New rules on immunizations, age minimum are upcoming in WCSD

Over the next two school years, there will be two new rules about who may attend school in Warren County School District.

The first took effect Tuesday and is a change by the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding immunizations.

“Should a student not have all the required vaccinations by Warren County School District’s first day of school on Sept. 5, they risk exclusion from school,” Dr. Patricia Hawley said.

The new rules give parents only five days to prove that their students have received the required immunizations, Hawley said. The previous timeline was eight months.

“Any student who has not submitted proof of immunization will not be allowed to attend school” after the five days, she said. “The only way a child can be excused from this directive is if a parent files with the district an exception for religious reasons, or if a physician signs the immunization certificate that the immunization is not medically advisable.”

There are new vaccinations required for students entering kindergarten and seventh and twelfth grades.

In cases where the district was aware, letters were sent to the families of students who needed immunizations, according to nursing department head Louise Tharp.

Students who are behind by multiple doses of vaccines must show proof of receiving the first course and a schedule for follow-up inoculations. The district has no responsibility to provide for the education of students who are ineligible for failing to meet the immunization requirements, Hawley said.

In fact, the district would be responsible to enforce new truancy laws, including notifying the parents after three days and working with the family on an “attendance improvement plan,” she said.

More information about the vaccination requirements is available on the district’s website under the administration tab and pupil services subcategory.

Age limit

Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, the district will change the age requirements for students entering kindergarten.

Language approved at Monday’s special board meeting says students must turn five years old on or before July 1 of the next school year in order to enroll. The old language was based on the first day of the school year. Because kindergarten registration sometimes took place before a calendar was approved, parents were sometimes unsure of whether their children would qualify.