SB 277 would require that children admitted to a school or certain other institutions be fully vaccinated on schedule in accordance with Health and Safety Code Section 120355. This applies to pupils of "...any public or private elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center." It removes the "personal beliefs" exemption and, therefore, the only exception will be for medical reasons as specified by a physician.
While several lawmakers have made public statements to the effect that parents can "either vaccinate or homeschool," based on the way that the law is currently written, this is simply not true. If SB277 passes as written, there will be no non-medically based exemptions for mandatory immunization of school aged children (ages 6 and up) in California at all, homeschoolers included, other than those using the private tutoring option. This option requires that the parent hold a current California multiple-subject teaching credential and has various other restrictions.
Nearly all homeschoolers in California choose one of three legal options - a public home-based charter program, a private school satellite program (PSP), or they file a private school affidavit (PSA). SB 277 would apply to all of these homeschooling options. The consequence for failure to comply with the vaccination schedule is that students are to be prohibited from further attendance until they receive a medical exemption or are fully caught up with the required immunizations.
Charter school homeschoolers will likely face the choice of being asked to leave for failure to comply or will not be accepted for admission at all.
For homeschoolers enrolled in private school satellite programs (PSPs), the private school will have to decide what it means to prohibit attendance. It is possible they could decide that their students are already "staying home" and that no further action is necessary for those who are not fully immunized. Or they may decide that the law requires them to un-enroll students who are not in compliance. Also, immunization status of students is not necessarily private since the private school is required to report immunization rates to the health department and the health department has the authority to examine the school's immunization records.
The law would also apply to homeschoolers who establish their own private school in their own home although it is unclear what the impact would be for those individuals. The only stated consequence of failure to comply is that non-immunized students are to be prohibited from attending. What this means when school and home are the same place is open to interpretation. To our knowledge, the health department has never requested immunization information from private schools with fewer than six students, but, legally and technically, that is also possible.Q: What does the bill say about homeschooling?A: The bill does not mention homeschooling directly. It applies to all public and private schools including home-based charter programs, public school independent study programs, private school satellite programs, and home-based private schools.Q: Is there a way to use an out-of-state school to avoid the immunization requirements?A: No. Enrollment in an out-of-state school does not provide an exception to the California compulsory education law.Q: Would the law apply to online or distance education programs?A: Yes. The bill does not distinguish between types of schooling methods. It applies to all private and public school programs.Q: Is this bill going to pass? Will it be changed? A: We can't predict whether or not it will pass. It is possible that it will be changed as it goes through the usual committee processes. If the senate passes it, an identical bill must be passed by the state assembly and the final version must be signed by the governor before it becomes law. Q: Will quantitative blood titers be accepted as proof of immunity?A: Yes, a physician can write a statement that the child should be permanently exempted from the vaccination based on a blood titer showing immunity.
Q: Can I homeschool if my children are not up-to-date on vaccinations?
A: There is no simple answer to this question other than to say that any public or private school homeschooling option will require children to be up-to-date on immunizations otherwise you will be out of compliance with the law. This may or may not result in consequences that prevent you from homeschooling. We cannot predict with certainty what type of enforcement will be engaged in by health departments or school districts.
Q: Can you provide more details about the tutoring option?
A:Full information about the tutoring option ishere.