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New immunization requirements for Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone schools

Pennsylvania has mandated new immunization requirements for all students entering school for the first time in Kindergarten or first grade. In addition to the previous requirements (four doses of diptheria and tetanus, three doses of polio, two doses of measles, mumps and rubella, and three doses of hepatitis B vaccine) students must also provide proof of varicella (chicken box) vaccination or disease.
New regulations also apply to all students entering seventh grade. These students must provide proof of having received three doses of hepatitis B vaccine and must also have had the varicella (chicken pox) vaccination or disease.
Students who have not provided the new information to the school nurse, in writing, will not be permitted to attend classes on the opening day of school on Monday in Tyrone or when school begins Wednesday at Bellwood-Antis.
Bellwood-Antis Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rodney Kuhns, stated, “The new requirements will be enforced in Bellwood. Those students who have not met requirements will not be permitted in school – the law is the law.”
Kuhns added, “The Department of Health doesn’t want the kids who haven’t met the new requirements in school.” Kuhns said that this effects primarily seventh grade at the middle and high school at Bellwood-Antis. He added that about ten percent of Bellwood’s seventh grade is not in compliance.
Mary Saylor, middle/high school nurse at Bellwood-Antis, said that the purpose of the vaccines are to prevent disease. Something like chicken pox can be serious, and now a vaccination is available.
Saylor added, “Eventhough the requirement is for Kindergarten, first grade and seventh grade, other students can get vaccinated, although it is not required.” She added, “The state requires vaccinations to insure that a large percentage of the population gets vaccinated.”
Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone schools have been in contact with parents of children who are required to receive the new vaccination since last school year. As with Bellwood, the Tyrone School District will also enforce the newly mandated immunization requirements.
Tyrone elementary school nurse, Brenda Cowger, noted that Tyrone has contacted Kindergarten registration last spring and sent out notices to all students in the elementary. She added, “We spoke to each individual parent at Kindergarten registration and we’ve made personal phone calls, sent letters out over the summer, along with contacting physician’s offices to help the parents transfer medical information.”
Cowger added, “We encourage parents to call the school if they have questions or need help. Our goal is to have all students present on the first day of school.”
Parents of Tyrone students can contact the school nurses at: Elementary – 684-1342 Ext. 2708. Middle/High School – 684-4240 Ext. 3710.
Parents of Bellwood-Antis students can contact the school nurses at: Elementary – 742-2272. Middle/High School – 742-2274.