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Harrisburg Releases Updated Immunization Info (9-8-17)
As you are likely aware, on August 1, 2017, new requirements for school immunizations went into effect for the 2017-18 school year. These new regulations shorten the provisional enrollment period for students who are not fully immunized from eight months to five days, and update some vaccination requirements for school-age children. The regulations apply for all students in Pennsylvania’s K-12 schools, including public and private schools. Additional information regarding these new regulations is available on the PA Department of Health’s webpage: http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Immunizations/School/Pages/default.aspx.
The Department has recently updated its basic education circular (BEC) regarding School Immunizations to reflect requirements under Pennsylvania’s new health regulations. This revised BEC aims to address many of the questions that PDE has received from local educational agencies (LEAs) regarding implementation of these new requirements. The attached BEC is also available on PDE’s website: http://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/Codes%20and%20Regulations/Basic-Education-Circulars.aspx#tab-1.
Additional questions regarding the guidance and recommendations contained within the BEC should be directed to Jeanette Medina, School Services Office, at 717-214-9755 or RA-PDE-SchoolService@pa.gov. Questions related to the new school immunization requirements and available resources should be directed to the PA Department of Health’s Division of Immunizations at 717-787-5681.
State Board Approves Chapter 11 Revisions
At its January meeting, the State Board of Education approved revisions to Chapter 11 of its regulations, pertaining to immunization. These changes will bring the regulations into compliance with those adopted earlier by the Department of Health. The major change is the reduction in the amount of time students have to complete immunizations before being terminated from school. (Updated 1/14/17)
General Assembly Education Leaders
Appointments to the General Assembly’s Education Committees for the new term are as follows: Senate Republican Chair – John Eichelberger; Senate Democratic Chair – Andrew Dinniman; House Republican Chair – Dave Hickernell; House Democratic Chair James Roebuck. These are the individuals who will be providing leadership in the field of education for the next two years and to whom your concernes need to be addressed. (Updated 1/6/17)
School Performance Profiles Recalled
Once again PDE has had to recall the School Performance Profiles due to errors in calculating school scores. These errors resulted from incomplete data such as Keystone test scores, academic grades, and PSAT participation rates. Such recalls have become a regular feature of the SPP’s despite PDE’s best efforts to correct the problems. The latest issues underscore the fact that district’s cannot rely upon the SPP’s for planning purposes. (Updated 10/21/16)
Dr. Wil Del Pilar Heads Higher Education Office at PDE
Dr. Del Pilar has an extensive background in education, having served in various positions at PDE, Penn State, the University of Florida and other locations. With a degree in school counseling, he might be considered more familiar with the issues in the Pupil Services field than most previous Deputy Secretary’s. Dr. Del Pilar is concerned with the dramatic decrease in teacher certification candidates, which amounts to 55% in the past five years. The decrease for African-American and Hispanic candidates is even greater, both exceeding 60%. (Updated 7/19/16)
State Board Considers MOU Changes
The State Board of Education is conducting its biennial review of the provisions for Memoranda of Understanding between schools and law enforcement agencies, as set forth in Chapter 10 of Regulations (Safe Schools). At this point it appears unlikely that any changes will be recommended to the model MOU. (Updated 7/19/16)
New Certifications for Educational Specialists
PDE has developed two new certificates in the educational specialist area. The first is School Speech and Language Pathologist PK-12. It will permit licensed clinical pathologists to practice in the schools [Reference CSPG #86]. The second is for an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, who must hold either an Orientation and Mobility Specialist certificate issued by the Academy for Certification of Vision or National Orientation and Mobility Certification issued by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board. [Reference CSPG #202] A new certificate for a Behavior Analyst is also under development. (Updated 1/14/16)
Revised Immunization Regulations
The PA Department of Health is preparing to issue updated immunization regulations for school children. One of the major changes will be elimination of the 8-month provisional admission provision. This would now be reduced to 5 days for vaccines requiring multiple doses and 0 days for those requiring a single dose. The PDE is reviewing these changes since they will require revisions to Chapter 11 of State Board Regulations as well. Full details are included in the upcoming March PAPSA Manual Update. (Updated 1/14/16)