Scores of Sacramento area students were sent home from school this week after they showed up for kindergarten and seventh grade without proof of vaccination.
In the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, 145 students out of about 3,200 starting kindergarten and seventh grade were sent home Tuesday on the first day of school for lack of immunization records, according to spokesman Daniel Thigpen.
A new state law that took effect July 1 eliminated personal- and religious-belief exemptions for families that opted to avoid vaccinations for their children. Under the new law, students entering the two checkpoint years of kindergarten and seventh grade are now required to show proof of vaccination. The requirement also applies to students who transfer into a district.
Thigpen said the Folsom Cordova district was hoping that many of the students sent home on Tuesday – 72 children from kindergarten and 73 from seventh grade – had received shots at vaccination clinics and returned to class this week. As of Friday, 98 students remained out of class – 37 in kindergarten and 61 in seventh grade.
In the Elk Grove Unified School District, classes started throughout the week. Spokeswoman Xanthi Pinkerton said the district identified 23 kindergartners and 110 seventh-graders who lacked proof of immunization that is required to attend school. The district has close to 10,000 students in the two grade levels.
By the start of school, the district had identified 157 students who were unvaccinated out of 1,462 kindergarteners and seventh-graders, he said. On that day, 103 unvaccinated students arrived at school, Sanders said. He said their parents either returned that day with the proper paperwork or took their children to one of the district’s two clinics – a stationary clinic at Natomas High School or a mobile clinic at a middle school.Since then, Sanders said, the district has been working to reach the 54 students to see if they need help. Some turned out to have transferred to other districts.Immunizations have been required in California schools since 1962, starting with the polio vaccine, according to the California Department of Public Health. School districts were first required to track student immunizations in 1978.