Santa Clarita Schools Gear Up For School Year, Vaccination Law -- August 12, 2015

With the new school year coming up this week, many parents and students may be thinking about textbooks and pencils, but vaccinations may become a priority soon.

Gov. Jerry Brown passed Senate Bill 277 this past June, mandating school-aged students to receive specific immunizations and outlaws exemptions due to personal beliefs, according to the bill.

William S. Hart Union High School District officials are preparing to implement the new law.

 “The first step is going to be educating the medical professionals, who we have at every school,” said Dave Caldwell, spokesman with the Hart District. “Parents will be going to schools themselves with questions.”

 After July 1, 2016, the bill would prohibit anyone from admitting or advancing any student to the seventh grade level unless the student has been immunized.

 “It’s a communication process and we have to make certain that we are communicating with all of the right people so they can communicate properly,” Caldwell said. “We have close to 23,000 students, the chances of miscommunication go up with that many people, but we will stay persistent and consistent to take every step we possibly can.”

Doctors will be the only ones to exempt a student for either medical reasons or personal beliefs, according to the bill.

 Students who have a letter stating their vaccine exemption due to personal beliefs before Jan. 1, 2016, would still be allowed to remain enrolled in their schools until the next grade span.

 “A month or two before the law goes into effect, we will be contacting every single parent in the school district, letting them know about the new law and what the requirements will be,” Caldwell said.

 Home-based private school and students enrolled in an independent study program would be exempt from the law, according to the bill.

 For more information about vaccinations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website