Students may need to register, provide proof of immunization before start of school

Students may need to register, provide proof of immunization before start of school
Students in South Carolina schools must receive required vaccinations or obtain a religious or medical exemption, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control. (Source: Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry school districts are preparing for the new school year and students new to their districts need to make sure they follow their district’s registration policy.

Each individual school district has their own policy, so parents should visit their district’s website for specific requirements.

In most cases, new students will need to provide a state immunization form, a birth certificate and a photo ID of their parent or guardian.

In some cases, they may be asked for withdrawal papers for their previous school and their last report card.

Parents will also be required to provide proof of residency in their school district. The most common proof is a current utility bill that includes their service address.

For returning students, a proof of residency may also be required.

South Carolina lists immunization requirements

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has released the 2019-2020 immunization requirements.

Children who will enroll in childcare, nursery or preschool programs (4K and younger), or any licensed child care center must be up to date on the following shots based on their age:

  • Hepatitis B
  • DTaP (whooping cough, tetanus)
  • Polio
  • Pnuemococcal (pneumonia)
  • Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib)
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)

Children who are fully vaccinated by age 2 are protected against 14 harmful diseases, according to DHEC’s website.

A new requirement for 2020 states all children born on or after Jan. 1, 2019, will need two hepatitis A shots for childcare attendance. The Hepatitis A vaccine is given starting at age 12 months followed by a second shot six months later.

Students enrolled in grades 5K to 12 in both public and private schools must be up to date on the following shots based on their grade level:

  • Hepatitis B
  • DTaP (whooping cough, tetanus)
  • Polio
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Tdap (whooping cough booster required before 7th grade)

DHEC officials ay the vaccines are important to protect students from diseases such as measles, chicken pox and whooping cough, which can spread easily in schools.

All children starting 5K in 2020 will also need two hepatitis A shots.

Medical and religious exemptions are the only available immunization exemptions in South Carolina.

A religious exemption may be granted to any student whose parents, parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis signs and has notarized the appropriate section (Statement of Religious Objection) of the South Carolina Certificate of Religious Exemption. The South Carolina Certificate of Religious Exemption may only be obtained at a county public health department. Forms cannot be e-mailed or mailed.

DHEC’s website states that children who have a religious or medical exemption against vaccination may attend daycare or school. However, if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease in their daycare or school, they may have to be excluded from school for their protection until it is determined that it is safe for them to return.

Besides your child’s primary care physician, you can also get your child vaccinated at DHEC health departments. For an appointment, parents should call 855-472-3432.

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