The Riverbank Unified School District sent a letter to parents and guardians recently to inform them about the new law that began on Jan. 1 known as SB 277. That law states exemptions based on personal beliefs, including religious beliefs, will no longer be an option for the vaccines that are currently required for entry into child care or school in California.
In further detail the new law states that as of Jan. 1, parents or guardians of students in any school or child care facility, whether public or private, will no longer be required to have immunizations for entry if they attend a home-based private school or an independent study program with no classroom-based instruction. However, parents or guardians must continue to provide immunization records for these students to their schools and schools must continue to maintain and report records of immunizations that have been received for these students. The immunization requirements do not prohibit pupils from accessing special education and related services required by their individualized education programs according to www.shotsforschool.org.
The law applies to facilities that are public or private. All California schools and child-care facilities, including child-care centers, day nurseries, nursery schools, family day care homes, and development centers, are subject to new and existing laws in California.
Riverbank Unified School District’s Director of Student Services, Karen Young, also stated in the notice that most families should not be affected by the new law because their children have received all required vaccinations. Personal beliefs exemptions on file for a child already attending child care or school will remain valid until the child reaches the next immunization checkpoint at kindergarten, transitional kindergarten or seventh grade.
The law only allows a Medical Exemption, provided only by a licensed physician (M.D., or D.O.), which states four necessary elements:
The physical condition or medical circumstances of the child are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated;
Which vaccines are being exempted;
Whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary;
The expiration date, if the exemption is temporary.
“When asked, most parents support the new law,” said Young. “Additionally, our district has several students considered medically ‘fragile,’ which means that ‘typical’ childhood illnesses present potential deadly threats. We’ve had children be excluded from school for 30 days by their physicians, post-chicken pox exposure in the classroom.
“I work closely with the District Nurse, and our support staff, to monitor potential outbreaks and infections illnesses.”
For more information regarding the new law, SB 277, visit the California Department of Public Health’s website at www.shotsforschool.org.