There is no grace period anymore for Rockford Public School children. Administrators say if your child does not meet health requirements they will be sent home. The school board actually put this change in place earlier this year. But the push is on to make sure parents get the physicals and immunizations done since school starts in little more than a month.
"We ask that you keep your child home until the physical exam and any accompanying immunizations are completed," says Mary Fischer, Rockford Schools, health services supervisor.
That's what parents of kindergartners, 6th and 9th graders plus anyone new to the district will hear on the first day of school. That's if their children have not gotten the state required health exams. For 9th graders that means vaccines and a physical. The same for 6th graders but they also need a dental exam. And kindergartners need all those plus an eye exam. In the past, The district gave parents a few months into the school year before it sent children home.
"What we discovered on October 15th is that we were turning children away who did not meet the requirements and it happened to be in the middle of a semester which is particularly hard for the secondary students," says Fischer.
But the school district is offering help to get those physicals and immunizations. The Rockford Health System Ronald McDonald mobile care unit is already seeing students outside Haskell School for required physical and dental exams. A nurse at the mobile care unit says the dental work needed can sometimes be so bad kids need to go to the hospital.
"We do see the kids who quite often have a whole mouth full of cavities and we see that on quite a regular basis and the kids need to be taken to the OR because they have such a great need," says Toni Ellingson, registered nurse.
The mobile care unit will also be at the Rockford School District headquarters in August. Parents are encouraged to call 971-5800 and schedule an appointment.
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