Immunization Review for Schools

Step Description

1.Train school and childcare support staff.

Staff training is important to ensure all immunization information is collected and maintained in the same way.

Staff should be trained on the number of doses required of each type of vaccine for childcare/pre-school/school entry. Intervals can be complicated, but it will save follow-up hours with parents later if staff know immunization intervals and invalid doses information. Immunization schedules and easy to read vaccine requirement charts from the Washington State Department of Health can help aid in training.

The Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) overlay can help with training. This document can be printed on a transparency sheet and then laid over a CIS to ensure dates are provided in the highlighted areas – the transparency file can be found here. Entry requirements can be found here.

2. Educate parents who are already in your district.

Kindergarten entry – A district may have groups that will automatically be entering into kindergarten such as Head Start/Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) or pre-school groups. Talking with these parents prior to school helps ensure you are collecting and maintaining immunizations consistently. Cover the topics below with these parents through an in-person meeting.

Before 6th grade – Before school is out every year, send letters home to current parents of 5th grade students letting them know about the Tdap vaccination required for 6th grade school entry. Most staff utilize this mailing to inform parents of the meningococcal and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine recommendations, as required by law. Example letters can be found here.

It is also beneficial for staff/volunteers to attend 6th grade orientation and remind parents about the requirement.

Some school districts find it helpful to not assign the student a class schedule until the immunization record is updated.

All grades – Before school is out every year, send letters home to parents that include a back-to-school list that includes immunization information, including required immunizations for school entry.

Have registration packets available for parents prior to school registration. This will help some parents fill out the CIS in advance of attending a registration event—saving you (and the parent) time.

3. Verify immunization at registration event and cross-reference the Washington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS).

Whether you have a registration event or not, the best time to ensure immunizations are current and accurate is while you have the parent in front of you. Although it may seem time consuming, it is an important step to ensuring childcare attendees and students have the appropriate immunizations prior to starting. As indicated in step 1, having staff trained to interpret if the child or student has the needed immunizations is critical. Refer to step 1 for training resources.

During any kind of registration event, make a computer and printing station available and print completed CIS forms out of the Washington Immunization Information System (WAIIS) for parents to sign and turn in with registration documents. This will allow the parent to add any immunization that may not be on the CIS from the WAIIS and can minimize mistakes when copying dates onto the CIS.

Another practice found to be beneficial for school districts during the registration process is to hold immunization clinics to enable same-day student vaccinations. School districts that have done this successfully worked with partners in the community such as local health departments and/or their Medical Reserve Corps to offer free or low-cost immunizations. See the Imms-To-Go toolkit for more information.

4. Create student profile in Student Information System (SIS).

In many school districts there is a time delay between when the student registers and when they are entered into the Student Information System (SIS).

In order to run reports to find students who registered and are not compliant, the initial data entry is required. The sooner this data is entered the more time school staff have to get students up-to-date before school starts.

5. Call parents of students with missing immunization information.

Before school starts, school staff should generate an out-of-compliance report or refer to their tracking sheet, and start calling parents to get updated immunization informationsome school districts allow school nurses or secretarial staff to start half-days before school begins. These staff can then take a full day off during the year by combining it with a naturally-occurring school half day. Other possibilities are to recruit other staff to help, such as detention staff, parent advocates and health clerks, who may not be as busy before school starts.

Keep trying parents. Many times parents are just busy and need reminders.

Find sample phone call scripts here. As records are provided to the school from parents, ensure these updates are added to the SIS.