COLUMBIA CITY — At last week’s school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor applauded the work of Whitley County Consolidated staff for updating student immunization records.

Nearly all students in the district are either immunized or have exemptions on file.

“This is a very challenging job,” O’Connor said. “I thank the staff for their attention to getting this done.”

School nurses, administrators and even the School Resource Office worked together on this project, which will ensure the health safety of all students in the district.

“If something happens and we have some sort of epidemic, we will have this data and can identify students who may be at risk,” O’Connor said.

Having updated immunization records is a requirement by the state, but not all school districts are successful in getting parents to comply.

Indian Springs Middle School, Coesse Elementary School and Little Turtle Elementary School all have 100 percent of their records updated. Mary Raber Elementary is at 99 percent, Northern Heights Elementary at 98 percent and Columbia City High School/Eagle Tech Academy is at 97 percent.

Several students are exempt from having up-to-date immunization records, whether for health or religious reasons.

Those with medical exemptions must have a written statement from their doctors, provided yearly, according to Indiana law. Religious exemptions must be made in writing as well.

In total, 80 students have been verified as exempt: 34 at the high school, 29 at ISMS, three at Coesse, seven at Little Turtle, seven at Mary Raber and none at Northern Heights.

Also at last week’s board meeting:

• The school board accepted nine bid packages for the new high school, including items such as general trades, grandstands for the football field, interior and exterior glazing, auditorium seating and lockers. Those projects were re-bid after prices came in high the first time. O’Connor reported that the school district remains on-budget for the construction of the new high school, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

• Construction of the new school continues, as workers attempt to get as much work done as possible before winter. Most of the foundation work is completed and walls are being constructed in the gymnasium area. Utility work continues as crews put in water, sewer and storm drain lines.

• The board received an update on the food service program, which serves an average of 319 breakfasts and 1,879 lunches per day.