Vaccination Requirements and Exemptions
The California Health and Safety Code says that no student may be admitted to any public or private school for the first time, or admitted or advanced to 7th grade, unless that student is fully immunized for his or her age.
Pupils enrolled in home-based private schools and students enrolled in independent study programs who are not receiving classroom-based instruction are not subject to the mandatory vaccinations.
This means that most homeschoolers should be exempt from the immunization requirements.
(1) If you establish your own home-based private school and file a private school affidavit, your children are not subject to the immunization law.
(2) If your child is enrolled in a private school satellite program (PSP) which is home based, your child is not subject to the immunization law.
(3) If your child is enrolled in a pubic or charter independent study program, your child may or may not be subject to the immunization law, depending on whether or not enrollment includes classroom-based instruction. The definition of classroom-based instruction is not clear in the law and may therefore be interpreted differently by various entities such as health departments, public and charter school administrators, and state and county education departments. You may or may not find that your child's independent study program requires immunizations as a condition of enrollment.
Medical Reasons for ExemptionAlthough homeschoolers are, in general, exempt from all immunizations, we include this information as it may be useful in case your child is enrolled in a hybrid program (home and classroom) or in case a previously homeschooled child goes to school.
If you believe your child should not receive particular immunizations for medical reasons, contact your doctor and obtain a doctor's written statement saying that the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that the immunization is not considered safe. The statement must indicate the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances, including, but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization. Once this statement is signed by your doctor, your child will be exempted from the immunizations specifically identified on the medical waiver form. (H&S §120370).
Personal Beliefs or Religious ExemptionCalifornia no longer offers personal or religious exemptions to immunization requirements. However, some students may have their previous exemptions "grandfathered in." If a student received a personal beliefs exemption prior to January 1, 2016, that exemption is valid until the student enters the next grade span. An exemption obtained for day care, for example, is no longer valid when the student enters kindergarten (or first grade if the student did not attend kindergarten). An exemption obtained prior to 7th grade is no longer valid when the student enters 7th grade. An exemption obtained in 7th grade or thereafter is valid through 12th grade.
(Remember, personal beliefs exemptions are no longer available and these exemptions only apply if a student had a personal belief exemption prior to 1/1/2016.