Several Long Island students found themselves separated from their classmates Monday after they were unable to provide paperwork proving they had received state required vaccinations.
Almost a dozen students from North Babylon High School were unable to enter their school, while students from Selden Middle School were taught in different classrooms as a result of a vaccination audit conducted by the New York Health Department.
Approximately 150 schools get audited annually and several factors determine which schools gets audited, Health Department Jeffery Hammond told PIX 11 News.
Along with school surveillance and random selection, the health department bases its decision on community information and geography to represent different areas, he said.
Before the 2010-11 school year commenced, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines sent a notice to all students, urging them to get vaccinated.
"Getting immunized is critical to protect the health of our families and our communities and to prevent serious disease," Daines said in the August 2010 memo.
Certain immunizations are required and recommended for children ages 6 months through 18 years of age in order to attend school, according the health department. The goal of the audit to make sure students are complying to the law, Hammond said. If a student is not vaccinated, the school district could be fined up to $2,000 per student.
North Babylon High School notified their 181 students who lacked the vaccination paperwork after being informed about the audit in October, Newsday reported.
The high school originally sent 56 students home on Jan. 5, and 12 were not allowed to enter their classes Monday. The students will only be allowed to return to school once they provide updated paperwork showing they have been vaccinated, officials said.
Instead of turning away their 11 students, Middle Country Central School District's Selden Middle School relocated them in a different classroom. The school first received notification of the audit in December.
While the law states that all students must be properly vaccinated, there are certain exemptions that apply.
"[Students] can get exempted for either a medical reason or a religious reason," Hammond told PIX 11 News. He also pointed out that vaccinations are most effective when everyone gets vaccinated.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun