By Allison Jarrell

On May 11, the Capistrano Unified Board of Trustees held the third reading of the district’s new immunization requirements for the 2016-2017 school year.

Last June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 277 into law, eliminating personal belief exemptions from immunization in schools statewide. In order to comply with the new law, which goes into effect July 1, the district will no longer enroll students who don’t have the required vaccinations, “unless the family submits a medical exemption from a licensed physician,” according to staff.

Since the first reading of the policy in March, trustees have been directing staff to make revisions. On Wednesday night, three parents brought up the issue of whether special education students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) would be exempt from the new vaccination requirements. Staff answered that under federal law, all students with an IEP are guaranteed access to educational services, regardless of their immunization status.

Trustee Jim Reardon voiced several concerns Wednesday night, including that people will be seeking reasons to obtain an IEP in order to avoid immunization. He anticipates the district will “have difficulty sorting through the authenticity of physicians’ statements granting regular education students exemptions,” and was glad that staff is looking into a form that can be used to “obtain proof of authenticity.”

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