This morning I sat at Starbucks contemplating how quickly time passes. I was waiting for a 10:30 a.m. appointment to register my tiny boys for kindergarten. The first three months of their little lives were by far the longest days of my three decades. And yet, the following four and a half years have rushed by like there is no tomorrow.
Fear not if you’re becoming concerned this post is nothing more than sappy navel-gazing revelry. We received a reprieve on the registration.
Or rather, we were turned away. We were not allowed to register for school because Search and Destroy haven’t had a TB test yet.
The TB mantoux skin test is a requirement applying to all students who register for Transitional (TK) and Kindergarten for the first time, and all students transferring to Santa Clara County schools into Transitional kindergarten through twelfth grade from a school outside of Santa Clara County.
The Mantoux tuberculin skin test is performed by injecting a small amount of fluid (called tuberculin) into the skin in the lower part of the arm. A person given the tuberculin skin test must return within 48 to 72 hours to have a trained health care worker look for a reaction on the arm. The health care worker will look for a raised, hard area or swelling, and if present, measure its size using a ruler. Redness by itself is not considered part of the reaction.
In my own educational history, I learned the concept of clarifying questions by the Language Arts/Social Science block period in sixth grade. The idea was a precursor to writing reports, first necessitating the ability to “clarify” questions for words, phrases, or quotes in order to later both comprehend and communicate context.
Someone in our local school district slept in that day.
I arrived a half-hour before the scheduled appointment, secured three months prior.
The room was a madhouse; it was the first day of registration. I knew something was suspect when my appointment was called 15 minutes early. A great number of those preceding me had already been sent away. (The following conversation may be subconsciously conflated with my own inner monologue, but the gist remains accurate.)
Registrar: I need your documents please. And your immunization records.
Me: Here are birth certificates. And here are three different proof of residency forms.
Registrar: These are printed.
Me: Do I need to have them specially written out in cursive?
Registrar: We need the actual bills that they send you in the mail.
Me: We don’t get paper bills via the postal service anymore. We get them electronically now.
Registrar: <blank stare>
Me: Here in the Silicon Valley. Hub of technology. 21st century.
Registrar: Your homeowners insurance doesn’t have an end date noted on it.
Me: Presumably it ends when we no longer live there. Otherwise we pay annually.
Registrar: We’ll need another form of documentation. Do you have any property tax bills?
Me: Yes, right here. An old-timey sent via the Pony Express USPS bill, even.
Registrar: That is a supplemental bill.
Registrar: We need the primary.
Me: Same address.
Registrar: Well let’s see what we can do in the meantime. Immunization records?
Me: According to the registration documents, we just need birth certificates (original, not copies) and three proofs of residency as listed in a selection of columns A, B, and C. Proof of immunizations are required before enrollment or the registered student is subject to removal from student assignment. I read the requirements.
Registrar: So you don’t have immunization records?
Me: They have all their vaccines. Here I can pull up their electronic medical records.
Registrar: Does that include TB?
Me: No, but according to the registration requirements (which I read) that’s typically given at their 5-year pediatric appointment.
Registrar: So they’re not immunized?
Me: They are.
Registrar: But no TB?
Me: TB is not an immunization. It’s just a test.
Registrar: We can’t enroll without immunizations.
Me: But this is registration.
Registrar: Or enrollment.
Me: Common nomenclature!
Registrar: We’ve tightened things up because of all the outbreaks.
Me: So we can’t enroll the boys because they have not yet had a test that says whether or not they have a disease that they are potentially still very much susceptible to?
Me: I should just say we’re anti-vaxxers?
Registrar: TB is a test, so it’s not eligible for a waiver.
Me: Isn’t that what I just said?
Registrar: Come back when you have proof of immunization. Don’t worry, I’ll give you a return appointment.
Me: How does that work?
Registrar: Bring this slip and sign in right over there for the standby line.
It’s like they don’t want the boys in kindergarten. Inconceivable! Who wouldn’t want characters named Search and Destroy to take on the challenge of running on the unplayable playground?
Pay no attention to the hysterical children at the doctor’s now getting *another* shot.