As families prepare for their children's summer vacation, Pleasanton middle school administrators are reminding parents that incoming seventh-graders next school year will need certain vaccines before the start of school.
Students entering seventh grade are required to have a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine and two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine before entering seventh grade at any California public school, Pleasanton school officials said in emails to parents this week.
While most students received these vaccines prior to the start of school, Gov. Jerry Brown recently eliminated an exemption to the requirement on the basis of religion or personal beliefs. As of Jan. 1, all public school students must have these vaccines upon certain benchmarks, including seventh grade.
All exemptions will remain on file with the Pleasanton Unified School District until a student reaches those benchmarks, which also includes kindergarten. Seventh-graders who have not received the immunizations will not be allowed to start school until proof of vaccination is submitted, the district stated.
"By eliminating the personal belief exemption, (Senate Bill) 277 will increase the vaccination rates of our students," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement when the bill was signed.
"These rates have dropped so low during the past few years that the risk of disease outbreaks has risen significantly," he added. "At the same time, the bill provides educational options for families that decide against vaccinating their children."
The reasons some parents had opted for a vaccination exemption varied, but some claimed they were concerned that certain vaccines were linked to the onset of autism -- a theory that has been discredited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.