Ketchikan’s school board will discuss a proposal to tighten vaccination requirements Wednesday evening.
“It’s aligned with the state standards,” said acting board president Bridget Mattson in a Tuesday phone interview.
The proposed changes would increase the documentation required for parents to allow their children to attend school without state-mandated vaccinations. Parents and guardians can currently provide a signed letter affirming that vaccinations violate their personal beliefs.
In the draft proposal, the district would require notarized letters that cite a specific church or denomination.
The proposal also clarifies who can issue medical vaccine exemptions: if passed, only doctors, nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants could sign vaccination exemption letters. District policy currently allows parents to list medical exemptions on behalf of their own child.
The proposal is listed as a discussion item, so it’s unlikely that the board will take action on it Wednesday. Board policy changes frequently come up for discussion before they’re formally introduced at a future meeting.
In other business, Board President Bridget Mattson and the five other members of the school board will review an active shooter training course for Ketchikan’s student body.
“The board has already approved, and we’ve been doing training for admin, and now for teachers, and so we already have this curriculum, and the board is just approving the curriculum for the students,” Mattson said.
The board will also consider whether to renew the Tribal Scholars program for another year. That’s a small-group alternative school located at Ketchikan Indian Community’s offices. As part of the program, the district provides math and social studies teachers who split time between their school and the Tribal Scholars program. For its part, Ketchikan’s federally-recognized tribe provides teachers for Alaska Native art and language classes in district schools.
The Board of Education meeting starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Ketchikan’s White Cliff building.