WAIVING IMMUNIZATIONS – Incoming 7th graders and New students.
If you choose not to immunize your children, please review the following information closely on a new law that will impact your family.
Effective January 1, 2016, a new California Law will effect the waiving of school-required immunizations. The new law (Senate Bill 277) no longer permits immunization exemptions based on personal beliefs for children in child care and public and private schools. The Law does permit personal belief exemptions submitted before January 1, 2016 to remain valid until a pupil reaches kindergarten or 7th grade.
Non-immunized students may be enrolled in a public charter that are independent study programs and have a campus and classes, but while enrolled with such a charter and not immunized, a student may not receive classroom-based instruction provided by our staff. They may participate in extra-curricular activities, such as theater, choir, after school sports, and clubs. Student’s access to special education and related services as specified in an individualized education program will still be received.
All students still need to provide records of any immunizations received to the school before entry.
For more information and FAQ’s for the Senate Bill 277, please visithttp://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/exemptions/
This post is here for the following:
- To help those trying to figure out what SB277, a law that go into effect January1, 2016, mean to them, particularly if you are homeschooling like me through a public charter school.
- To give a heads up to those coming into public, private, and most charter schools on or after July 2016.
My source of information is directly from our charter school that provide a variety of ways for parents to educate their children and the SB277 Bill website.
By now, you have likely learned about SB 277, the vaccine bill signed into law this year by Governor Jerry Brown this fall that eliminated the personal belief exemption to the immunization requirements for students enrolled in schools in California.
How does SB 277 apply to homeschool charter schools and its families? The answer depend on your type of school and in the ways you educated your children with a homeschool charter school. My charter school has waited a bit longer before saying anything to parents while many other public and private schools and districts have been distributing information for some time now. My charter’s hope was to wait for as much clarity as possible before issuing a statement. The Department of Public Health is waiting to weigh in on the topic and the impact this law has on charter schools offering Independent Study with classroom option such as the one that I have my children in.
SB277 require that beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, vaccinations will be required of children when they first enter public or private school.
There are exceptions to this rule. These exceptions may be temporary or apply permanently.
- If you have filled out a Personal Beliefs Exemption To Required Immunizations affidavit (PBE) before January 1, 2016 stating personal beliefs opposed to immunization, your student may continue to be enrolled without showing proof of the required immunizations until the student enrolls in the next grade span. Under the law, “grade span” is defined as: birth to preschool; transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1-6, inclusive; and grades 7-12, inclusive. (There are 3 grade spans, not 5 as I had originally thought. It is birth – preschool, TK – 6th, and 7th – 12th. (It is amazing what a ; and , can do for a sentence!) This means, for example, that a current 2nd grade student with a PBE on file with their school would not have to be vaccinated until that student enters the 7th grade. How this applies to me: I have signed PBEs for both of my kids turned in as of August 2015. If my kids are only partaking in non-classroom based instructions of our homeschooling charter (fully independent study and off campus), this SB277 is a non-issue, irrelevant to us. But we do go on campus and because we have a PBE, there is no action needed by me to comply with SB277 immunization requirements as of January 1st. They do not have to show proof that they have met or have all state vaccination requirements in January if they do not have one with the school office. But as this law stands right now, this showing of vaccinations is not required for us until they are to enter the next grade span, which is 7th grade, if we so desire to be partaking in classroom-based instruction or any activities on the charter’s campus in 7th grade and thereafter.
- Non-Classroom-Based Instruction students are exempt. In regards to schools that provide non-classroom and classroom based instructions, such as The Classical Academies, Dehesa, and others, this can sound a bit confusing. To the best understanding of the law, it appears that students enrolled in an independent study program under these schools who DO NOT RECEIVE ANY CLASSROOM-BASED instruction appear to be exempt from the vaccination requirement. At the same time, students who attend or participate in these school’s classes or resource center activities with other students will be required to comply with vaccination requirement (despite the parents or third-party providing all the classroom instruction that is not received from the campus), unless future regulations issued by the Department of Public Health provide a more expansive exemption for Independent Study students. Those who currently attend homeschool charters’ enrichment classes (ie. Monday Labs and C-Electives for C-Track) and full 2 days of classroom instruction (A-Track and B-Track), and want to continue after the law goes into effect January 2016 BUT wants to be exempt from vaccinations – at least until the end of this school year – (or until the next grade span, if applicable), must have the Personal Beliefs Exemption affidavit into their school office by their first day back in January 2016. How this applies to me: My children would have been required to be fully vaccinated as of returning to school January 2016 as SB277 goes into effect, but because I have filed the PBEs back in August 2015 (prior to the January 1, 2016 deadline), they will continue their classes on campus with no interruption brought on by this law. They will not be turned away from attending classes on campus until they reach the next grade span as the PBE covers them for the full span the PBE is filed in (TK-6th). They are exempt from vaccination requirements for the next several years until enrolling in 7th grade. They will remain exempt after that point only if they will not be attending anything on campus (or this law no longer exists). If your child are fully independent study with your charter that also happen to have on-campus offerings but they do not partake in them, immunizations on file as per SB277 is not required. If you do wish to attend classes and activities on campus in January 2016, one must be SB277 compliant. If you wish to avoid vaccinations this January, you will need a PBE signed by Dec 31st, 2015 turned in on the first day back on campus. Parents with students coming into school July 2016 or after are not able to pre-file a PBE now for a future school year. At this point, children would have to be fully off-campus of the charter or provide the school with a signed Medical Exemption from his or her physician, .
