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Full Implementation of the Varicella (chicken pox) Vaccine Requirement for Students in K-12 Schools
ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 14
DATE: October 25, 2007
TO: Superintendents of Schools, Private Schools, Special Purpose Private Schools, School Nurses
FROM: Commissioner Susan A. Gendron, Department of Education
RE: Full Implementation of the Varicella (chicken pox) Vaccine Requirement for Students in K-12 Schools
In accordance with school law, all students attending school in Maine in kindergarten through twelfth grade are required to have proof of varicella (chicken pox) vaccination or proof of varicella disease as described in a joint memo from the Maine Immunization Program (MIP) and the Department of Education (DOE) dated July 12, 2007. School nurses have been working for the past five years to acquire all the necessary documentation needed for students to be in compliance with this law. Beginning in the 2007-2008 school year, this law is in full implementation. Unvaccinated students will be excluded from school in the event of a varicella outbreak.
Parents do have the option to write a letter requesting their child be exempt from this law on very specific grounds (religious, philosophical or medical) defined in the law. If parents do write a request for exemption, the exemption clearly states that if there is evidence of varicella disease in the school, their child will be excluded from school until such time as the Maine Centers for Disease Control (Maine CDC) determines it is safe for the child to return to school. An exclusion period lasts for fourteen (14) days. Every new case of chicken pox in the school triggers a twenty-one day exclusion. Students will be readmitted promptly if they are vaccinated against varicella during this exclusion period.
Currently, there are several cases of varicella disease in schools across the State. Normally, the season for this disease is November to March. This early outbreak of varicella has prompted the Maine CDC to exclude un-immunized students in the affected schools.
For further information, please contact Nancy Dube, School Nurse Consultant, DOE, at 624-6688 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or please contact Kathleen Mahaleris, Comprehensive Health Planner 1, DHHS, at 287-3746 or mailto:email@example.com.
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