Changes Coming for Students Across Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - This month the new immunization requirements for the 2014-2015 school year were released by the Arkansas Department of Health.  Among the changes, a Hepatitis A vaccine for kindergarten and first grade students, and 11-year-olds must have a Tdap shot to protect against the whooping cough.  

"This is going to effect a lot of our students, and so it is a major effort that we are going to need to get it out to everybody," said Deb Rousch from the Pulaski County Special School District.

"I think they do need it because there are so many other diseases that are coming out now and pretty much toppling over everything else we are given our children shots for," said Susie Nesby, mother of four.

Mother Charlotte Dickerson agreed, "I think that if the children need it then they should have it."

While parents seem to be okay with the new requirements, not many of them new about the changes, and that is where schools are having issues.  The PCSSD is focusing on all avenues to get the word out.

"So it keeps all of our students safe and healthy, it's just our job to get that message out, because this is where the students are, they're in school, that makes it our job to let them know that they need to have this or come October 1st, they won't be able to be in those classrooms," said Rousch.

The new requirements start September 1st, parents have 30 days to get students vaccinated or they will be asked to leave school. 

Malinda Lewis, school nurse at Fuller Middle School, said it may seem harsh, but these changes are necessary and are not as difficult to make as it sounds. 

"No I don't think this is impossible."

"Our objective isn't for you to miss school, it's just to get the safety."

These changes are in effect for all students in the Natural State.

Click here for the release from the Department of Health. 

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