Langley school district plans to keep a list of unvaccinated children

New policy doesn’t require vaccinations but tracks children who don’t get immunized

The Langley School District has approved a policy that will keep a confidential list of students who have not been immunized.

The proposal was quickly passed without debate at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

School board vice-chair Megan Dykeman, who chairs the committee that developed the policy, said it was a response to “questions that have arisen about vaccination as a whole.”

While there have been plenty of reports that the number of unvaccinated children in schools has grown to the point where it impairs so-called “herd immunity” (which describes when enough people in a given group are vaccinated against a certain disease, that germs can’t travel as easily from person to person and the entire community is less likely to get the disease), Dykeman said it isn’t clear what the situation in Langley is.

“(Right now) there’s no way for us to tell if that’s true or not.”

In 2016, a study by the University of B.C. found most schools within the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority don’t have immunization rates of 90 per cent, which is generally needed for herd immunity.

READ MORE: ‘Fraser Health’ website linked to anti-vaccine site

In the U.S., Oregon has banned unvaccinated children from attending school and state health authorities were sending written warnings to parents if their children were behind on vaccinations for whooping cough, polio, chicken pox, and measles.

Dykeman said that keeping un-immunized children from attending school was simply not an option.

“They’re going to come to school,” Dykeman said.

“We can’t have a policy on the books that we can’t enforce.”

The final wording of the policy slightly softens the language of the first-draft version, saying that the school board “requests” rather than “requires” parents and guardians provide proof of immunization records of their children upon registration in the Langley School District.

The policy directs school staff to keep a list of children who have not been immunized “in a secure file in the school office to only be accessed should there be the threat of an outbreak or a confirmed case of a communicable disease within the school community.”

During an outbreak, parents or guardians of students who have not been immunized will be allowed to “choose to keep their children home until the risk is eliminated.”

If they do, “the school will make available an educational program for the child(ren) during this temporary time.”

According to school board records, the discussion of vaccination records and whether they should be required or mandatory began in September 2015 when an article was published in the Victoria News entitled “Mandatory Vaccination Records Urged for Schools”.

READ MORE: Mandatory vaccination records urged for schools

The article referred to a call by the provincial health officer, who added his voice to that of the Canadian Medical Association in calling for mandatory declaration of vaccination when children enrol at school, as was done in Ontario and New Brunswick.

A report was made to the board at a closed-door meeting on Jan. 26, 2016 and the matter was referred to the policy committee.

“It is important to note that the request (for vaccination records) would not (imply) that the Board of Education requires students to be vaccinated, but rather it be simply a request for formal records of any vaccinations received,” one report on the discussions noted.

The Wikipedia entry on “vaccine controversies” notes that “vaccine controversies have occurred since almost 80 years before the terms vaccine and vaccination were introduced, and continue to this day. Despite scientific consensus that recommended vaccines are safe and effective, unsubstantiated scares regarding their safety still occur, resulting in outbreaks and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Honda driver may be key witness to Langley crash: RCMP

Police are hoping to find the driver of what appears to be a grey Honda Civic

VIDEO: Police watchdog recommends charges against off-duty officer involved in Langley crash

An off-duty officer was involved in a Langley crash last year that sent a motorcyclist to hospital

Downtown Langley eateries pull together to feed hospital staff

Business association makes contribution aimed at helping hospital and restaurants

VIDEO: How a Langley small business owner ended up working six months for free

Take a close look and get references before you sign a contract, she advises other business owners

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Most Read