Pgh. kids without vaccines forced to stay home

When a child has not been vaccinated and has the potential to spread highly contagious diseases — or cannot prove that they were vaccinated with a viable shot record — the child should not go to school. We don’t need any scares like that of the swine flu in colleges in elementary, middle, or high schools.

But there are always extenuating circumstances — what if your family just moved to the area and the shot records are still being sent? According to Allegheny County regulations, that student shall not attend school if there is no present documentation proving that he or she has been properly vaccinated.

As of last Thursday, at least 4000 students were barred from attending school if they had not received the proper vaccinations, or if they could not provide proof. We understand the school officials’ concerns over the health and safety of everyone in the Allegheny school district, but applying such a broad standard may not be the best remedy.

In the case of the 4000 students, many of their shot records are missing. Missing documents of a shot, especially since in many cases, the shots were administered, shouldn’t keep a child out of school.

And by being so willing to keep students from attending school on the off chance that they might spread uncommon illnesses, the schools are creating problems for themselves in the future. Often, it is not possible to get a doctor’s appointment for the very next day, taking up time in which the students could be learning and time that will have to be made up. In addition, for the students who already have been vaccinated but have missing records, they are missing school for absolutely no reason. This means more work for the students and staff — work that could have been avoided.

Keeping students out of school for health concerns is valid, but perhaps the administration should come up with a compromise, and provide on-site after-school clinics where students could easily and quickly get vaccinations.

We hope the county is as cooperative as possible with the students.