State officials have jointly published three frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents related to recent changes to the state’s vaccination laws and their applicability to all students. The departments of education and health, along with the Office of Children and Family Services, issued the most recent guidance concurrently with emergency regulations adopted by the Department of Health (see “New regs clarify rules for medical exemptions,” On Board, Sept. 2, 2019).
Issued on Aug. 13, the newest FAQ clarified that, starting with the 2019-20 school year, the immunization requirements for school entrance/attendance applies to students receiving homebound instruction (aka home/hospital instruction).
According to the FAQ, parents who choose not to vaccinate their compulsory school age children who lack a valid medical exemption and would need to homeschool those children.
Homeschooled students who are not immunized and do not have a medical exemption from immunization may not attend state tests held at a school. In addition, they may not audit or attend intermittently some classes at a nonpublic school.
The vaccination requirements also apply to students who attend:
- State-operated and state-supported schools.
- Approved private residential and non-residential schools for the education of students with disabilities.
- Special act school districts.
- Participating in interscholastic athletics, including the season that starts in August 2019.
With respect to transportation, the FAQ states that children who are not immunized and do not have a valid medical exemption cannot be transported in a school bus or vehicle with other students. Nonpublic schools arranging for bus transportation for their students through their school district of location are responsible for ensuring those students are in compliance with the immunization laws.
The third FAQ is available at: https:// on.ny.gov/2NjdaIR. It contains links to the two prior FAQs.
Kimberly A. Fanniff, Senior Staff Counsel