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Post Hurricane Support for Vaccine Exemptions and School Enrollment Rights

Location: TX
Title: Post Hurricane Support for Vaccine Exemptions and School Enrollment Rights
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Dear Texas NVIC Advocacy Team Members,

Many parts of Texas have suffered severe flooding and damage where families within our community have had their lives drastically affected. This is just the start of a challenging journey ahead recovering from Hurricane Harvey. 

If your family has been displaced and/or your property damaged and need to find new health care practitioners that will take care of your family and respect your vaccine refusal or delay decisions, we can check in with our community to find you the referrals you need where you need them.  If you are reading this and have a great referral for a health care provider that is supportive of your rights to decline or delay vaccines, please let us know their names, contact information, and location so we can pass that information on to families in need. You can reach Dawn in Austin and Rebecca in Houston by emailing TXDirector@nvicadvocacy.org

If you have become temporarily homeless or your school has become damaged and your child needs to re-enroll somewhere else, please know you have rights. 

“Students who are experiencing homelessness are to be enrolled immediately. Districts cannot require students experiencing homelessness to provide proof of residency, immunizations, birth certificates guardianship documents, or any other sort of required paperwork before enrolling. Requiring missing paperwork or any other delay to enrollment is a violation of the McKinney-Vento Act.” 

http://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Schools/Support_for_At-Risk_Schools_and_Students/Education_of_Homeless_Students/

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a letter on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 regarding immunization records and enrollment of students displaced by Hurricane Harvey.  As a reminder, students displaced by the hurricane are considered homeless and receive immediate enrollment even without the normally required paperwork (including immunizations). The text of the letter is as follows:

“The purpose of this letter is to remind school districts of the current immunization rules that affect students displaced by Hurricane Harvey and to provide information on how schools can obtain immunization histories for transfer students.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) rules relating to immunization requirements for school entry allow a student transferring from one Texas school to another to be provisionally enrolled without proof of required immunizations for up to 30 days. (Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part I, Chapter 97, Subchapter B, Section 97.69.) As the 30-day period draws closer to an end, if there appears to be a significant number of displaced students who are still having trouble obtaining their immunization records, DSHS will consider whether a short additional provisional enrollment period is possible. The 30-day time period begins the day the student begins attending classes at the new school.

Additionally, students displaced by Hurricane Harvey and who are considered homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Act may be admitted to attend school without documentation of required immunizations for up to 30 days. (Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part I, Chapter 97, Subchapter B, Section 97.66(b).) For more information regarding specific guidelines for homeless students, contact the Texas Homeless Education Office (1-800-446-3142 or www.theotx.org).”

The Texas Homeless Education Office has put together a list of Local, State, and Federal Resources to Assist in Dealing with Hurricane Harvey.  http://www.theotx.org/local-state-federal-resources-aid-dealing-hurricane-harvey/

If your school was damaged and can’t transfer records and you need to request a new conscientious/religious vaccine exemption form that will need to be submitted to the school prior to the end of the 30 day grace period (provisional enrolment period), there are several ways to obtain an affidavit.   (the information below was compiled from: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/school/exemptions.aspx#conscience)

A person claiming exclusion for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, from a required immunization may only obtain the affidavit form by submitting a request (via online form, mail, fax or hand-delivery) to the department. The request must include following information:

  • Full name of child or student

  • Child's or student's date of birth (month/day/year)

  • Complete mailing address (use an address that is not compromised by flooding)

  • Number of requested affidavit forms (not to exceed 5).

    Affidavit form requests will be processed and mailed within one week from the receipt of the request. If additional information is needed in order to process the affidavit, you will be notified.

    Email or telephone requests cannot be processed. Requests for affidavit forms must be submitted to the department through one of the following methods:

Obtaining an Affidavit Online

Affidavits may be requested via the Immunization Unit Affidavit Request website.

Obtaining an Affidavit By Mail

A written request for an affidavit may be sent through the United States Postal Service (or other commercial carrier) to:

Texas Department of State Health Services

Immunization Branch, Mail Code 1946

P.O. Box 149347

Austin, Texas 78714-9347

Obtaining an Affidavit By Fax

Fax written requests for affidavits to: (512) 776-7544.

Obtaining an Affidavit In Person

Requests for an affidavit may be made in-person at:

Texas Department of State Health Services

1100 West 49th Street

Austin, Texas 78756

NOTE: No requests will be filled at the time of hand-delivery. All affidavit forms will be mailed to you via U.S. Postal Service so use an address that is able to receive mail.

Please share this information with families you know who may need it and are not able to access the internet right now.  This letter is also published in the announcement section on the Texas state page on the NVIC Advocacy portal.  http://NVICAdvocacy.org

God Bless Texas!

Sincerely,

Dawn Richardson

Rebecca Rex

NVIC Advocacy Team

National Vaccine Information Center

http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org

https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/Members/ContactUs.aspx

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) works diligently to prepare and disseminate our legislative advocacy action alerts and supporting materials.  We request that organizations and members of the public forward our alerts in their original form to assure consistent and accurate messaging and effective action. Please acknowledge NVIC as originators of this work when forwarding to members of the public and like-minded organizations. To receive alerts immediately, register  at http://NVICAdvocacy.org, a website dedicated to this sole purpose and provided as a free public service by NVIC. 


Created By: Dawn
Create Date: 8/31/2017
Publish Date: 8/31/2017
Expires: 12/31/2018
Type: News
Location: TX
Module Id: 1397
Item Id: 1121

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