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Home > Rules & Legislation > Letters from the Commissioner > Informational Letters > Letter 22

 

INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO:  22
POLICY CODE:  JLCB

TO:                 Superintendents, Principals and School Nurses

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             September 11, 2006

SUBJECT:       Immunization Requirements

The joint rules of the Departments of Education and Human Services (MeCDC) on immunization, Chapter 126 and Chapter 261 respectively, provide for the incremental implementation of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.  This school year (2006-2007), varicella will be required for students in kindergarten thought grade 4 and grades 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11.   Students in these grades will be required to have one of the following:

  • Certificate of immunization against varicella,
  • A note from the student’s health care provider that the vaccine is medically inadvisable,
  • Proof of immunity to varicella,
  • A note from the health care provider that the student has had chickenpox, or
  • A written statement from the parent/guardian that they have a sincere religious or philosophical belief in opposition to the immunizations.

As in the past year, student 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 a 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, whichever comes first.  There is no 90-day documentation period for grades 1-4 and grades 10-11. 

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 Nancy Dube, School Nurse Consultant, Department of Education at 624-6688 or nancy.dube@maine.gov or to Kathleen Mahaleris, Immunization Program, Maine CDC at 287-3746 or kathleen.mahaleris@maine.gov.

SAG/ND/gdw