SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – School-aged children of asylum seekers who are enrolled in school need to meet medical requirements. But because of their unique status they have additional time to get fully vaccinated. 

Some got their immunizations and physicals on Thursday, on-site at their hotel, while they were also being enrolled by a team of administrators, teachers, translators and other staff members from North Colonie Central School District. 

The Albany County Department of Health is working with Whitney Young Health to administer those vaccines to the approximately 40 children who are being enrolled in the school district. The process is expected to continue in the coming weeks until all the children take their assessments.

A spokesperson for Schenectady County said Public Health Services Schenectady is working with New York State and other community health partners to ensure the school-aged children are up-to-date on health requirements. 

Mohonasen Central School District Superintendent Shannon Shine says they are still working through the logistics.

“Are you going to try to get each of these families appointments with providers or might it make more sense to bring the providers to them for both. Physicals that are required for school and the required immunizations,” said Shine.

He says asylum seekers in Rotterdam will likely get their inoculations next week and does not anticipate the students will be fully vaccinated by the time school starts – but they don’t have to be.

“Some things take different courses. You do one inoculation, then you have a follow-up dose,” said Shine.

He says asylum seekers have met the legal definition of being homeless and would be protected under federal law because of that – extending their timelines for getting fully vaccinated.

“They are going to meet the same standards in terms of vaccinations and physicals as everybody else and additionally, they have been screened for communicable diseases or conditions, so I’m not putting local families or children at risk,” said Shine. “If anybody’s at risk, it’s the asylum seekers and their students because they’re not yet properly vaccinated.” 

He’s confident the new students will meet all necessary medical requirements but the timeline is not yet clear. 

“We are in the business of meeting people where they are, so this is business as usual for us. But for someone on the outside, especially with politics and when emotion gets involved in it, they say why should this child have to meet a different threshold than my child,” said Shine.

He said the district is focused on removing obstacles so they can get back to teaching and learning.