SCS taking proactive measures against measles, unvaccinated chil - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCS taking proactive measures against measles, unvaccinated children

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

Parents of Shelby County school children recently received letters telling them about the measles outbreak in the county. 

It's also a way to make sure parents are educated about the measles.

Parents with students who have no vaccinations on record were sent this letter.

Parents with students who have one vaccination on record were sent this letter.

Students are all supposed to have two doses of the measles vaccination to attend school.

"I would rather my kids have the shot and be safe than not and end up with measles, where there is a shot they can take and they'll be immune," parent Amanda Bowlen said.

Bowlen is not alone. Shelby County Schools would prefer parents get their children vaccinated as well. Six measles cases have been reported in Shelby County. In the wake of the outbreak, SCS sent letters to parents letting them know about the outbreak, providing information about measles, and discussing the vaccine that is required to enroll in school.

"They have to regulate it because at the end of the day, you have more than one kid and some parents don't want to do it, because they feel it is their decision, but at the end of the day, you have to have some kind of regulation so everybody is safe and OK," parent Malika Phifer said.

SCS also mailed letters to parents whose children do not appear to have the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccination. Parents can fill out an exemption form if they are opposed to vaccines for religious, medical, or personal reasons. But, if a measles case arises at their child's school, that child will have to leave the school for 21 days of quarantine as recommended by the health department.

Some parents voiced concerns that missing days could cause students to be counted as truant and possibly force them to fail classes. SCS issued the following response to that concern:

Under no circumstances are students being suspended for not having complete vaccination records. Any absences as a result of this situation will be excused with proof of vaccines during the time missed. We regret any inconvenience, and of course any loss of instructional time. We just want to take every precaution possible to ensure the health and safety of our students.

"I do know that my sister has a five-month-old son who as at the doctor's office," parent Jack Irvine said. "He was exposed and he is now in quarantine. I think everybody needs to be vaccinated."

Children typically receive their first MMR vaccination when they are around 1 year old. So far, no measles cases have been reported at Shelby County Schools, and the system said it wants to keep it that way.

Shelby County Schools are working to review all student records and make sure they are updated. SCS said that can be challenging because of the highly mobile population in the school system.

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