Rapid City school officials react to New York bill ending certain vaccine exemptions

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The choice to not vaccinate children continues to be a hot button issue.

A vaccine injection in Rapid City. (KOTA TV)

And in June, the governor of New York signed a bill ending vaccination exemptions based on religious beliefs.

But, local school officials do not see similar laws coming here any time soon.

Unless children have a medical or religious waiver, students in the Rapid City Area School District must receive vaccinations before the first day of school.

Last year, around 250 children were not vaccinated out of 13,800 students in the district.

With measles outbreaks in nearly 30 states, some parents worry about their children's health.

One staff member said they don't have any protocols if the district experiences an outbreak, but they would look to the South Dakota Department of Health for guidance.

"What is it that our board of education and Dr. Simon, our superintendent, would have to consider? I think all options are still on the table, but we also want to be sensitive to our community and our children and the individuals that would be impacted by that," Dr. Greg Gaden says, the director of special services for Rapid City Area Schools.

Dr. Gaden says new this school year, the Department of Health requires RCAS to update the vaccine waivers of sixth graders, transfer students, and new students.