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TO:                  Superintendents, Principals and School Nurses

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             September 8, 2005

SUBJECT:      Immunization Requirements

            The joint rules of the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Immunization, Chapter 126 and Chapter 261 respectively, provide for the incremental implementation of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.   This school year, varicella will be required for students in kindergarten through grade 3 and grades 6, 9 and 10.   Students in these grades will be required to have one of the following:

            As in the past year, students in kindergarten, and grades 6 and 9, will be granted a 90 day documentation period, identified in the DOE rule, Chapter 126, which states:

“ A child who has not received all the required doses of vaccine shall not be permitted to attend school beyond the first day without a statement, which indicates the child will be immunized by private effort within ninety days (or the parent grants written consent for the child’s immunization by a public health officer, physician, nurse or other authorized person acting as an agent of the school), unless the parent is claiming an exemption due to a sincere religious belief or for philosophical reasons, or the school is presented with a medical exemption signed by the child’s physician.”

            For kindergarten students, the 90 day clock begins at school registration or the first day of school, which ever comes first.   There is no 90-day documentation period for grades 1 – 3 or grade 10.

            Any student who transfers from another school has a 21 day period for the transfer of health records.

            The superintendent is responsible, under  20-A MRSA § 6355, for ensuring that no child is permitted to enroll in or attend school without documentation as described above.

            Please direct questions to DeEtte Hall, School Nurse Consultant, Department of Education at 624-6688 or or to Kathleen Mahaleris, Immunization Program, Bureau of Health at 287-3746 or .