Dozens of unvaccinated students from the Green Meadow Waldorf School will remain at home amid the current countywide measles outbreak.
A federal judge in New York has ruled not to issue a temporary injunction that would have allowed 44 children to return to class.
"The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction," stated U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti.
Rockland County Grapples With Biggest Measles Outbreak In Years
In December, public health officials of Rockland County ordered that unvaccinated children in schools where the vaccination rate is less than 95 percent should stay at home. The decision was made in an effort to control the measles outbreak, which began in late September when an international traveler arrived back home with the highly contagious disease.
Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge was affected by the order. According to The Rockland/Westchester Journal News, the school has a 33 percent vaccination rate when the ban was set in place.
The exclusion of unvaccinated from attending class will end if no new cases of measles have been reported in the area within 21 days.
As of Thursday, March 14, the number of confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County has risen to 147. The majority of the patients are within the age range of 4 to 18 years old.
Anti-Vax Parents Push Back
Families of parents of the Green Meadow Waldorf School students affected by the ban filed a suit against the Rockland Health Department and its commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert. The suit claims that the ban violates the families' religious objections to vaccinations.
Moreover, they argued that there have been no confirmed cases of measles in the Green Meadow Waldorf School.
"Preventing my child from being with his class, his teacher, his classroom, has had a significant social and psychological impact," said one of the parents whose child, a preschooler, was barred from coming to school. "He is confused, given his young age, about why he isn't allowed on his campus."
Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach stated that, while the situation is less than ideal, the Dec. 5 ban has been effective so far. It has prevented the measles outbreak from reaching the school.