After about 400 Beaufort County seventh-graders were sent home on the first day of school because they lacked proof of a required vaccination, 14 students still did not have the shot Monday, according to district officials.
Those students have not been allowed to enroll in school unless they can prove they have received a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, said Gregory McCord, the Beaufort County School District's head of student services.
A state law that took effect last school year requires all seventh-graders to have the booster, also called Tdap, before returning to school in August.
"Having fewer than 30 outstanding students in under a week is remarkable, I think," McCord said Monday. "We are just happy and fortunate to have so many go out and get those required vaccinations over the last week to get back in to the classroom."
And compared to last school year, the Beaufort County School District is in much better shape.
About 800 students would've been sent home last year had the district not requested a 30-day extension for those families. Even with extra time, about 20 students still had to be sent home when those extensions expired.
McCord credits the increased efforts from the schools and local health agencies in helping students get the shot last week. He said the schools made daily calls and reminders to students who still had not turned in the forms, informing them where they could receive the vaccine. He added that many local clinics also recently brought in large quantities of the vaccine to be prepared for an influx of students.
Because students could not enroll until providing documentation of the shots, any days missed do not count as absences, McCord said. The students also cannot be required to make up work from the days they were not allowed in the classroom, he said.
However, McCord said the schools will help the students catch up with their classes once they are allowed to enroll.
"You can't ever get back the first week, no question about that," he said. "But I think our middle schools are prepared to assist students when they enroll and to have tutorials and resources to help them transition smoothly into the classroom and lessons."
The district will continue to work with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer vaccination clinics for sixth-graders in the spring, if possible, McCord said.
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- Almost 300 students without Tdap vaccine sent home on first day of school, August 18, 2014
- Compliance better, but not all Beaufort County 7th-graders meet vaccine requirement, July 19, 2014
- Most Beaufort County seventh-graders meet Tdap vaccine deadline, September 20, 2013
- 350 Beaufort County 7th-graders need vaccine to stay in school, September 10, 2013
- Beaufort County seventh-graders way behind on new vaccine rule, nurse says, July 31, 2013