Hundreds of students could be turned away from school on Monday morning because they are missing something important.
Many seventh graders in Metro Nashville Public Schools still don't have their required vaccines, and the district will have no choice but to send those kids home.
Earlier this week, more than 3,000 students were still without them, according to district leaders.
Christie Duncan brought her son, Jacob, to receive his required vaccinations Friday at the Metro Health Department, because she wanted to make sure he wouldn't miss any school.
"We decided we needed to go on, get it taken care of and get it out of the way, and we don't have to worry about it," Duncan said.
State law requires all seventh graders be up to date on their immunizations, including a TDAP and varicella booster. Last week, the district sent home letters with students, giving parents five school days to get current on the shots.
Starting Monday, no shots means no school. And any day a student misses because of a lack of vaccinations will be counted as an unexcused absence.
"We have really reached the limits of our flexibility on this. We do have to comply with state law, and we are asking parents to work with us, get their kids vaccinated and let's have a great start to the school year," said Metro Schools spokeswoman Meredith Libbey.
The health department offers the shots for free at its walk-in clinics, but health officials said to expect large crowds on Monday once students start getting sent home.
"I would say that we will be very busy on Monday. There will likely be long lines," said Brian Todd, with the Metro Health Department.
Todd urges parents to come to the clinic with their child's shot record, because that makes things a lot easier and quicker.
"Unfortunately, there have been times when people have moved here from another state. They don't have the child's shot record and don't know where it is. So, unfortunately, that child is going to get about seven shots on that day, because they have to start all over again," Todd said.
That won't be a problem for Jacob Duncan, who said the shots weren't really that bad.
"It wasn't hard at all. It was easy to do," he said.
The free immunizations are available from the Metro Health Department clinics, which are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The clinics are as follows:
Lentz Public Health Center 311 23rd Ave. N. (615) 340-5658
East Nashville Public Health Center 1015 E. Trinity Lane (615) 862-7916
Woodbine Public Health Center 224 Oriel St. (615) 862-7940
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