Immunization requirements for homeschoolers

Prompted by a letter from the Delaware Division of Public Health to a private school in which students being taught by their parents are enrolled, Home School Legal Defense Association has researched the question of whether homeschool students must receive vaccinations against certain diseases. This letter notified the private school that all new students will be required to be vaccinated against chicken pox or have a history of the disease beginning September 1, 2003.

HSLDA's research of state law indicates that any child entering a private school must be age appropriately vaccinated against diseases according to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Delaware students must receive vaccinations for the following diseases: Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Private schools are required to maintain on file an immunization record for each child and must report annually to the director of the division of public health the immunization status of their students. Such reporting is accomplished by completion of a form sent to the private school by the Division of Public Health.

Since the statutory language governing homeschools in Delaware indicates that they are in the category of private schools, these provisions apply to homeschool students. Exceptions to the immunization requirements include situations in which (1) the child's physician has stated in writing that a specific immunizing agent would be detrimental to the child and (2) a child whose parents or guardians present a notarized document to the private school that immunization is against their religious beliefs.

~ Dewitt T. Black

This information has been extracted from the HSLDA web site for your convenience.