The following is a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) guide for all parents and guardians of current and prospective students of County Collaborative Charter School regarding the new legal changes surrounding Senate Bill 277 (“SB 277”) and required student immunizations.
For more information about SB 277 and the immunization requirements, please visit the: California Department of Public Health’s website at www.shotsforschool.org or contact your local health department or county office of education.
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 277 in 2015, which, among other things, amended Health and Safety Code section 120335 to require that all students, upon first admission to a private and public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home or development center, show proof of immunization against the following diseases: (1) Diphtheria; (2) Haemophilus influenzae type b; (3) Measles; (4) Mumps; (5) Pertussis (whooping cough); (6) Poliomyelitis; (7) Rubella; (8) Tetanus; (9) Hepatitis B; and, (10) Varicella (chickenpox).
Senate Bill 277 allows the Department of Health to identify other diseases requiring proof of immunization based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and other appropriate agencies.
Starting July 1, 2016, all students who are admitted for the first time to an educational institution identified in the list above and all students advancing to 7th grade must provide proof of vaccination. Health and Safety Code section 120335(g)(3).
- If a student submitted a personal belief exemption prior to January 1, 2016, that student can remain enrolled in a public school program without submitting proof of vaccination until the student enrolls in their next “grade span.” The law defines grade spans as a) birth to preschool, b) K to 6th grade and c) 7th to 12th grade. In other words, only when a student moves from one of these grade spans to the next must the student provide proof of vaccination. Health and Safety Code section 120335(g)(1),(2).
- A written statement by a licensed physician attesting that the physical condition of a student is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe, may also exempt the student from showing proof of immunization. The statement must identify the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances that contraindicate immunization. Health and Safety Code section 120370(a).
- Students enrolled in home-based private school and independent study programs are also exempt. Health and Safety Code section 120335(f).
Please note that pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 120370(b) and notwithstanding the exemptions noted above, if an educational institution has good cause to believe that a child has been exposed to a disease listed above and his or her documentary proof of immunization status does not show proof of immunization against that disease, that child may be temporarily excluded from the school or institution until the local health officer is satisfied that the child is no longer at risk of developing or transmitting the disease.
County Collaborative is an independent study program, and its primary method of instruction is independent study in accordance with Ed. Code section 551745 et seq. As such, a student enrolled in County Collaborative is exempt from the requirements of Senate Bill 277, as enacted, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 120335(f). If a student were to enroll in another educational program that is not an independent study program, of course, then the requirements of Senate Bill 277 would apply to that student.
As stated above, the law exempts a student who is enrolled in an independent study program and does not receive classroom-based instruction. It is not clear whether the legislature intended this to mean that any such student is prohibited from any classroom activities on our campuses. The Department of Health is working on regulations, which we hope will define this further. We will update parents and guardians once we have more information.
Beyond specific medical procedures, in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease, if there is good cause to believe that a child has been exposed to a communicable disease and the child does not have the required immunization against that disease, that child may be temporarily excluded from the School until the local health officer (county department of health) is satisfied that the child is no longer at risk of developing or transmitting the disease.
Please be advised that the School will not be able to accept any Personal Belief Exemptions after December 18, 2015, as the School will be closed for winter break until January 4, 2016.
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