When Pleasant Hill public school students return to the classroom on August 29, kids going into kindergarten and the 7th grade will be required to show proof of various vaccinations. The same is true for students at private schools. While school officials use phrases like "no shots, no school" to underscore the message, the reality is not so strict.
Parents or guardians can obtain an exemption from vaccination requirements for medical reasons or personal beliefs. To get a personal belief exemption (PBE) all a parent needs to do is sign an affadavit in front of a school secretary.
Last year, 23 students entered kindergarten with a PBE on file. With 645 kindergarten students enrolled in Pleasant Hill's six elementary schools, that's a PBE rate of 3.5 percent compared to a statewide rate of 2.3 percent, according to the California Department of Public Health.
It's not in Pleasant Hill, but the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante has one of the highest PBE rates in the state with 68 percent.
A bill in the state legislature aims to make it tougher for parents to get a PBE by requiring an additional signature from a doctor or medical professional. Opponents of the proposed legislation argue that doctors tend to be dismissive of parental qualms about vaccinations. Some public health professionals note that the risk of not vaccinating a child is only acceptable when the vast majority of children are vaccinated and diseases like whooping cough are relatively rare.
What do you think? Scroll down to take our poll.Elementary School Kindergarten Enrollment Medical Exemptions ME% Personal Belief Exemptions PBE% Fair Oaks 101 0 0 1 1% Gregory Gardens 71 0 0 1 1% Pleasant Hill 126 1 1% 2 2% Sequoia 92 0 0 5 5% Strandwood 124 0 0 8 6% Valhalla 95 0 0 6
6%Christ the King(Private) 36 0 0 0
0California Total 529,400 0.16% 2.39%
Source: California Department of Public Health
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