The Socorro Consolidated School District may have to disenroll over 60 kids in January because they are not caught up on their immunizations.
Originally, the district started with 300 students who were not up to date with immunizations, Assistant Superintendent Denise Canon told school board members at their December meeting. Now, both Midway and San Antonio schools’ students are caught up, while 12 middle school, 26 high school and 26 Parkview Elementary students could be disenrolled in January.
If the students can bring in proof of immunization or proof of an appointment to get their vaccinations, they will not be disenrolled.
State statute requires the immunizations to be up to date, and principals will have their licenses revoked if they do not have their students comply or disenrolled, said Canon. The immunization policy has existed for at least five years, but the New Mexico Public Education Department ignored it during the last several years because of the pandemic, said Sarracino principal Holly Mayfield.
“This is a state requirement that, unfortunately we have parents that are not,” said Mayfield. “We have done robocalls. We have done personal calls.”
The school nurse has sent emails, and the principal has met with parents over the last two months to address the issue.
“I’m terrified of disenrolling eight percent of the population, five percent of the population, and what do we do at that point?” said school board member Tara Jaramillo. “My assumption is they will at some point get their vaccinations, or what do we do with them?”
Jaramillo asked if home visits could also be made in an effort to keep students enrolled. Canon suggested the Project Aware navigator could help make home visits. The Coordinated Community Response person based at the high school could also be utilized to talk with families.
“There is a mechanism if you choose not to be vaccinated and that’s a legal mechanism. They can sign that or get vaccinated,” said Jaramillo. “But if we’re losing 64 children on January 1, fiscally what does that do to the district? Socially what does that do to our community with high school, middle school and Parkview children not attending school? At some point they’re going to enter back into our system.”
Mayfield said just a few of the students might get visits from the Children, Youth and Families Department, because they’ve been informed of the waiver to exempt them from getting vaccinated and given copies of the waiver, but the parents have stopped sending their students to school without disenrolling them.
“So, we’re running into two different problems, one with immunizations and one with 10 consecutive absences,” said Mayfield.
Consecutive absences withdrawals always include a visit from CYFD, said Mayfield.