The Dallas Morning News’ latest interactive story on vaccines pinpoints how many students at North Texas public school campuses have opted out for reasons of conscience or religious belief. The story, spurred by the rise of opt-outs in recent years and a recent measles outbreak scare in Plano ISD, includes a number of helpful graphics and an easy search tool to find out your campus’ opt-out rate.
We’re making it even easier with a ranking of Preston Hollow and North Dallas campuses in order of highest to lowest opt-out percentages. The highest in our neighborhood was Dealey Montessori and Academy, with 25 opt-outs between its elementary and middle school campuses. The DMN separated the two campuses in its interactive graphic, but combined, the rates at Dealey are higher than one of two schools in Dallas ISD that the DMN singled out as having a “cluster” of nonvaccinated children — the district’s arts magnet high school, Booker T. Washington (25 opt-outs or 2.8 percent of its campus, compared to Dealey’s 4 percent). The other DMN-identified cluster was Eduardo Mata Montessori, one of DISD’s new choice schools.
The story points out that, based on the data, schools’ and public health officials’ concern about mass outbreaks is low “at this point.” Schools have fairly high percentages of fully vaccinated children, and the “herd immunity,” explained and illustrated in the story, can help prevent outbreaks.
The district’s overall rate for vaccination opt-outs was low, 0.33 percent. By comparison, a few rates in our neighborhood were considerably higher. There could be a correlation to the demographics of some Preston Hollow schools; the story references a study finding that “white, college-educated parents living in households with an annual income of more than $75,000 are more likely to choose not to vaccinate their children.”
Information about opt-outs at Dallas’ private schools was not part of the DMN story, likely because private schools aren’t subject to open records laws. However, given the higher numbers of exemptions at DISD’s more affluent schools, it’s a fairly safe assumption that this trend would correlate at private schools, notwithstanding any strict vaccination requirements at individual schools.
How would your school fare in an outbreak?
Dealey Montessori and Academy: 4 percent opt-out rate (25 exemptions)
Degolyer Elementary: 2.2 percent (8 exemptions)
Withers Elementary: 1.32 percent (6 exemptions)
Gooch Elementary: 1.24 percent (4 exemptions)
Preston Hollow Elementary: 0.9 percent (4 exemptions)
Kramer Elementary: 0.82 percent (4 exemptions)
Franklin Middle School: 0.72 percent (7 exemptions)
Walnut Hill Elementary: 0.53 percent (2 exemptions)
Hillcrest High School: 0.52 percent (6 exemptions)
Nathan Adams Elementary: 0.37 percent (2 exemptions)
Pershing Elementary: 0.37 percent (2 exemptions)
E.D. Walker Middle School: 0.27 percent (2 exemptions)
W.T. White High School: 0.22 percent (5 exemptions)
Marsh Prep Academy: 0.2 percent (2 exemptions)