The deadline for all seventh- and 12th-grade students to show proof of a booster for Tdap and MCV4 vaccinations is Tuesday, when students return to school following the Labor Day weekend.
The Tdap immunization protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Meningococcal meningitis, a serious bacterial infection of the spinal cord, is prevented with the MCV4 vaccine.
Dr. James Phares, Randolph County superintendent of schools, said Friday there still were approximately 50 to 60 students in the county who have failed to comply with the West Virginia Board of Education policy and state law, which mandate these immunizations.
"We are sending out certified letters to the guardians of those students who failed to present proper documentation verifying receipt of these boosters," Phares said. "We will determine whether or not the students without the proper paperwork will retain their current enrollment status."
Phares said students reporting to school Tuesday who have not provided documentation prior will need one of three things: a form verifying they have received the vaccination, a completed medical exemption form or a note from a physician's office stating an appointment date has been scheduled for the student to receive the Tdap and MCV4 vaccinations.
School principals will call the guardians of students not meeting the immunization requirements Tuesday, informing parents the students cannot return to school until proper documentation is received. A follow-up call will be made by Randolph County Schools attendance officer Lynn Proudfoot.
Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children need to contact Proudfoot immediately at 304-636-9150, ext. 154, Phares said.
"We are asking parents not to become argumentative with principals and staff," Phares said. "We are merely following the guidelines of the Department of Health in trying to get the kids vaccinations."
He said guardians who have not had their children get the proper shots should be prepared to either home school their students or enroll them in private school.
Karen Begg, Elkins Randolph County Health Department director, said her office is able to administer the required immunizations to students if they are having trouble getting an appointment with their regular physician, or if their usual physician does not have the vaccinations available.
Begg said her office will sponsor a clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"Students needing immunizations should bring a parent or guardian, and a copy of their shot records," she said.
Additional information about the Health Department's clinic is available by calling 304-636-0396 or visiting www.randolphhealthwv.com.