Newfane Central School District's enrollment is down 22 students this year and Superintendent Michael Baumann noted that at least six students are no longer in the district because of their lack of required immunizations.
Earlier this year, New York State ended the ability of families to claim a religious exemption on vaccination requirements, effective with the 2019-2020 school year. According to data from the New York State Health Foundation, an estimated 155 students among the 29,198 students in Niagara County claimed the religious exemption for vaccinations in the 2017-2018 school year.
Baumann said a total of 134 seniors graduated in June and the 2019-2020 kindergarten class has 99 students, which amounts to a decrease of 22 students. This brings the district's total enrollment to 1,354 students.
He noted that currently he is aware of at least four families, with at least six students among them, that have decided to leave the school district because they can no longer claim the religious exemption on vaccinations. He added that district nurses are currently monitoring another 15 students who are lacking some immunizations.
School trustee Ann Kennedy asked whether the district would fund the immunizations. Baumann said that would be something funded through Medicaid.
Newfane Elementary enrollment increased to 445 students this year from 432. Newfane Middle School enrollment decreased to 398 students from 411. Newfane High School enrollment decreased to 511 students from 533 students.
Unvaccinated students have 14 days from the first day of school, which was Tuesday in the Newfane district, to prove they have received the first dose of each required immunization, according to the Associated Press.