CARSON CITY — A panel of state lawmakers expressed skepticism Friday over the need for a bill to require schools and child care facilities to notify parents if a child enrolls who has not been vaccinated.
State Sen. Joe Hardy, a Boulder City Republican and physician, quickly acknowledged concerns with the proposal when he presented Assembly Bill 200 to the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services, and said amendments would be offered.
Under state law, children must be vaccinated from certain communicable diseases, such as mumps, rubella and chickenpox, unless they are exempted for religious or medical reasons.
The bill would allow parents to request notification should an unvaccinated child enroll. Hardy said the intent was to protect children with weak immune systems who are at greater risk of contracting a disease, and give their parents information they need to make a decision on whether to enroll their children.
But Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, who is also a physician, said the bill as written could have unintended consequences and compromise privacy of heath information, particularly in small schools where a new student is easily identified.
“I’m not sure a bill like this is needed,” Titus said. She and others noted that children are likely to encounter unvaccinated people all the time, not just in schools.
The Clark County School District proposed an amendment requiring districts at the start of each school year to notify parents that they can request information on whether anyone there is unvaccinated.
“We see it as a yes or no answer,” said Nicole Rourke with the Clark County School District.
The proposed amendment also says a district must not disclose the name of a pupil or any identifying information.
Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada, said schools self-report vaccination rates each year.
Assemblyman William McCurdy II, D-Las Vegas, also expressed concern the bill’s notification provisions could extend to alerting parents when a teacher or staff member falls ill with a virus or other ailment.
“Are we going to allow parents to have that information?” he asked.
No action on the bill was taken by the committee.
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