Remote Learners Must Prove Vaccinations, Health Department Says

Parents of children who are learning remotely will have to prove by Nov. 11 that their children have received all childhood immunizations required for school, the state Department of Health announced on Monday.

Because of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the New York State School Board Association said, many parents hadn’t met the requirement that all public and non-public students from grades pre-K to Grade 12 be vaccinated and that proof be submitted within 14 days of the start of school.

Parents must submit an “affidavit, in a form and manner determined by the school” stating their intention to immunize their child before the deadline, according to a guidance document sent to school administrators. 

The Department of Health said it intends to “exercise discretion” and “will not enforce the provisions of Public Health Law section 2164(7) for a period of 30 days commencing from the date of this letter, for students attending school exclusively through remote learning.” 

“During this grace period, students engaged in remote learning must obtain all required vaccinations,” the memo states. “Even for students engaged exclusively in remote learning, vaccination remains an essential requirement, to ensure that these diseases do not spread in the community.”

The memo also says that local health departments are required to assist schools that want to arrange vaccination clinics. “If cooperation does not occur, the commissioner is authorized to step in and may recover the cost from the amount of state aid owed to the local department,” according to the memo, which was sent on a letterhead listing the names of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Executive Deputy Health Commissioner Lisa Pino.

Questions can be sent to [email protected].


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