Posted on: September 2, 2015
On August 3, 2015, Public Act 099-0249 was enacted that changes the process for parents or legal guardians seeking a religious exemption to any required immunizations or examinations for their children. The new law requires that parents or legal guardians who object on religious grounds to complete a Certificate of Religious Exemption, which must also be signed by the physician, advanced practice nurse or physician assistant responsible for performing the student examination.
The healthcare provider signature on this new form attests to informing the parent or legal guardian of the benefits of immunization and the health risks of not vaccinating the student. The certificate also requires the parent or guardian signature to attest to understanding that their child may be excluded from school in the case of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak or exposure, Use of the Certificate of Religious Exemption form is required beginning October 16, 2015 for all students entering kindergarten, sixth (6th) or ninth (9th) grades when the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is requesting a religious exemption.
This form also must be submitted to request religious exemption for any student enrolling to enter any public, charter, private or parochial preschool, kindergarten, elementary or secondary school on or after October 16, 2015. This effective date takes into account that most parents have already completed their child’s physical exam/immunization requirements or submitted their religious objection letter for the 2015-16 school year and therefore, will not have to return to their physician to fill out the form for the Oct. 15 deadline. For common questions regarding religious exemptions please see the Certificate of Exemptions Q&A.