Testimony of Eileen Duffey to the Board of Education, May 30, 2019

I have addressed this board several times about immunizations amid outbreaks of immunization preventable disease. I have exhausted every avenue to communicate the need for a clear policy which this district is willing to enforce.

Yet, in response to my appeal to the policy committee on May 16th Karyn Lynch, the Chief of Student Supports, created a parent letter without the knowledge of our own school health department, disregarding the policies of the Health Department, and Pennsylvania school health laws. Her newest letter states that students “can be prevented”, not WILL BE PREVENTED from attending school without immunizations.

This bypassing of established communication channels has resulted in yet another debacle of leadership sure to cripple the efforts of the school nurses to improve immunization compliance in September.

Principals, not Ms. Lynch, are legally required to ensure their students’ parents comply with immunization law. They can be fined $200 a day for each day for every student who is non-compliant.

Principals deserve to receive information that is vetted by persons with appropriate medical authority.

No doubt, when they were asked to distribute an immunization letter, they assumed it had been cleared by school health.

Yet it hadn’t.

In a healthy organization, respect is given to those whose authority rests in their credentials.

Hence, as a school nurse, I don’t get to walk in a classroom and pose as a calculus teacher.

I am asking this board to exercise your oversight responsibility to require medical and nursing experts at 440 have the last say on issues in which they alone are trained.

This request doesn’t cost a dime. It will have the effect of having accountability for the health of our students placed with the appropriate school professionals and it will result in better immunization rates to protect our students.

I remind each of you on this board, if you do nothing in response to my concerns, just what rationale do you plan to give to a parent whose child dies as a result of an immunization preventable disease?

The views I am expressing are my own. Let the record be clear that no one should suffer retribution for my testimony.

Thank you.