Riverhead parents and community members wearing white flooded a school board meeting in September, requesting that the district support them in obtaining an emergency injunction to allow unvaccinated children to remain in local schools despite a state-imposed vaccine mandate.
Earlier this year, amid one of the worst measles outbreaks since 1992, New York State tightened regulations on school vaccinations requirements and ended non-medical exemptions. Children with non-medical exemptions, the new rules stated, must be vaccinated to attend or remain in public schools and day care services. Students with a valid medical exemption from a physician were permitted to remain in school.
In November, the Riverhead News-Review reported that approximately 31 Riverhead Central School District students who did not meet state immunization standards were being home-schooled.
Discussions about immunization laws persist in Riverhead Town as a recent proposed bill in Albany could require children to obtain the human papilloma virus vaccine to attend public school or day care.
That bill, currently under review by the state Senate, would require all children born after Jan. 1, 2009, to obtain a dose of immunizing agents against HPV. If approved, it could take effect Sept. 1, 2021.
The Shoreham-Wading River Central School District Board of Education has urged elected officials to oppose the HPV amendment.
A Nov. 26 letter from the school board to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials said school board members were opposed to enacting any health bill, including the HPV proposal, that mandates vaccination against viruses that are not transmitted in schools.
Photo caption: Aquebogue Elementary School teacher Keri Stromski (left) and Kristen Kramer lift Ms. Kramer’s son to the microphone at a Riverhead school board meeting. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski/file)