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Schools Examine Health Policies

Harvard, Tufts Each Face Case of Measles

By Barbara E. Martinez

Following a case of measles at Harvard and another incident at Tufts University, both universities will reexamine their summer-school health policies, according to officials at the two schools.

Currently the two universities differ in their policies regarding summer students' health records. At Harvard, summer-school students are asked to hand in a voluntary medical questionnaire. However, some students do not hand in these forms according to Assistant Dean Michael J. Prokopow.

Tufts has a variety of summer programs, each of which has a different health policy. One international program, the Summer English Language Program, requires students to submit a health form along with an extensive record of immunizations, according to Director Jane Mahoney.

The Tufts student with measles attended the Anglo-Continental English as a Second Language program. The approximately 200 students in that program do not have to provide record of immunization.

But since the recent outbreaks, both universities have been questioning their policies.

"As a health care advisor, I would want anyone who came to study in a [residential situation] to be immunized," said David S. Rosenthal '59, director of University Health Services (UHS).

But Rosenthal said he is waiting for a recommendation from the Mass. Department of Public Health before officially changing Harvard's immunization requirements.

Massachusetts state regulations require all full-time students to be immunized for measles. The schools themselves determine the definition of a full-time student, according to Sean Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health. Those students not classified by the school as full-time are not required to show proof of immunization to matriculate.

"We are working with both Tufts and Harvard to reiterate that students taking a full load of four courses should be considered full-time students," Fitzpatrick said. "If these students are taking a full course load then they do need to be immunized."

Harvard summer-school students take only two classes, though each of these classes requires more hours than those offered during the academic year. Many of these students live in Harvard housing.

Tufts officials are also questioning their medical form requirements.

"The policy is currently under review. This type of situation is going to have us looking at our policies on what we do require," said Michelle D. Bowdler, director of Tufts Health Services.

The student at Harvard who was diagnosed with measles was part of the Ukranian Institute summer program at Harvard.

All students in the Ukrainian program received health forms, according to James I. Clem, director of the Ukranian summer program. However, the collection of the forms was at the discretion of individual proctors, he said. At press time, The Crimson did not know whether the student diagnosed with measles handed in the voluntary form.

"We rely on the administrative structure of the housing office, of the dormitories, of the proctors to handle that [collection]," said Clem. "The health forms are voluntary."

"We will comply fully with any Summer School policy," Clem said. "[The Ukrainian Program] is considering requiring proof of immunization for the future," Clem added, referring to the program's own policies.

Christopher S. Queen, dean of students for the Harvard Summer School, said any decision on immunization requirements would rest with UHS.

"We take our orders from UHS. We're not in the position to make medical decisions," Queen said

But Rosenthal said he is waiting for a recommendation from the Mass. Department of Public Health before officially changing Harvard's immunization requirements.

Massachusetts state regulations require all full-time students to be immunized for measles. The schools themselves determine the definition of a full-time student, according to Sean Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health. Those students not classified by the school as full-time are not required to show proof of immunization to matriculate.

"We are working with both Tufts and Harvard to reiterate that students taking a full load of four courses should be considered full-time students," Fitzpatrick said. "If these students are taking a full course load then they do need to be immunized."

Harvard summer-school students take only two classes, though each of these classes requires more hours than those offered during the academic year. Many of these students live in Harvard housing.

Tufts officials are also questioning their medical form requirements.

"The policy is currently under review. This type of situation is going to have us looking at our policies on what we do require," said Michelle D. Bowdler, director of Tufts Health Services.

The student at Harvard who was diagnosed with measles was part of the Ukranian Institute summer program at Harvard.

All students in the Ukrainian program received health forms, according to James I. Clem, director of the Ukranian summer program. However, the collection of the forms was at the discretion of individual proctors, he said. At press time, The Crimson did not know whether the student diagnosed with measles handed in the voluntary form.

"We rely on the administrative structure of the housing office, of the dormitories, of the proctors to handle that [collection]," said Clem. "The health forms are voluntary."

"We will comply fully with any Summer School policy," Clem said. "[The Ukrainian Program] is considering requiring proof of immunization for the future," Clem added, referring to the program's own policies.

Christopher S. Queen, dean of students for the Harvard Summer School, said any decision on immunization requirements would rest with UHS.

"We take our orders from UHS. We're not in the position to make medical decisions," Queen said

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