- Medical Exemption: The law provides a licensed physician with authority to grant a medical exemption to the vaccination requirement then the physician believes that immunization is not considered safe due the child’s physical condition or medical circumstances. Questions about vaccines are conversations for medical professional and not ones for school personnel to discuss or provide advice. How this applies to me: It does not. But hypothetically, if the law changes and I desire my children’s physician to sign a Medical Exemption, would he do it? Would he sign off basically stating that he believes that immunization is not considered safe due my child’s physical condition or medical circumstances? I do not have a personal relationship with my kids’ physician on a personal level and do not know his stance on vaccinations. If he does not sign this form, will he sign off a form a make stating that he believes vaccinations will not physically harm my kids? Does he believe that vaccinations will protect my kids? Will he sign an ME form for me like he did my kids’ PBE and still not bat an eye? He gave me no grief when I came in last fall and had the PBE signed. He did state a few lines about vaccines (which is required of him by law and what he signed off to on the form) but he showed no leaning for or against it. I did not get warm fuzzies that I was doing the right thing nor did he scorn me by doing delayed vaccinations. A PBE has a doctor signing off that the parent has been advised of the risks of not getting vaccinated. A Medical Exemption has him signing off that he BELIEVES immunizations is not considered due to the child’s physical condition or medical circumstances. Opting out of vaccines will no longer be based on a personal belief of a parent but by the personal belief of a physician.
Schools are awaiting new updates and clarifications of the law. The Department of Public Health is expected to issue regulations that will provide further clarification of some of the questions arising out of the new law. There is no clear timeline for these regulations. Until such time, the above described requirements will be in effect.
The SB277 law as it stands right now for public schools/private schools/public homeschool charters with students that assemble in classrooms on campus:
An unvaccinated student cannot be enrolled as of July 1, 2016 unless the unvaccinated student does not attend any classes or resource center activities or qualifies for an exemption.
“Opting out of vaccines will no longer be based on a personal belief of a parent but by the personal belief of a physician.”
What Says You, Jennylou?
In other settings, such as mom-groups on and offline, I really prefer not to discuss vaccinations at all. It gets really uncomfortable real fast because there are so many valid reasons on both sides, with friends on both sides, and I really am not interested in losing friends. No one can invalidate someone’s feelings and bad experiences with vaccines no matter how great the research is showing it is for the greater good. The greater good matters little when your one child is affected negatively. It happened, it was felt, and children have died because they got vaccinated AND children will die because they were not vaccinated. We must remember that we all want the best for our children and will do and say just about anything to ensure it and we all can get pretty nasty about it. Even those who claim to be tolerant is not immune from getting intolerant in words and in action when it comes to a certain point about any topic, including this topic. The only real thing I can say about all this is that every time something is mandatory, a choice has been taken away from someone else. Yes, even in mandatory times, there are choices that can be made but only because a choice they once had is no longer there. After the passing of any law, the fighting and convincing does not stop on both sides and even if it does for some, the quote remains true, “Those convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still.” And those who pushed for SB277 with the intent to protect their kids will state that it is still not enough mandated protection because kids like my son and daughter who can attend school for 3+ more years before they have to comply with the law and be fully vaccinated is putting their kids at risk. Before anyone get’s nasty about that, let me just state that my daughter is up to date with everything. We did “delayed” as a result of seizures after her shots. I didn’t even know that could happen. First time mom then. I was incredibly scared and all I was told by a medical professional is that this could happen. Anyway, I did file that exemption for the simple fact that I wanted to have a hedge and a choice in case I did not get her fully updated and vaccinated in the last months. Wherever you stand and whatever one must do to get to where they want to be, I put no judgement and I wish your children health and a continued love of learning.
This blog post is not to express any opinion about whether I agree or disagree with the law. Rather, it is my sole intent to comply with the new law and help others understand it. Parents wanting to maintain a Personal Belief Exemption for their student must have a form on file with their school turned into them by the first day of school in January 2016, as the law goes into effect January 1, 2016. The form must be signed and dated by December 31, 2015 to be valid. Failure to provide a valid form, or an updated vaccination record, will result in your student(s) not being able to attend classes, labs, electives, clubs, or group activities at the school site. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the school where your son or daughter attend.
My next posts will be:
- Other schooling options for those opting out of vaccinations
- Personal Beliefs Exemption 101 and how to file one with your school