Immunizations in Public School Setting
The school nurse is responsible for maintaining accurate documentation of all enrolled students immunizations and ensuring all immunization requirements are met. Montana’s immunization information system called imMTrax is a beneficial tool for finding the most current vaccine status of a student.
Montana Code Annotated
20-5-403. Immunization required -- release and acceptance of immunization records. (1) The governing authority of any school other than a postsecondary school may not allow a person to attend as a pupil unless the person:
(a) has been immunized against varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, rubella, mumps, and measles (rubeola) in the manner and with immunizing agents approved by the department;
(b) has been immunized against Haemophilus influenza type "b" before enrolling in a preschool if under 5 years of age;
(c) qualifies for conditional attendance; or
(d) files for an exemption.
(2) (a) The governing authority of a postsecondary school may not allow a person to attend as a pupil unless the person:
(i) has been immunized against rubella and measles (rubeola) in the manner and with immunizing agents approved by the department; or
(ii) files for an exemption.
(b) The governing authority of a postsecondary school may impose immunization requirements as a condition of attendance that are more stringent than those required by this part.
(3) A pupil who transfers from one school district to another may photocopy immunization records in the possession of the school of origin. The school district to which a pupil transfers shall accept the photocopy as evidence of immunization. Within 30 days after a transferring pupil ceases attendance at the school of origin, the school shall retain a certified copy for the permanent record and send the original immunization records for the pupil to the school district to which the pupil transfers.
History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 147, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 509, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 102, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 644, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 165, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 156, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 124, L. 2015.
Additional Montana School Immunization Information
Parents choosing not to vaccine their children will need to provide the school with either a Religious Exemption Form or Medical Exemption Form. Religious exemption forms need to be renewed and notarized at the beginning of each school year. Students not immunized may be removed from school in the event of certain communicable illness as outlined on the forms. Keep a list readily available and report to the public nurse if available in your area.
In the event a student is significantly behind on immunizations a Conditional Attendance Form will need to be completed by the student’s physician for the student to be eligible to remain in school.
National Association of School Nurses Position Statement~ Immunizations
It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) that immunizations are essential to primary prevention of disease from infancy through adulthood. Promotion of immunizations by the registered professional school nurse (hereinafter referred to as school nurse) is central to the public health focus of school nursing practice (American Nurses Association [ANA] & NASN, 2011). NASN supports the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vaccine recommendations that are adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (CDC, 2014a, 2014b). The school nurse is well-poised to create awareness and influence action to increase the uptake of mandated and recommended immunizations. The school nurse should use evidence-based immunization strategies, such as school-located vaccination clinics, reminders about vaccine schedules, state immunization information systems (IIS), strong vaccination recommendations, and vaccine education for students, staff, and families. Using these strategies will help reduce health-related barriers to learning (Guide to Community Preventive Services, 2008, 2009, 2010; Ylitalo, Lee, & Mehta, 2013; Bobo, Carlson, & Swaroop, 2013