ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : LS-09-018

Date Created : 09/30/2008


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals
other: School Nurses

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
Section:   Learning Services - Dr. Alice Barnes Rose, Assistant Commissioner
2008-2009 Immunization Requirements

Regulatory Authority:
Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-7-109, 6-18-702, 6-60-501 through 504, & 20-78-206

Contact Person:
Paula Smith

Phone Number:


The Arkansas Department of Health (DOH) released immunization requirements for Kindergarten through 12th grade effective January 1, 2008. Presently, the DOH is updating the survey and audit instruments for fall implementation. The following changes will occur, beginning with the 2008-2009 school year:

Surveys: The survey of student immunization records will be for Kindergarten and 7th grade students only. Transfer students will not be surveyed separately, but should be evaluated based on requirements for the grade in which the student is enrolled. Survey tools were mailed to all school districts as of September 5, 2008. Audits will be due back to the DOH by November 14, 2008. Surveys should be returned to: Arkansas Department of Health, Attn: Erma Breedlove, 4815 W. Markham, Slot 48, Little Rock, AR 72205.

Documentation of immunizations: In the Arkansas State Board of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Immunization Requirements under Section III.D.1.a, Documentation, states: “All schools, childcare facilities and colleges and universities may use the Arkansas Immunization/Health Record as a standard form for recording immunization information.” It also states: “Immunization records may be stored on a computer database, such as the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN). A copy of the original source document shall be placed in a permanent file. A printout of the immunization information in the APSCN file is allowed, but it must be accompanied by the source documentation. Using a printout from APSCN without source documentation would not be in compliance with the Rules and Regulations. However, attorneys for the DOH have stated that the printout (with the State Seal of Arkansas as a watermark) from the Immunization Registry (INC) is an official medical record and could be used for placement within a student’s file.

Varicella: (Chicken pox) requirements for Kindergarten and 7th grade were changed to only allow a physician/health care provider to provide a reliable history of disease in lieu of vaccine---history of a disease by a parent is no longer accepted.

KINDERGARTEN: Only a history of Varicella as documented by a physician or health care provider in a medical record will be accepted. Disease history from parents is not sufficient. A “health care provider” is defined as a health care professional licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the law of the state to administer health care in ordinary course of business or practices of a profession, as noted in, Ark. Code Ann. § 20-17-201(4). Therefore, a nurse would be considered a health care provider. Ark. Code Ann. § 17-87-101 et.seq. (per Arkansas Department of Health Attorney).

7th GRADE: Only a history of Varicella as documented by a physician or health care provider in a medical or school record will be accepted.

Polio: Eliminated the need for a dose of polio vaccine after the 4th birthday for kindergarten children with 4 doses or more of polio vaccine.

According to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-702, no child should be admitted to a public or private school of this state if the pupil has not been immunized from poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, red (rubeola) measles, and rubella or other diseases as designated by the State Board of Health, as evidenced by a certificate of a licensed physician or a public health department acknowledging the immunization. The responsibility for the enforcement of this rests equally with each school district of this state and the parent or guardian of the child or pupil, and each of them shall be separately and individually liable for permitting any violation of this section.

Health Department Audits of Kindergarten, 7th Grade and 50 Random records from Grade 1-6 and 8-12: School nurses are responsible for all students in other grades (including exchange students) being compliant with the school immunization law even though only Kindergarten and 7th grade will be surveyed. However, in addition to Kindergarten and 7th grade, health department nurses will audit 50 (fifty) records at random and will select the 50 records from any and all of the other grades. For 1st through 6th and 8th through 12th grades, school nurses should follow the requirements for 7th grade found as an attachment to this memorandum “Summary of Immunization Requirements for Kindergarten through 12th Grade”. EXCEPTION: there are no varicella requirements for Grades 1-6 and 8-12.

Schools with Preschools or Pre-K: The children must follow the immunization requirements in Table 1 of the Rules and Regulations of childcare facilities. The Arkansas State Board of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Immunization Requirements are attached to this memorandum. Please see the Revised Immunization Requirement Chart for Childcare/Pre-School provided as an attachment to this memorandum, as the pneumococcal requirement for ages 16-72 months has been removed. This is the same revised chart being used by the Department of Human Services.


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