Santa Fe Public Schools to ban kids without measles vaccine

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SANTA FE (KRQE) – The measles outbreak surrounding New Mexico has a school district putting its foot down when it comes to unvaccinated kids.

As with any issue, not everyone is happy about it.

“We want to make sure we’re doing our part to keep our kids safe,” Steven Carrillo, the Santa Fe Public Schools Board President said Friday.

The Santa Fe public school district is laying down the law – vaccinate your kids or they can’t come to school.

“This is not about the district taking a stand on whether or not children should be vaccinated, it’s about the district taking a stand to be compliant with the law,” Carrillo said of the decision.

Under state law is, a child must have those vaccination records on hand or a waiver for medical or religious reasons.

Carrillo says the crackdown comes after they went back and looked over their records in the midst of the measles outbreak spreading across the country, hitting New Mexico’s neighboring states and found some students have slipped through the cracks.

“It doesn’t get overlooked,” Carrillo urged. “Nurses call parents all the time and say look we don’t have this record, we’re missing this from your children’s file.”

To let parents know how serious they are, a letter was set out Tuesday to families lacking the requirements.

If they aren’t met come February 17th, kids won’t be allowed back in school.

“We’re going to ask the parent to take the child home until such time that they’re in compliance.”

It’s unclear just how many students in the district would be affected.\

The idea has parents speaking out on both sides.

“You don’t know how bad this virus can get and it’s free choice if you don’t want to vaccinate, but you’ve got to live with not being able to come to school,” Gary Flores said.

“I think that we all have the right to either get the immunizations on our children or to not,” Lindsay Connell said. “I think it’s a parent’s choice.”

At Albuquerque Public Schools, officials said the district goes over health records every day to make sure all students are vaccinated or have their waivers and will reach out to anyone who might not.

If they don’t hear back, it’s then up to the principal to decide if that student should stay home. Officials say it has happened before.

Santa Fe, Taos and Los Alamos counties rank highest in vaccine exemptions in the state.

Los Alamos Public Schools says the district will continue to monitor things but aren’t making drastic changes.

KRQE News 13 didn’t hear back from Taos Municipal Schools.

As for charter schools across the state, they follow the same vaccination rules.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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