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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XVI
Education
Chapter 232
Compulsory School Attendance; Child Welfare
View Entire Chapter
Section 232.032, Florida Statutes 2001

232.032  Immunization against communicable diseases; school attendance requirements; exemptions.--

(1)  The Department of Health may adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce this section. The Department of Health, after consultation with the Department of Education, shall adopt rules governing the immunization of children against, the testing for, and the control of preventable communicable diseases. The rules must include procedures for exempting a child from immunization requirements. Immunizations shall be required for poliomyelitis, diphtheria, rubeola, rubella, pertussis, mumps, tetanus, and other communicable diseases as determined by rules of the Department of Health. The manner and frequency of administration of the immunization or testing shall conform to recognized standards of medical practice. The Department of Health shall supervise and secure the enforcement of the required immunization. Immunizations required by this section shall be available at no cost from the county health departments.

(2)  The school board of each district and the governing authority of each nonpublic school shall establish and enforce as policy that, prior to admittance to or attendance in a public or nonpublic school, grades preschool through 12, each child present or have on file with the school a certification of immunization for the prevention of those communicable diseases for which immunization is required by the Department of Health and further shall provide for appropriate screening of its pupils for scoliosis at the proper age. Such certification shall be made on forms approved and provided by the Department of Health and shall become a part of each student's permanent record, to be transferred when the student transfers, is promoted, or changes schools. The transfer of such immunization certification by Florida public schools shall be accomplished using the Florida Automated System for Transferring Education Records and shall be deemed to meet the requirements of this section.

(3)  The provisions of this section shall not apply if:

(a)  The parent or guardian of the child objects in writing that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with his or her religious tenets or practices;

(b)  A physician licensed under the provisions of chapter 458 or chapter 459 certifies in writing, on a form approved and provided by the Department of Health, that the child should be permanently exempt from the required immunization for medical reasons stated in writing, based upon valid clinical reasoning or evidence, demonstrating the need for the permanent exemption;

(c)  A physician licensed under the provisions of chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 certifies in writing, on a form approved and provided by the Department of Health, that the child has received as many immunizations as are medically indicated at the time and is in the process of completing necessary immunizations;

(d)  The Department of Health determines that, according to recognized standards of medical practice, any required immunization is unnecessary or hazardous; or

(e)  An authorized school official issues a temporary exemption, for a period not to exceed 30 school days, to permit a child who transfers into a new county to attend class until his or her records can be obtained. A homeless child, as defined in s. 228.041, shall be given a temporary exemption for 30 school days. The public school health nurse or authorized nonpublic school official is responsible for followup of each such child until proper documentation or immunizations are obtained. An exemption for 30 days may be issued for a child who enters a juvenile justice program to permit the child to attend class until his or her records can be obtained or until the immunizations can be obtained. An authorized juvenile justice official is responsible for followup of each child who enters a juvenile justice program until proper documentation or immunizations are obtained.

(4)(a)  No person licensed by this state as a physician or nurse shall be liable for any injury caused by his or her action or failure to act in the administration of a vaccine or other immunizing agent pursuant to the provisions of this section if the person acts as a reasonably prudent person with similar professional training would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.

(b)  No member of a school board, or any of its employees, or member of a governing board of a nonpublic school, or any of its employees, shall be liable for any injury caused by the administration of a vaccine to any student who is required to be so immunized or for a failure to diagnose scoliosis pursuant to the provisions of this section.

(5)  The parents or guardians of any child admitted to or in attendance at a Florida public or nonpublic school, grades preschool through 12, are responsible for assuring that the child is in compliance with the provisions of this section.

(6)  Each public school, kindergarten, or preschool, and each nonpublic school, kindergarten, or preschool shall be required to provide to the county health department director or administrator annual reports of compliance with the provisions of this section. Reports shall be completed on forms provided by the Department of Health for each preschool, kindergarten, and other grade as specified; and the reports shall include the status of children who were admitted at the beginning of the school year. After consultation with the Department of Education, the Department of Health shall establish by administrative rule the dates for submission of these reports, the grades for which the reports shall be required, and the forms to be used.

(7)  The presence of any of the communicable diseases for which immunization is required by the Department of Health in a Florida public or nonpublic school shall permit the county health department director or administrator or the State Health Officer to declare a communicable disease emergency. The declaration of such emergency shall mandate that all children in attendance in the school who are not in compliance with the provisions of this section be identified by the district school board or by the governing authority of the nonpublic school; and the school health and immunization records of such children shall be made available to the county health department director or administrator. Those children identified as not being immunized against the disease for which the emergency has been declared shall be temporarily excluded from school by the district school board, or the governing authority, until such time as is specified by the county health department director or administrator.

(8)  The school board of each district and the governing authority of each private school shall:

(a)  Refuse admittance to any child otherwise entitled to admittance to kindergarten, or any other initial entrance into a Florida public or nonpublic school, who is not in compliance with the provisions of subsection (2).

(b)  Temporarily exclude from attendance any student who is not in compliance with the provisions of subsection (2).

(9)  The provisions of this section do not apply to those persons admitted to or attending adult education classes unless the adult students are under 21 years of age.

History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 71-283; s. 39, ch. 77-147; s. 10, ch. 79-288; s. 1, ch. 80-79; s. 5, ch. 81-283; s. 97, ch. 83-217; s. 4, ch. 86-220; s. 31, ch. 91-105; s. 1, ch. 94-320; s. 1540, ch. 95-147; s. 25, ch. 97-101; s. 22, ch. 97-190; s. 14, ch. 97-237; s. 1, ch. 98-151; s. 3, ch. 2000-137; s. 4, ch. 2001-98.

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