Ptacek agrees: measles exclusion date likely to be first day of school year

By Benjamin Cox on March 21, 2019 at 11:59am

The Jacksonville School District Superintendent was encouraged to support many ideas to improve educational opportunities for all students Wednesday.

During the Jacksonville School District Board of Education meeting, topics of discussion included the Immunization Exclusion Date recognized by the district and the policy regarding establishment of memorial scholarships.

Dale Bainter, Administrator of the Morgan County Health Department, spoke last night regarding thoughts about the District 117 policy of using the Immunization Exclusion Date that is provided by law in the state of Illinois and how it relates to a nationwide measles outbreak.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek offered a variety of points, including the idea that political fallout of moving the exclusion date earlier in the year – for all immunizations – would make this a more difficult decision.

However, Superintendent Ptacek details why the Immunization Exclusion Date will likely change for measles.

“I would predict that the district will move the exclusion date for measles up to the first day of the school year. Right now, the law in the state of Illinois says all vaccinations must be adhered to by the middle of October, but after Dale Bainter gave us tremendous input for the board about the concern with measles across the country. There’s such a severity that the impact could be one person that has measles immediately having a high chance of spreading measles to any other student that is not immunized. He’s correct, and I think the board is feeling very strongly that we need to move that date to the first day of the school. We do understand that some people won’t be ready at that point in time. But I can support the measles exclusion date moved up for two reasons: one, the safety of our students; and two, eliminating the possibility of having students missing school for as long as three weeks; these ideas more than warrant the date to be moved up.”

Another idea that was brought up last night was a new district policy regarding donations meant for memorial scholarships. Ptacek describes how the board has changed this policy.

“We’ve not had a policy that determines, if someone wants to offer a memorial scholarship named after someone who has passed, any guidelines or criteria. The naming committee met a couple weeks ago, comprised of community and district representatives, and they agreed – and the board has as well – to make a minimum required scholarship presentation commitment of 10 years, and for a minimum of $500 each year.”

In addition, the board approved a Sports Medicine Agreement with Springfield Clinic for a two year, full-time representative to serve at the high school, and certain other district sporting events. This will only cost the district $21,000, despite a part-time offer from Springfield Clinic being at $22,000.