Students and their families have had their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, with distance learning set to resume or even underway, here comes another curveball.
California law says students still need to prove they’ve been vaccinated before they can start online school.
No immunization, no enrollment — even for distance learning.
Fresno County interim public health officer Dr. Rais Vohra said at Wednesday’s coronavirus update that children’s immunization rates are lower this year, likely because parents fearing exposure to COVID-19 are reluctant to take them to the pediatrician’s office.
Last year, the compliance rate was 90% but this year it’s only 65%, Fresno Unified spokeswoman Nikki Henry said.
“We highly encourage all parents to get their students into their primary care doctor for immunizations as soon as possible,” she said.
Clovis Unified spokeswoman Kelly Avants said the district has seen an “uptick” in the number of seventh-graders who haven’t completed their immunizations.
According to the California Department of Education, kindergartners need to have five doses of immunization for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, four doses for polio, two for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), three for hepatitis B, and one for varicella (chickenpox).
Seventh-graders must have had one dose of immunization for tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap), and two doses for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
All children under age 18 who enter a California school for the first time or transfer between schools must present a written immunization record.
The first day of online school for Fresno and Clovis unified students is Monday.
Central Unified began distance learning on Wednesday.
GV Wire reporter Jim Jakobs contributed to this story.