Greetings, AMS community:
First, I'd like to thank all of you who worked so closely in cooperation with us to help stem the spread of Pertussis at our school. We’ve had no new positive cases since our last update. Furthermore, many parents with children exhibiting the slightest of symptoms have taken their child to be tested and received confirmation of negative results. Being able to work together openly in times of need is the hallmark of a strong partnership and a healthy community. This incident also provides us occasion to clearly inform everyone of the school's vaccination policy and exemption rates.
Austin Montessori School strongly encourages families to have their children immunized in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov). As a matter of policy, the school complies with Texas state law stipulating that families have the right to opt out of vaccinations for conscientious or religious reasons. In order to opt out, a family must follow Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) procedures to request and file with the school a state-issued affidavit claiming the immunization exemption; the exemption is valid for two years. As a matter of policy and practice, Austin Montessori School requires families to keep updated immunization or exemption records with the school. The school is required to submit updated immunization data to the state health department annually.
AMS Exemption Rates
The number of vaccination exemptions on file is not an accurate indication of the vaccination rates at the school. Some families choose to submit an exemption form even if their children are receiving immunizations. Some children may be on a different vaccination schedule than the CDC and state recommend, requiring an exemption submission in order for the school to be in compliance. Or, families may opt out of some vaccines and not others, leading to an exemption submission. Moving forward we will be requesting that all families who submit an Affidavit of Exemption also provide us with any immunization records they have for their child(ren). This will allow us to have the most complete data possible and give us a clearer picture of our overall vaccination coverage. In order to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, listed below are the AMS vaccination exemption rates for the whole school, broken down by the recommended vaccinations.
Tdap - 6%
Polio - 7%
Hep B - 10%
MMR - 9%
Varicella - 9%
Hep A - 10%
PCV (0-6 only) - 7%
HIB (0-6 only) - 2%
MCV (7th grade only) - 17%
As of May 10, there have been 839 cases of measles reported in the United States (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html ) — the highest number of annual cases reported in 25 years. In Texas, there have been 15 cases of measles reported since the start of the year, according to the Texas DSHS (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm). While no confirmed cases exist here in Austin, Travis County has been identified as one of 25 “high risk” counties for a measles outbreak in the United States (https://www.kut.org/post/travis-county-one-most-risk-counties-measles-outbreak-study-finds). Per Texas DSHS requirements, should a case of measles be confirmed at AMS, all families with an exemption on file will be required to keep their children out of school for the entirety of the incubation period of the illness (10-12 days) or longer, until the school can confirm the threat of the contagion has been eradicated.
The school is working closely with our local and state health departments to review our drafted Pandemic and Communicable Disease policy in order to ensure best practices in protecting the health and safety of our community. We will send out a copy of the published policy when this process concludes. As always, the well-being of our children and families is our primary concern and responsibility. Thank you for working in partnership with us to ensure the health and safety of all. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
Head of School
Thursday, May 23
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
5002 Sunset Trail backyard (newly acquired house between the two parking lots)
Hello AMS Community,
The AMS Parents Association invites you to join in helping us host our first ever Swap Event! It will be held in the backyard of 5002 Sunset Trail on Thursday, May 23, from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. To prepare for this event we will first collect gently used items in the following categories. We ask that all items are Montessori friendly, clean, and in good condition to pass on to another family.
Items may be dropped off from May 13th through May 22nd. They can be left in the newly acquired building at 5002 Sunset Trail, next door to the South campus’ main office. There is a door on the front of 5002 that leads into what was originally a garage. This door will remain unlocked during the school’s business hours of 8 am to 5 pm. Please place your items in this room under the sign that says “Items to be sorted.”
All items at the Swap are free. You do not need to donate items in order to take items. After the event, all unclaimed items will be donated to local charity groups such as United Way, Safe Place, Austin’s Children’s Shelter, etc.
If you have any questions about items you are considering donating to the swap, or if you are interested in helping with the Swap Event, please contact Blythe Crow at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will need help sorting items on May 21st & 22nd, and help with the event on the 23rd.
AMS Parents Association
A child who attends the elementary program at our south campus has been diagnosed with Pertussis (whooping cough). The Health Authority of the City of Austin and Travis County has directed our school to share the information in the attached documents. The information below is from the CDC. Please read all of the information and notify the school immediately if your child is diagnosed with Pertussis.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways, and it can easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis can cause a severe cough that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for babies and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially siblings and parents, can spread pertussis to babies.
1. If your child has a cough:
2. If your child has a weakened immune system, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics to your child as soon as possible to prevent pertussis. Doctors should give antibiotics to a child with a weakened immune system if they may have been exposed to pertussis, even if he or she is not coughing.
3. If your child lives with any of the following people, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics as soon as possible to your child, even if he or she is not coughing:
5. If your child’s doctor says your child does NOT have pertussis:
Director of Operations