Downingtown Area School District announces changes in Pa. vaccination requirements – Daily Local News
EAST CALN >> The Downingtown Area School District recently alerted parents and staff about a change in Pennsylvania’s vaccination requirements.
The new requirements go into effect in August and primarily effect students entering kindergarten, seventh grade and 12th grade. Should a student not have all of the required medical vaccines by Downingtown’s first day of school on Aug. 28, they risk exclusion from school.
Previously, a child without the required vaccinations would be admitted to school and could continue attending classes for up to eight months before facing exclusion. The new Pennsylvania Department of Health regulations require a child to be fully immunized on the first day of school or have a plan with their pediatrician to catch them up.
Downingtown’s Director of Pupil Services Louis Chance called and emailed parents on July 19 to notify them of the new changes.
“We wanted to remind parents to make sure that our school nurses have accurate information about their child’s immunizations on file,” Chance said. “We also wanted to let them know that if they did need help obtaining these vaccines, they could call the Chester County Health Department. The Health Department offers these vaccines at no charge for uninsured families and for children on Medicaid. The county also offers vaccines at a fee during their clinic hours.”
Students are only exempt from having their vaccinations if they have a medical reason, religious belief, or philosophical or strong moral or ethical conviction.
“We notified our families back in early May about these new changes and again this week to make sure they have ample time to have their child fully immunized,” said Downingtown Superintendent of Schools Emilie Lonardi. “The new regulations are positive changes, intended to ensure that students attending our schools are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
New for this year are requirements for a fourth dose of the polio vaccine, a second dose of the rubella vaccine and an added dose of the meningitis vaccine for students 16 years or older, entering 12th grade.
All students are now required to have the following vaccinations under state law:
• Four doses of Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis (DTaP);
• Four doses of Polio;
• Two doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR);
• Three doses of Hepatitis B;
• Two doses of Chicken Pox or history of disease;
• Entry for seventh grade: Meningococcal vaccine & Tdap;
• Entry for 12th grade: second Meningococcal vaccine.