Why do parents think that their intentionally unvaccinated kids can not or will not be removed from school?
After all, when available, part of their choice when signing their child’s immunization waiver is to accept that their child could be excluded from school “as a disease control measure.”
Well, I guess accept is a strong word…
Can Schools Remove Unvaccinated Kids?
Why is this coming up again?
“Last week, Marysville High School forcibly removed over 37 students from the high school due to an alleged outbreak of chicken pox, which consisted of two students.”Parent: School wrong to remove unvaccinated students
Why send unvaccinated kids home when someone at the school has chickenpox?
Because chickenpox is very contagious!
For every case of chickenpox, up to 12 others who are not immune will catch it, which used to lead to large outbreaks in the pre-vaccine era.
“Homecoming events are happening all week long. The school has barred any Marysville student who cannot provide immunity status from attending these week long events including the homecoming parade and the homecoming dance. This group of banned students consists of band members, cheerleaders, and football players. HOWEVER, the school is allowing students from other school districts to attend without checking immunity or vaccination status of the visiting student.”Parent: School wrong to remove unvaccinated students
To be clear, any of the kids with non-medical exemptions could have gone back to school if they had just gotten a chickenpox vaccine. It was their parent’s choice to avoid vaccinating and protecting them and that is what is keeping them out of school.
Why allow students from other school districts to visit the school?
Those students, even if they are unvaccinated, would not have already been exposed to the Marysville kids with chickenpox! They aren’t a risk to keep the outbreak going.
That is unlike the unvaccinated kids at Marysville High School. They could have already been exposed and could come down with chickenpox anytime over the 10 to 21 days following that exposure. If they stayed in school, they could then expose others, especially as you can be contagious even before you know that you have chickenpox.
“The Marysville School District released the private health, educational, and personal records of these students to the health department without parental consent. This is a clear violation of federal law.”Parent: School wrong to remove unvaccinated students
And while the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does protect student privacy, there are exceptions for health or safety emergencies, including “the outbreak of an epidemic disease.”
As St. Claire County has a high rate of vaccine exemptions, it is not surprising that they are being so pro-active in trying to prevent the outbreak from growing.
“According to Michigan state law, there are three ways to provide immunity to a school. One, is a vaccination record. Two, is a titers blood test that shows immunity. Three, is an affidavit signed by a parent, guardian, or doctor that states the child has had the chicken pox. Despite the fact that at least one parent submitted an affidavit, the school has admitted they will not follow state law, but instead continue based on what the heath department recommends.”Parent: School wrong to remove unvaccinated students
What about the idea that the school should have accepted the parents affidavit that their child is immune to chickenpox?
“(4) When a local health officer confirms or reasonably suspects that a student or individual attending school or a group program has a communicable disease, the health officer may, as a disease control measure, exclude from attendance any individuals lacking documentation of immunity or otherwise considered susceptible to the disease until such time as the health officer deems there to be no likely further risk of disease spread.”MDHHS Communicable and Related Diseases Administrative Rules
Because chickenpox is now becoming more and more uncommon, many states are requiring titers to confirm immunity if a child is unvaccinated.
So what happens next?
When an intentionally unvaccinated Kentucky teen was banned from school during a chickenpox outbreak his family sued. They lost and he ended up getting chickenpox! Although he is now at increased risk to get shingles, he didn’t expose anyone else at his school.
We will see what happens in Michigan…
Unless there is a new case, there is less than a week left to go and of the original 37 students, only 14 students are still being quarantined.
More on Removing Unvaccinated Kids from School
- Who Dies from Chicken Pox?
- 10 Myths About Chicken Pox and the Chicken Pox Vaccine
- Believe It or Not, Chicken Pox Parties Are Still a Thing
- Is the Chicken Pox Vaccine Creating a Shingles Epidemic?
- Did Police Block an Unvaccinated Girl from Getting Into School?
- Chickenpox Outbreak in Area High School
- MDHHS Communicable and Related Diseases Administrative Rules
- Michigan Immunization Waiver Information
- Study – Contact patterns and their implied basic reproductive numbers:an illustration for varicella-zoster virus
- Notes On R0
- CDC – Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- When is it permissible to utilize FERPA’s health or safety emergency exception for disclosures?
- An unvaccinated teen who sued over school ban got chickenpox. His dad says that’s a good thing.