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200-plus students miss shot deadline

Jackson County public schools turned away more than 200 kids last week who were either missing vaccinations or had not completed the process of claiming a medical or nonmedical exemption.

But by Monday, many of those students were back in class.

State law requires that children attending public and private schools, preschools, Head Start or certified child care facilities provide documentation of their immunizations or exemption by the third Wednesday of February, Exclusion Day, or be sent home.

At the beginning of the month, 1,200 of the 32,989 kids currently attending a Jackson County facility that requires vaccinations had yet to provide the necessary paperwork and were notified by Jackson County Health and Human Services.

On Feb. 18, eight Ashland students, 24 Eagle Point students, 14 Phoenix-Talent students and 32 Central Point students still did not have their immunizations up to date and were barred from school.

“For many of them, it was the TDaP (diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis) booster,” said Tiffanie Lambert, Eagle Point’s director of student services.

The TDaP booster is required for all seventh-graders but is often forgotten because kids at that age are less likely to have regular wellness exams, said Lambert.

Medford staff did not know Tuesday how many students districtwide were excluded on Feb. 18. But as of Monday, the district's Information Technology Department had not received the required vaccination or exemption paperwork for 121 students.

“That doesn't mean those students aren't in class,” said district spokeswoman Natalie Hurd. “It could be that their school has the paperwork but hasn't submitted it to the district. They have until the end of the week to do so.”

On Monday, only three Eagle Point students and two Phoenix-Talent students lacked the appropriate immunization paperwork.

Jackson Baures, Jackson County Public Health Division manager, said facilities have until March 2 to let the county know how many students were vaccinated, how many filed for a medical or nonmedical exemption and how many are still missing vaccines.

The county will pass the information along to the Oregon Health Authority, which will use it to calculate each district’s exemption rates.

“And hopefully, that exemption rate has gone down,” Baures said.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.