CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking public input on updates to a state policy that sets guidelines for disease control in schools. Board members on Thursday voted to place Policy 2423: Communicable Disease Control on public comment for 30 days.
The changes would incorporate a new Bureau for Public Health Interpretive Rule requiring immunizations for seventh and 12 graders beginning the 2012-2013 school year. These requirements adopt the most current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The public health rule calls for seventh graders to receive a booster dose of Tdap vaccine and a dose of the meningococcal vaccine. High school seniors also must show proof of a single dose of Tdap and a booster dose of the meningococcal vaccine.
The Tdap shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough, a very contagious disease that can last for 10 weeks or more and is life-threatening in infants. The bacterial meningococcal vaccine prevents meningococcal meningitis, a swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal cord that is caused by a very serious bacterial infection that can become deadly in 48 hours or less.
The policy updates also clarify the process and responsibility of schools for disclosure of student information to public health officials in cases of suspected communicable disease outbreak. In addition, language was added to shift accountability of immunization records to public health, allowing local health departments to be the student immunization intake agencies and record keepers through the West Virginia Statewide Immunization Information System (WVSIIS).
Educators, parents and community members are encouraged to review the policy and make suggestions. The policy can be viewed on the West Virginia Department of Education website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies.
For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.