LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Wednesday is the first day of school for approximately 4,000 early childhood education students in JCPS -- but 1,100 have not turned in the required immunization forms and will not be allowed to attend class.

James Francis, director of early childhood education for Jefferson County Public Schools, said Kentucky law has always required proof of immunizations, but the district's previous policy was that had 10 days to turn the form in.

"Last November, the board changed the policy, requiring the immunization certificate to be turned in prior to the start of school," Francis said. "If they don’t have their immunization form on Wednesday, they won’t be able to attend class."

Francis said the district informed parents when they completed the early childhood application form of the new requirement and that they were also notified in writing. He said staff members have spent the past few weeks making phone calls.

"Many of these children have been assigned to buses, but the buses will be directed to not pick up the students if we don’t have the form on file," he said. "Parents can bring the form with them to the school on Wednesday, but they will have to find alternate transportation home for the first day because it takes 24 hours for us to update transportation."

Francis said the district changed its policy because his staff was spending an "inordinate amount of time chasing down these forms."

"Once they got into the seat, there was no urgency from a parent to get the form turned in and then we were out of compliance with state and federal requirements," Francis said. "So we decided to change the policy so there is shared responsibility. This gave us some time to help connect our families to the proper community organizations and help ensure that the majority of our students were able to get the immunizations done."

Francis said the district believes most of the families have had the children immunized, but if they have not, there is still time for the immunizations to get done on Tuesday. 

"They can go to the family doctor or call the health department," he said. 

Once they get the immunization form, they can bring it to their child's assigned school or the district's JCPS early childhood education application center at the Presbyterian Community Center, 701 S. Hancock Street.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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