As you may be aware, the State recently changed the immunization requirements for all public and private schools. Under a new law known as Senate Bill 277 (SB 277), beginning January 1, 2016, immunization exemptions based on personal beliefs will no longer be available for the vaccines that are currently required for school admission.
The new law requires that all students follow the State immunization requirements for school enrollment unless there is a documented medical reason provided by a licensed physician. The main components of SB 277 and the new immunization requirements are outlined below:
- Because this is state law, schools and school districts do not have the ability to modify these requirements in any fashion.
- Students entering into Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and 7th Grade on and after July 1, 2016, will be required to submit documentation verifying compliance with the State immunization requirements, unless a valid medical exemption is on file with the school district.
- A parent/guardian may submit to the school a written statement by a licensed physician (MD or DO) exempting a student from immunization (medical exemption). In order to obtain a valid medical exemption, SB 277 requires a written statement by a licensed physician which states: (1) the physical condition or medical circumstances relating to the student are such that immunization is not considered safe; (2) the specific nature of the medical condition; (3) the probable duration of the medical condition; (4) circumstances, including, but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization, and (5) that the student shall be exempt from the vaccines indicated by the physician’s statement.
- SB 277 does not prohibit a student who qualifies for an individualized education program (IEP), pursuant to federal law and Section 56026 of the Education Code, from accessing any special education and related services required by his or her IEP.
- The new law does not apply to a student enrolled in an independent study program and does not receive classroom based instruction.
- The school district is required to obtain documentary proof of each student’s immunization status and maintain a record of the immunizations of each student. Parents/guardians must provide their child’s immunization records to their school.
- A student without the required evidence of immunization may be excluded from school until the immunization is obtained or an exemption is granted based on a valid medical exemption.
- If there is good cause to believe that a student has been exposed to a communicable disease and the student’s documentation of immunization does not show proof of immunization against that disease, the student may be temporarily excluded from the school until the local health officer is satisfied that the student is no longer at risk of developing or transmitting the disease.
Information about school immunization requirements and SB 277 Frequently Asked Questions are available on the State’s Shots for School website at http://www.shotsforschool.org.
As your child’s educational provider, we want to promote and support a healthy learning environment for all of our students, staff and educational community. We also want to ensure you have current information regarding immunization requirements that may impact your child.
If you have questions about your child’s immunization status or current immunization requirements, please contact your health care provider.