Dear Prince George Families:
Here are some important reminders about the Health Requirements for Student Enrollment Reentry for the academic school year of 2020-2021.
Kindergarten/Elementary Physical Requirements for School Reentry:
Although the COVID-19 pandemic initially disrupted or limited services offered by local health departments and providers, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that parents proceed with well-child physicals and immunizations through their local health care providers. Planning in advance to complete these state requirements for school enrollment will ensure a smooth and safe start when schools reopen.
The Code of Virginia requires that children receive a comprehensive physical examination
(§ 22.1-270) within 12 months prior to the start of school and be adequately immunized (§ 22.1-271.2) before entering public kindergarten or elementary school.
Tdap Requirement for Entry into 7th Grade:
In April 2018, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) changed the minimum recommended age for the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) adolescent booster vaccine from 10 to 11 years. As a result, a routine adolescent booster dose of Tdap should not be administered to students younger than 11 years of age.
To align with current ACIP recommendations, the 2019 General Assembly passed HB 2215 that changes the grade in which students receive Tdap vaccine from sixth to seventh grade. Students who received a Tdap immunization at age ten will not need another Tdap vaccine to enter seventh grade.
This legislation became effective July 1, 2019, and amends the Code of Virginia § 32.1-46.A.4 so that it will require: “A minimum of three or more properly spaced doses of acellular pertussis vaccine. One dose shall be administered on or after the fourth birthday. A booster dose shall be administered prior to entry into the seventh grade.”
HPV for Girls Entering Sixth Grade:
The 2007 General Assembly passed legislation that requires sixth grade girls to receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series. However, as the parent or guardian you, may choose for your child not to receive the HPV vaccine. The law also requires the Virginia
Department of Health (VDH) to provide parents/guardians of rising sixth graders with information about the vaccine. In 2011 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made an additional recommendation that boys of the same age routinely receive HPV Vaccine.
Healthcare providers diagnose about 40,000 new cases of cancer related to HPV each year. The HPV vaccine can help to protect your child from the nine strains of HPV most associated with cancer. This includes cervical cancer in women and cancers found in the mouth and back of the throat in men. The HPV vaccine works best when it is given to a child prior to exposure to the virus. Just as having your child buckle up when riding in the care or wearing a helmet when biking protects their health, the HPV vaccine protects children from HPV associated cancer that may develop later in life (State Health Commissioner, 2019).
After reviewing the HPV information provided in this letter, as the parent or guardian you may choose for your child not to receive the HPV vaccine. VDH strongly recommends that children be vaccinated per CDC recommendations. Please contact your health care provider to determine when your child can receive the vaccine series and discuss any questions you may have. HPV vaccine is available from your health care provider, local health departments or at military clinics.
Here are additional resources available for families of uninsured and underinsured children or those impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The VDH, Vaccines for Children (VFC) map indicates participating providers for immunizations by region. Parents may contact local clinics directly for information and hours of service.
- The Virginia Community Healthcare Association works with a statewide network of clinics that bill for public and some private insurance. Many clinics provide a sliding scale for those without insurance and offer free immunizations in partnership with the VDH.
- The Virginia Association of Free Clinics are independent, nonprofit, volunteer-driven and community-based organizations. Each clinic sets its own eligibility requirements and guidelines, and all must be contacted directly for assistance.
Please provide all physical forms and immunization documentation to your child’s school to update your child’s school health records.
If you have any questions, please contact your school nurse.