It was pointed out that the language in (2) does not require vaccination by the Fall 2020 as I perhaps misstated in my prior post. I think they are right and I was wrong, mostly, but frankly, I am still not sure. Let’s start with the language:
“(2) Commencing January 1, 2020, a child who has a medical exemption issued before January 1, 2020, shall be allowed continued enrollment to any public or private elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or developmental center within the state until the child enrolls in the next grade span.
For purposes of this subdivision, “grade span” means each of the following:
(A) Birth to preschool, inclusive.
(B) Kindergarten and grades 1 to 6, inclusive, including transitional kindergarten.
(C) Grades 7 to 12, inclusive.”
That seems to suggest that families with current exemptions will be able to send their kids to school after January 1, 2020, as long as they are in the same “grade span,” and that would be better than I had originally thought and wrote.
I am not exactly sure what (3) applies to: Here it is:
“(3) Except as provided in this subdivision, on and after July 1, 2021, the governing authority shall not unconditionally admit or readmit to any of those institutions specified in this subdivision, or admit or advance any pupil to 7th grade level, unless the pupil has been immunized pursuant to Section 120335 or the parent or guardian files a medical exemption form that complies with Section 120372.”
But here the change which makes me unsure about the additional time families appear to have under (2):
“(C) A medical exemption that the reviewing immunization department staff member determines to be inappropriate or otherwise invalid under subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall also be reviewed by the State Public Health Officer or a physician and surgeon from the department’s immunization program designated by the State Public Health Officer. Pursuant to this review, the State Public Health Officer or physician and surgeon designee may revoke the medical exemption.
(4) Medical exemptions issued prior to January 1, 2020, shall not be revoked unless the exemption was issued by a physician or surgeon that has been subject to disciplinary action by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.”
So what happens to exemptions which are written by disciplined physicians which are found to be inappropriate? The exemption is revoked obviously. Under SB 276, the revocation is, in effect, stayed pending appeal, if the there is an appeal filed within 30 days. No one knows yet (or no one is saying) how long the appeals process could take. That’s an unknown. But if the appeal is rejected, the revocation is affirmed, then the revocation becomes effective and the family no longer has an exemption, such that the grade span time referenced in (2) doesn’t matter. Meaning, the child will need to be vaccinated.
And of course, that’s assuming the schools will be following the rules. That’s a big assumption considering the fact that schools are now rejecting exemptions even though there is no legal mechanism to do so under current law, so long as the exemptions are written by a California licensed physician, who recites the required statutory language. (I’m working on that problem as we speak, and you will hear about that next week!)
So, I am pretty sure I was incorrect in saying that under the language of SB 714, parents had until the fall 2020 to get their kids vaccinated.
However, I do think that if SB 276 passes, the schools will continue rejecting vaccine medical exemptions for seemingly healthy kids, where the exemptions were written by the high profile physicians, all or most of who are under Board investigation. I think that the enactment of SB 276 (if it happens) and legislative process of 714 will act as an accelerant to that process of schools acting in ways not consistent with law, unless they get some kind of legal rebuke.
Clearer now? (probably not).
Rick Jaffe, Esq.