School District of Philadelphia Partners with Health Organizations to Provide Students with Access to State Required Student Immunizations
In an effort to create a foundation for strong student attendance, the District has created partnerships to provide access and supports for students to get immunized for 2022-2023 school year
PHILADELPHIA, PA— In conjunction with National Immunization Awareness Month, the School District of Philadelphia, Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. (DVCH) and CityLife Health are helping families access free, timely, state-required immunizations to protect their children’s health.
CityLife Health will be offering students, including those who are uninsured and undocumented, the opportunity to receive these immunizations and the optional COVID-19 vaccine at four mega-sites on the District’s Back-to-School Bus Tour and at their clinic locations. DVCH is providing back-to-school immunization clinics at the Maria de los Santos Health Center.
“It is important to collaborate with healthcare organizations to reduce barriers and for our families to access health care needs, like immunizations,” said Kendra McDow, MD, MPH, FAAP, system medical officer at the School District of Philadelphia. “Not only are these immunizations mandated by the state, we also know that a student’s health can affect things like their attendance and academics. By providing access to a layer of protection against certain illnesses, we can reduce disruptions to learning.”
As required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, students are required to follow their local and state vaccination schedule to attend schools. Specifically, students are required to be immunized (or show proof of an appointment to be immunized) by August 29, 2022, unless the parent or guardian has completed the exemption from immunization. By law, any student who is out of compliance with the state-mandated vaccination requirements by the first day of school will not be allowed to attend school until the requirements have been met, even if they are enrolled in Philadelphia Virtual Academy. Following a five day grace period from August 29 through September 2, students will be excluded from school, resulting in being marked as an unexcused absence daily until their immunization records are updated.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remind people of all ages about the importance of vaccinations. To help keep students healthy and on track to return to school, the District and health partners like DVCH and City Life Health are working to reach children who need to receive routine vaccinations