Provisions for Exemption from Immunization Requirement

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 51
POLICY CODE: JC

In accordance with Maine law, Title 20-A, M.R.S.A. Sections 6352 to 6356 and Maine Department of Education rule, Code of Maine Regulations (05-071 CMR Chap. 126), all children in grades K-12 must have proof of immunization against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), and varicella (chicken pox) or acceptable evidence of immunity against these diseases in order to be present in school. Unvaccinated students will be excluded from school in the event of an outbreak of one of these diseases for which they have not been vaccinated.

Parents have the option to write a letter requesting that their child be exempt from this law on very specific grounds, including religious, philosophical or medical grounds, as defined in the law. See Title 20-A M.R.S.A. Section 6355.

If parents are granted an exemption, the law states that the unvaccinated child will be excluded from school if there is evidence of the relevant disease in the school or the child’s community. See Title 20-A M.R.S.A.  Section 6356. Under such circumstances, the unvaccinated child will be excluded from school until such time as the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) determines it is safe for the child to return to school. The length of time is determined by the Maine CDC and varies based on the type and period of outbreak. Each new case triggers a new exclusion timeline.

When an unvaccinated child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a Section 504 accommodation plan, the school administrative unit (SAU) must convene a meeting to discuss and develop a plan for meeting the child’s educational needs during the exclusion period.

Any changes to the IEP or Section 504 plan during the time of exclusion would require a Written Notice to be issued to the parents by the SAU. Any special education services provided in the child’s home or a neutral setting must be provided by a certified special education teacher, a certified regular education teacher, or by an educational technician III per Chapter 101, Maine Unified Special Education Regulations Sect. X.2.A(4).

For more information, contact Nancy Dube, school nurse consultant, at Nancy.Dube@Maine.gov or 207-624-6688; or Susan Parks at Susan.Parks@Maine.gov or at 207-624-6644.

2 responses to “Provisions for Exemption from Immunization Requirement

  1. Brittney Glidden

    I have been looking specifically for a “How To” related to getting philosophical exemption for my children against immunizations. More specifically, where would I bring the letter requesting exemption, what information should be included on it, does it need to be notarized.. etc. Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated.

    • Thanks for your question on this topic, Brittney. I have spoken with Nancy Dube, Maine DOE School Nurse Consultant, and here’s what she had to say.

      “Please write your letter of exemption for philosophical reasons to the school nurse at the school your child attends. In your letter, clearly state your philosophical reason. You do not need to get it notarized. The school nurse in your child’s school can answer this and other health questions.”

      If you have further questions, feel free to contact Nancy directly at nancy.dube@maine.gov.

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