Students lacking shots sent home Count is not known, but school officials see improvement over '95

'A smooth opening'

Staggered first days continue for some through tomorrow

August 27, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Dennis O'Brien, Dan Thanh Dang and Ellen Gamerman contributed to this article.

A few Anne Arundel County parents sent their children to school yesterday with their first assignment -- immunizations -- incomplete. School officials promptly sent them home.

Jane Doyle, a school spokeswoman, said officials did not have a complete count of the number of students sent home yesterday, but they knew Friday that 2,000 students had not been properly immunized or did not have the documentation.

That is an improvement over last year, when 5,600 students showed up on the first day without immunization records, Doyle said.

School officials announced this summer that they would no longer allow a 20-day grace period after the start of school to allow students time to be immunized.

"The trend this week, hopefully it's going to be down to zero," Doyle said.

Meanwhile, county health clinics, such as the one in Parole, were busy yesterday morning handling the students not allowed to stay in school without their shots, said Gene Saderholm, program manager for school health services.

"We think we're doing really well," she said.

The parents of a few students who were called to pick up their children were able to have them immunized and get them back to school in time to finish the first day, Doyle said.

The improved pace of immunizations was one sign of a smooth opening day, Superintendent Carol S. Parham said.

Parham observed at Crofton Middle, Annapolis Middle, South Shore Elementary and Eastport Elementary schools yesterday.

"I would hope that a smooth opening just is a predictor of a smooth school year," she said. "Judging from today, I'm looking forward to the school year, and I believe it's going to be a great one."

Most of the county's 73,516 students went back to the classroom yesterday.

Students in the seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades return today.

Students at Broadneck Senior High, Severn River Junior, Magothy Middle and Park Elementary, schools which moved this summer, will start tomorrow.

Crofton Elementary School is making do with one portable classroom this year, instead of the two portables parents say the school needs.

Crowded classrooms have become a major concern in Crofton, where residential growth has sent enrollment soaring, said Torrey Jacobsen, treasurer of the Greater Crofton Council and the father of a fourth-grader at the school.

"The main concern is that the quality of education goes down as the classrooms get more crowded," he said.

Crofton Elementary has a capacity of 464 students, but its population is expected to reach 553 this fall, school officials said.

For 225 South Shore Elementary students, yesterday was the first day of their last year in Annapolis Middle School on Forest Drive.

For two years, the Crownsville school has shared space with Annapolis Middle during the construction of a new South Shore on Fairfield Loop Road.

"When we first got here, it took a while to get used to the longer bus ride," said Tonie Domino, a 10-year-old fifth grader. "It used to take 10 minutes; now it takes 30 to 40 minutes. It will be nice to get our school back."

Construction also has displaced Broadneck Senior High School this school year, and teachers and administrators have tried to make the best of their temporary quarters at Severn River Junior High School.

At Van Bokkelen Elementary in Severn, Principal Rose Tasker presided over the first day of a crucial school year at the school that in February was targeted for potential state takeover because of low scores on standardized tests.

Yesterday, Tasker was pleased to see one component for success -- parent participation.

At least 30 parents came to school with their children and waited with them to receive their class assignments.

"Please stay involved with the school," Tasker told the parents. "I need you. Call us, come up and see us, go into the classrooms, help us to help them be successful."

Pub Date: 8/27/96

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