Schools Could Turn Away Students

By: Venton Blandin Email
By: Venton Blandin Email

December 5, 2006

Sixth-graders in Albemarle County could be turned away from school later this week if their parents fail to prove they have gotten all their shots.

School officials are trying to give procrastinating parents a boost to get things done one last time.

Denise Rucinski is the nurse at Jack Jouett Middle School in Albemarle County. Being a nurse, Rucinski says, has been hectic for the last few weeks.

"It was crazy. We had to make 111 phone calls. Myself, and the three secretaries helped me with that on Monday," said Jack Jouett Middle School Nurse Denise Rucinski.

Parents are still getting calls telling them their child needs to have a booster shot.

Virginia law requires all sixth-graders get the TDAP shot which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis is also known as the whooping cough.

Only about 30 Jack Jouett students are still without those shots.

Rucinski admits though, parents could have a problem like their child has when it comes to homework.

"They just didn't provide the proper paperwork, and thought it was going to magically appear on my desk," added Rucinski.

Melody Henderson is a mother of four including a sixth-grader. She got her paper in before the December 7, 2006 deadline by having her child vaccinated over the summer.

"Sometimes I am on top things, and I get lucky. This time I happened to get lucky, and heard about it," said Parent Melody Henderson.

"Parents gave me many reasons for their kids not having all of their shots, but said one of the biggest is communication.

"We got a letter saying they need them, and they never told us exactly how they wanted us to give them proof. I guess I should have realized, but you know when your kid starts kindergarten, you are give the blues slip, the red slip, or whatever color slip they are using at the time. You hand it in, and you are done," said Parent Caroline Hecmanczuk.

Caroline Hecmanczuk has no worries. Her sixth-grader has all the shots required.

The health department on Rose Hill drive will be offering free shots for all students early Thursday morning to help parents out with the last minute rush to keep their child in class.

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