZARK - Police arrested a man Wednesday morning following a vehicle chase in which the suspect allegedly hit a... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:03:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It only takes the swinging of a wrecking ball to reduce a historic building to rubble. ... More >>
16 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:11:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's transit system, JEFFTRAN, wrapped up a series of six public meetings on Wednesday. JEFFTRAN... More >>
17 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:08:00 PM CDT in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A suburban Kansas City police office is hospitalized after being injured in a confrontation after short car... More >>
17 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:56:10 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are advancing a proposal to ban Missouri cities and counties from using red-light cameras. ... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:48:48 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n'... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:45:11 PM CDT in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Police caught a Kansas City man who is accused of multiple burglaries across Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arkansas... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:33:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Only one state spends less per capita on its public defender system than Missouri: Mississippi. That could... More >>
20 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:27:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has passed a proposal to spend roughly $242 million more than planned this... More >>
20 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:23:07 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
8am 56°
9am 55°
10am 54°
11am 55°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
7:30a
Cops Reloaded
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
Powerless
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
The Blacklist: Redemption
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Riverdale
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld