BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Children who do not have proper immunization or exemption paperwork will not be allowed to attend school after the Thanksgiving break in the Boulder Valley School District, according to school officials. This, as it becomes another school district to align its policies with a state law passed this year.
So far, school districts have had the choice of whether or not to enforce the law, but some parents said they’re glad Boulder is cracking down to ensure its students are accounted for, as long as they still have a choice over whether or not to vaccinate.
“As a parent with a child with severe allergies and an auto-immune disease, I think we would even be considering homeschooling if it wasn’t an option, so I’m really grateful he can still go to public school,” said Kristal Goodell, a mother of two boys. “I am very grateful, I don’t know if everyone feels that way, but I am.”
While one of her sons is exempt, her other son is vaccinated.
“As a collective community, if we have a lot of people coming together, it’s safest for us to be able to make sure that everyone has that in place,” Goodell said.
State health data shows 4.5% of children in the Boulder Valley School District were exempt from the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine in the last school year.
That’s nearly double the statewide MMR exemption rate of 2.8%.
The Centers for Disease Control says Colorado was one of 31 states that reported measles cases this year. Nationwide, the number of measles cases has skyrocketed, from only 63 cases in 2010 to more than 1,200 in 2019.
That has some parents concerned.
“It’s becoming an epidemic in America, which is a shame, we’ve worked really hard to eradicate measles, mumps, rubella,” said Jordan Levandoski, a parent of two young children in Boulder. “I think that it’s the responsibility of our community though to help prevent these diseases… I’m glad that boulder is taking this stand to help promote vaccinations in our children.”
A spokesperson for the Boulder Valley School District said at the beginning of the school year, there were 5,000 students who didn’t have proper documentation.
Families are welcome to submit documentation of immunization or exemption.
Boulder and Broomfield Counties have immunization clinics set up next week to assist families that do not have insurance.
Vaccine Info: https://t.co/S16v2Y6JYs
Exemption Info: https://t.co/iNOtU32vvS
— Boulder Valley School District (@BVSDcolorado) November 23, 2019
But, the school district has been actively notifying parents about the policy change since the spring, even making personal calls to parents, and now there are less than 50 students who don’t have proper documentation.
Come Monday, the few students who are still not in line with the policy will be asked to come to the office, according to the spokesperson, where school officials will call their parents. The parents can either bring in updated documentation, sign an exemption form, or take the student home.
County health departments offer immunizations without insurance. For more information, click here.