SB277 has been signed into law by the governor and took effect July 1, 2016 for the 2016/2017 school year.
Full text of the new law
HSC Position and Some Notes On
California Senate Bill 277
Please understand that we are publishing our best understanding, but others may interpret the law differently. We cannot guarantee that your PSP or ISP will understand it the same way we do here at HSC. Please check directly with them. All laws are open to interpretation u
ntil a court has decided what the legal interpretation is.
The new law, SB277, took effect on July 1, 2016. It removes the “personal beliefs” and religious exemptions, but also exempts homeschoolers from the immunization requirements.
Home-Based Private Schools
The law exempts students from immunization requirements if they are enrolled in home-based private schools. Therefore if you are homeschooling by establishing a private school in your own home and filing a Private School Affidavit, your students are exempt from immunization laws. See this LINK for reporting requirements for those families filing the PSA with 6 or more children.
Private School Satellite Programs
Also, Private School Satellite Program (PSP) students are exempt from immunization requirements. These are programs in which a private school offers a homeschooling program which is primarily taught by the parents and is not classroom based.
Independent Study Programs
The law exempts students from all immunization requirements if they are enrolled in independent study programs in which the pupil is not receiving classroom-based instruction. What this means is open to interpretation and you should check with your independent study program to find out how they interpret it.
Grandfathering In Exemptions
For students who go to school, there are no longer personal belief or religious exemptions except that: (1) students with IEPs cannot be denied services that are in their IEP and (2) students who were in kindergarten or a higher grade and had a personal beliefs exemption already in their K-12 school records prior to January 1, 2016 will not be subject to the new immunization law unless and until they are entering 7th grade.
Some people are reading Subdivision (g) Section (3) to say that students will no longer be grandfathered in if they change schools. We do not interpret it that way.
This is the part that some people interpret to mean that the grandfathering in of the PBE is void if the child changes schools:
(3) Except as provided in this subdivision, on and after July 1, 2016, the governing authority shall not unconditionally admit to any of those institutions specified in this subdivision for the first time, or admit or advance any pupil to 7th grade level, unless the pupil has been immunized for his or her age as required by this section.
Note that this Subdivision (g) Section (3) says "Except as provided in this subdivision...". Subdivision (g) Section (1) provides for grandfathering in until the next grade span. So Section (1) overrides (3).
Those homeschoolers who already had a personal beliefs exemption n their files prior to January 2016 i should keep it there.
Some notes regarding the definition of "home-based" independent study program:
The California Department of Education provides a list of all charter schools in the state and identifies those that are nonclassroom-based independent study programs by highlighting them in pink. The California Department of Public Health has, however, issued a statement saying that students in independent study programs are exempt only if there is no classroom-based instruction. http://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/sb277faq/
Education Code Title 2 Division 4 Part 26.8
Chapter 3: Charter School Operation
(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and as a condition of apportionment, “classroom-based instruction” in a charterschool, for the purposes of this part, occurs only when charter school pupils are engaged in educational activities required of those pupils and are under the immediate supervision and control of an employee of the charter school who possesses a valid teaching certification in accordance with subdivision (l) of Section 47605. For purposes of calculating average daily attendance for classroom-based instruction apportionments, at least 80 percent of the instructional time offered by the charter school shall be at the school site, and the charter school shall require the attendance of all pupils for whom a classroom-based apportionment is claimed at the school site for at least 80 percent of the minimum instructional time required to be offered pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 47612.5.
(2) For the purposes of this part, “nonclassroom instruction” or “nonclassroom-based instruction” means instruction that does not meet the requirements specified in paragraph (1). The State Board of Education may adopt regulations pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) specifying other conditions or limitations on what constitutes nonclassroom-based instruction, as it deems appropriate and consistent with this part.
(3) For purposes of this part, a school site is a facility that is used principally for classroom instruction.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the State Board of Education, nor the Superintendent may waive the requirements of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
The California Department of Public Health has stated that all schools, public and private, must collect vaccination information from all students, including those in home-based private schools and nonclassroom-based independent study programs. http://www.shotsforschool.org/laws/sb277faq/
HSC sees nothing in the health or education codes that exempts home-based private schools, ISPs, or PSPs from the requirement. Therefore, your PSP or ISP may ask for your vaccination records even though your child is not, in fact, required to be vaccinated.
For those establishing your own private school, the health department may request your records, but almost certainly only if you have 6 or more students on your current PSA or had 6 or more students when filing a previous PSA. (Only private schools with 6 or more students are included in the state's private school directory, which is where the county health departments get their private school information.) Even though the vaccination requirement does not apply to you, they can still ask for your records. Be sure you state on them that you are operating a "home-based private school" and therefore exempt from the vaccination requirements according to SB-277.