SUPERINTENDENT INTERPRETATION
 
Interpretation's Date: November 20, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: IV. Students
 
Interpretation

November 20, 2001

Manny P. Arvon, Superintendent
Berkeley County Schools
401 South Queen Street
Martinsburg, West Virginia 25401

Dear Mr. Arvon:

This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated September 10, 2001 relative to the compulsory immunization of school children. In particular, you asked:

?whether a student, who has received one dose of a two dose immunization against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough, may attend school before receiving the final dose. Is your interpretation the same if the student is enrolling from outside the State of West Virginia??

You properly note that West Virginia Code ?16-3-4 is the applicable authority. The pertinent portions state that:

All children entering school for the first time in this state shall have been immunized against diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough. * * * *
No child or person shall be admitted or received in any of the schools of the state until he or she has been immunized as hereinafter provided or produces a certificate from a reputable physician showing that an immunization for diphtheria, polio, rubeola, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough has been done or is impossible or improper or other sufficient reason why such immunizations have not been done. * * * *
It shall be the duty of the health officer in counties having a full- time health officer to see that such persons are immunized before entering school: Provided, That persons enrolling from schools outside of the state may be provisionally enrolled under minimum criteria established by the director of the department of health so that the person's immunization may be completed while missing a minimum amount of school: Provided, however, That no person shall be allowed to enter school without at least one dose of each required vaccine.

Further guidance can be found in Title 64, Legislative Rule, Department of Health, Series 58 Immunization Criteria for Transfer Students, which states the following:

3.1. No transfer student, unless he or she has a medical exemption, shall be allowed to enter a West Virginia school without at least one dose of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine (DTP) or adult tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Td) or pediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DT) based on age appropriateness, one dose of live or killed poliomyelitis vaccine, one dose of measles vaccine and one dose of rubella vaccine.

3.2. Transfer students to West Virginia schools shall have ninety (90) days from the date of admission in which to complete a minimum of three doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine (DTP) or adult tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Td) or pediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DT) and three doses of poliomyelitis vaccine or be excluded from school.

No other guidelines have been passed either by the State Legislature or by Legislative Rule.

As a result, it is my opinion that a student, who has received one dose of the required immunizations listed above, may attend school before receiving the final doses and shall have ninety (90) days from the date of admission to complete the required doses. This interpretation is the same whether or not the student is enrolling from outside the State of West Virginia.

Hoping that I have been of service, I am,

Sincerely,

/s/

David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools
DS/rt