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SB 277 Information & Preliminary Analysis

Updated:  7/1/2015

SB277 was passed by the State Senate and quickly signed into law by Governor Brown. This new law will go into effect for the 2016-17 school year and effectively eliminates all personal belief exemptions from vaccination requirements for all students enrolled in any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center in the state of California.

In the legislative process an amendment was included to exempt homeschool students.  The amendment states:

This section does not apply to a pupil in a home-based private school or a pupil who is enrolled in an independent study program pursuant to Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 51745) of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of the Education Code and does not receive classroom-based instruction.”

 Our interpretation at this point is that students whose families file a Private School Affidavit or are enrolled in a Private Satellite Program will be exempt from the immunization requirements.

In respect to home-based Charter Schools and Public Independent Study Programs, we believe that the exemption may apply to some students enrolled in these programs but homeschool families should consult with their program’s administrator as guidelines and requirements may vary from program to program. The term “does not receive classroom-based instruction” has not yet been adequately defined for the purposes of this law. The following sections of the California Education Code may provide some guidance:

EC Section 47612.5 (e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and as a condition of apportionment, “classroom-based instruction” in a charter school, 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 schoolsite, and the charter school shall require the attendance of all pupils for whom a classroom-based apportionment is claimed at the schoolsite 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.”

Pursuant to EC Section 47612.5 (d)(1), “Non classroom-based instruction includes, but is not limited to, independent study, home study, work study, and distance and computer-based education”

Here, classroom-based instruction is defined as a student receiving more than 80% of instruction in the classroom with a certified teacher employed by the Charter or ISP.  This is important since it can be interpreted to suggest that Charter/ISP students taking classes at independent resource centers or co-ops would also be exempt. We understand that this uncertainty is troubling for families, but since there is another year until the law takes effect, there is time for families to make alternate plans, if necessary.

Students who have a Personal Beliefs Exemption (CDPH form 8262, 10/13) on file at a school prior to Jan. 1, 2016, will not have to show proof of immunization until the next “grade span” period (for most that will be the 7th grade).  In addition, the PBE is portable and can be transferred to a new school in California only within the applicable grade span period.

A limited medical exemption is still available and it is permissible for the doctor to consider the family’s medical history when making a decision.  If a new immunization is added to the list in the future, medical exemptions and personal belief exemptions (for the new immunization only) will be allowed.

Again, this is a preliminary analysis. The CHN Legislative Committee will be consulting with the other homeschool advocacy groups (HSC, FPM, CHEA and HSLDA) and issuing updates as required.

CHN Legislative Committee

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California Homeschool Network is a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the fundamental right of parents to educate their children. Our website provides information about CHN, current state and federal legislation affecting homeschooling families, and how to get started educating your children at home.

California law requires that all children between the ages of 6 and 18 attend a public full-time day school unless they are exempted. Understanding your options and abiding by the law will help you avoid truancy.

To learn more about homeschooling, visit our How to Homeschool page! You will find a wealth of information there, including Frequently Asked Questions, info on record-keeping, preschool, high school, and so much more! If you need assistance, feel free to contact CHN.


California Legislation

AB 713:  Mandatory Kindergarten

CHN strongly opposes this bill.  Click here for current updates, analysis, and more information.

SB 277:  Elimination of Personal Belief Exemption for Immunizations

CHN strongly opposes this bill.  Click here for current updates, analysis and more information.

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