A campaign to ensure that all District public school students are immunized against serious childhood diseases formally began this week.
The D.C. public schools and the Department of Human Resources are working together to carry out a July 1977 board of education ruling that all students - those who are currently enrolled as well as new students - be immunized against mumps, measles, rubella (German measles), tetanus, diphtheria and polio.
This week 120,000 District school students were scheduled to be given a brochure called "Is Your Child Fully Protected?" to take to their parents. Included in the brochure is a letter from school superintendent Vincent E. Reed alerting parents that their children must have proof of immunization by June 30.
The deadline was set for June 30, school officials said, to encourage parents to take prompt action and not wait until late summer to have their children immunized. After the tenth day of school next September, officials said, children who do not have evidence that they have completed the immunization requirements or that they are in the process of complying will not be allowed to attend school.
The letter also informs parents thay they can take their children to family physicians or health care agencies for the immunizations, or get free immunizations at 14 neighborhood health centers operated by the Department of Human Resources. For information on the location of health centers, call 2345678.
Before the school board ruling on immunization requirements last July, only students entering public schools here for the first time had to show proof of immunization. (See IMMUNIZATION, Page 8, Col. 3 That regulation was set by the city council in 1972.
Since July, Officials of the Department of Human Resources and the school system have been working on ways to carry out the requirement, and to provide facilities, personnel, vaccine and people to man the neighborhood health clinics. DHR officials have requested additional grants of almost a half-million dollars from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to pay for vaccines, printing costs and supplies. They are hoping for approval in February.
The brochure also tells parents that all students' immunization records will be reviewed by school and health staff members to determine what immunizations the students needs. A fact sheet on the kinds of shots children need at various ages is included, along with explanations of the effects the diseases can have on children.
Principals will send a letter to parents next week, informing them that all studensts will, informing them that all students will be dimissed one hour early on Jan. 24, 25 and 26 to allow teachers to review health records and to record immunizations the students have already received or still need. The review is expected to be completed by Jan. 31.
Secondary schools (seventh through 12th grades) will begin sending parents information Feb. 6 on what school immunizations records show for their children. Parents of secondary school students are asked to send information back to school on any additional immunizations their children have received. If school records show that the students still needs other shots, parents are asked to let the school know how they're going to proceed in having their child immunized.
Parents of seventh through eighth graders may also sign a consent form allowing their children to get free immunizations in school. Attached to the consent form will be information on each type of immunization, explaining its risks and benefits. Parents will also be required to sign that and send it back to school. The immunizations are scheduled for March 1 through May 30.
In-school immunizations will not be given to pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students.
Students in the elementary grades will be given immunization forms to take home on March 23. These forms will let parents know if their children are lacking any immunization. Parents will be asked to return the form when all immunizations are complete. They will be asked to have their children immunized privately or at DHR health clinics.