July 2011
Number 34

On July 25, 2011, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 614, which provides a 30 calendar day grace period for seventh through twelfth grade students to obtain the required Tdap booster against pertussis (whooping cough), an immunization requirement that was signed into law in September 2010 and became effective July 1 of this year.

SB 614 adds Health and Safety Code section 120335.1. Under section 120335.1, students who have not received the required whooping cough booster may be conditionally enrolled and attend school for 30 calendar days, commencing on the first day a student attends school in the 2011-2012 school year. The whooping cough immunization grace period applies to all students enrolled in a school district, charter school, or county office of education if the following three conditions are met:

(1) The student was enrolled in the school district or county office of education in the prior school year, and is continuing in the same district or county office of education or advancing to the next grade level (the grace period does not apply to students attending a school district or county office of education for the first time, e.g., transfer students or new enrollees);

(2) The student’s first day of attendance at the school district or county office of education occurs during the first six weeks of the 2011-12 school year;and

(3) The school district or county office of education in which the student is enrolled works with the pupil’s parent or legal guardian so that the pupil receives all immunizations or boosters necessary for continued attendance.

As urgency legislation, SB 614 takes effect immediately. SB 614 garnered widespread support across the state because, despite aggressive community outreach and public education campaigns, it became clear that a significant number of students had not yet received the required whooping cough immunizations required as of July 1. The grace period of conditional enrollment will give students extra time to obtain the Tdap booster. Local educational agencies will also be able to avoid the negative financial impact of lost ADA funding that would otherwise result if students lacking the booster were unable to attend school.

Special Note: Whooping Cough Booster Requirement and Special Education Students

If a student with a disability is precluded from attending school for an extended period of time (generally more than 10 consecutive school days) because of the new whooping cough booster requirement, this exclusion from school may be considered a change of placement. Because the student is still entitled to receive a free appropriate public education under federal and state law, an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting may be necessary to change the student’s educational program. The IEP team may consider providing services to the student through homework packets, home-based instruction, instructional phone calls, internet-based instruction, and other distance-based learning approaches. Upon the student’s return to school, the IEP team should also consider whether any compensatory services are needed. These decisions should be made on an individual basis by a student’s IEP team and in consultation with legal counsel as appropriate.

If you have any questions regarding SB 614 or other student immunization laws and requirements, please contact one of our eight offices located statewide or consult our website.

Sloan Simmons
Shareholder and Student Practice Group Co-Chair
Sacramento Office

Deborah Cesario
San Diego Office

© 2011 Lozano Smith


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