Oregon school districts prep for Exclusion Day: 'We want all the students vaccinated'

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Exclusion day in Oregon is just around the corner, which means many students will need to visit a physician to be up-to-date on vaccinations.

Students who aren't current with immunizations could be forced to stay home from school starting February 21.

“If a person doesn't have their immunization records up-to-date with us, then we have to call their parents and say they can’t be in school. That's heartbreaking,” Salem-Keizer School District Assistant Superintendent Kelly Carlisle said.

The Salem-Keizer School District doesn't like the thought of any child being excluded, which is why they offered in-school health clinics.

“If we can help mitigate that by bringing the vaccinations to the school campus then that's a good thing,” Carlisle said.

Marisol Amayo, a sophomore at McKay High School, got one of her shots on Wednesday to make sure she could keep attending school. Marisol is an aspiring doctor, so she says missing school is not an option.

“I think it’s better because I can stay in school and don't have to miss any classes,” Marisol said.

According to Oregon State law, if a student is not up-to-date on their shots come February 21st, they will not be allowed back at school for their own safety.

“We want all the students to be vaccinated so that everyone is protected, not just who is being vaccinated,” school nurse Cindy Hoffert said.

Cindy Hoffert is a school nurse, she says vaccinations can mean the difference between life and death.

“It’s important so they don't die. We don't give immunizations for diseases that aren't proven to have fatalities,” Hoffert said.

All county health departments have information on the vaccinations each age group must get. They can also direct parents to where their students can get vaccinated for little to no cost.

State law allows parents to exempt their students from certain vaccinations for both religious and personal beliefs.

Multnomah County Health will be holding three vaccination clinics in the month leading up to exclusion day, February 21.

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