OGDEN — Teachers and day care staff in Weber and Morgan counties will be required to provide documentation that they have received the immunizations recommended for adults, starting fall 2020.
Teachers may also provide an exemption form declaring that they have chosen not to receive immunizations, said MaryLou Adams, nursing director for Weber-Morgan Health Department.
Members of the Weber-Morgan Board of Health voted unanimously in favor of the new requirement at their meeting Monday.
No one attended the public hearing on the regulation that was held Sept. 16 at the health department. The department did not receive any oral or written comments on the regulation in response to public announcements, Adams told the board.
“It’s been a rule for the children for many years,” Adams said, “and so we just thought it would be a good idea to have ... all staff for the school districts plus the day cares (document immunizations) ... so that we can determine ... during the course of (a potential disease) outbreak, who is it that shouldn’t be at school. And that protects (teachers) also. It doesn’t just make it so that (teachers) won’t pass it on to kids if they happen to get the disease, but so that the kids won’t pass it to them.”
Prior to this vote, immunizations had been recommended for teachers, but documentation was not required, Adams said.
“Now, where it’s required, it’s just going to be easier for everybody’s records to be accessed,” Adams said, “and to make those kinds of decisions that need to be made quickly during an outbreak.”
Districts will determine whether to keep documentation on file or require teachers to maintain their own up-to-date documentation, Adams said.
The health department is aiming for a “soft transition,” Adams said. Right now, staff are working with schools to spread awareness of the new requirement and let teachers know how they can access records or get necessary immunizations. This outreach will prepare teachers and staff for fall 2020, when the requirement will go into effect.
If there are large enough numbers of teachers in a particular school or district who needed immunizations, Adams said that the department would definitely consider holding immunization clinics at schools or district offices.
The department does offer vaccines at a discounted cost for individuals who are unable to pay for them or who lack insurance.
“We can evaluate each individual case, and if they need it to stay in school and to stay working, then it’s a judgment call, and we’ll try and do everything we can to get everybody taken care of without having it strap their financial situation,” Adams said.
The full language of the new Weber-Morgan health regulation is not yet available, but will be posted on the Weber-Morgan Health Department website, Adams said.
Salt Lake County adopted a similar requirement in June 2016, though the regulation does not include day care workers.
Davis County does not require teachers to be immunized, but the department has been in discussions with Davis School District to develop an immunization plan for school employees, said Rob Nunn, public information officer with the Davis County Health Department.
“Our office is looking to move to that direction,” Nunn said. “It’s a matter of ... working with (Davis School District) to see how the plan should work for them.”