Health, safety top priorities as fall classes resume in Perry schools

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Perry Police Department Officer Josh Sienkiewicz is settling into his new role as the Perry Community School District School Resource Officer. Sienkiewicz took up the SRO position at the start of the school year.

School started Wednesday in the Perry Community School District (PCSD), with the halls of Perry High School peopled this year by 605 students, the Perry Middle School enrolling 403 students and the Perry Elementary School attracting 795 youngsters.

Health is a priority in the school system, and PCSD Nurse Jenny Lansing said she was busy over the summer, getting word out to parents about the new regulation in Iowa requiring all seventh and 12th grade students to receive a meningitis vaccination before the start of the school year.

“I made numerous phone calls and messages throughout the summer,” Lansing said Friday. “It was a struggle. It was not an easy task, but I knew it had to be done, or it would not be easy for me the first day. Most parents were very receptive if I could get ahold of them.”

All 176 PHS seniors and all 113 PMS seventh graders have been vaccinated, Lansing said.

“Everybody’s square for today,” she said. “We are compliant with state law right now that they have all had at least one vaccination.”

The rule passed by the Iowa legislature in 2016 said students entering seventh grade and born after Sept. 15, 2004, would need proof of one vaccination. Students entering 12th grade and born after Sept. 15, 1999, needed proof of two doses of the vaccine or one dose if the shot came after the student turned 16.

“The day the kids came back to school, which was Wednesday, I had to send probably 11 kids over to get their shot,” Lansing said. “They all went to the Dallas County Public Health Department in Adel, and then today I got my last one over here in the seventh grade, so as of today they are all able to attend school. The requirement of at least one shot before you can attend has been met.”

The studentsd received vaccinations against meningolcoccal disease, a bacterial infection with a high mortality rate if untreated.

With health goes safety, and new PCSD School Resource Officer Josh Sienkiewicz is in the halls and meeting the students. Sienkiewicz took up the SRO position this year, replacing Perry Police Department Officer Pat Jans, who has retuned to patrol duty after 15 years as SRO.

“The first two days were very smooth,” Sienkiewicz said Friday, “and today has been, too.”

Sienkiewicz said he is based out of the high school but makes regular rounds to all the schools in the district.

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