Dear homeschool families,
We are grateful to God for the positive changes that have been made within the last two weeks to the Non-Medical Immunization Exemption form.
CHEC would like to give a special word of thanks to Mike Donnelly of HSLDA, who has been instrumental in bringing about these improvements.
I would encourage you to read HSLDA’s full update on this issue HERE.
Please take special notice of the specific direction given to your family which differs depending on whether you file a notice of intent or enroll your children in an independent private school.
While the most problematic issue with this form has now been corrected, we would like to underline the fact that, as noted by HSLDA, there are still issues with this form with which we are concerned.
First and foremost, the current Colorado statute only requires that parents who seek a non-medical immunization exemption for their child that is enrolled in an independent private school submit to the student’s school a statement of exemption signed by one parent. The statute also says that the document should state that the parent has a personal or religious belief that is opposed to immunizations.
In an August 9th, 2016 letter from Mike Donnelly of HSLDA to Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Mike Donnelly said the following-
“Additionally, we challenge the Department’s authority to create the exemption form at all. We note that C.R.S 25-4-903 only requires a ‘statement of exemption.’
“The Department has regulatory authority to decide how often the statement of exemption may be required, but nowhere has the legislature deferred to the Department to create a burdensome, unconstitutional form that requires people to make statements that are contrary to their religious or personal beliefs.”
CHEC and HSLDA seriously question the Department’s authority to mandate the use of an official non-medical immunization exemption form.
Furthermore, here are two additional issues with the form that could impact those who use it.
1. The form currently implies that parents need to sign the CIIS information sharing authorization box located at the bottom of the form.
The Attorney General’s office has stated to HSLDA that parents do not need to sign this box.
However, because a statement at the beginning of the form says “Please complete all required fields below; incomplete forms will not be accepted. All fields are required unless noted optional” and because the CIIS information sharing authorization box in NOT marked “optional,” parents and schools may be misled to think that the box must be signed in order for the form to be accepted.
HSDLA asked the Attorney General’s office to add the word “optional” to this authorization box. Their request was not granted.
If your school provides you with the Non-Medical Immunization Exemption Form, please know that you are NOT required to sign the CIIS data sharing authorization box.
2. The form currently implies that if a parent does not sign the CIIS data sharing authorization box at the bottom of the form, information on the form will not be transmitted to the CIIS since he or she is withholding permission for information sharing.
However, the fine print at the very bottom of the form provides a link to the webpage that outlines the procedures for opting out of the CIIS. The procedures clearly state that, in order to complete the opt-out process, the parent must complete the CIIS Opt-Out Form and the parent must mail or fax a signed copy of the CIIS Opt-Out Form to the CIIS office and must keep one signed copy of the form for their records.
In other words, according to the official opt-out procedures, withholding one’s signature from the CIIS data sharing authorization box located at the bottom of the Non-Medical Immunization Exemption Form does NOT constitute an opt-out from the CIIS and, per Health Department regulation, “the school must submit the exemption information to the immunization tracking system” “If the school chooses to use the immunization tracking system to monitor compliance with the school law.”
If your school provides you with the Non-Medical Exemption Form and you choose not to sign the CIIS information sharing authorization box, your information may still be transmitted to the CIIS unless you formally opt-out following the stated procedure.
Finally, as you may know, we are working hard to build our Homeschool Freedom Fund to enable us to hire a legislative liaison who will be on guard for all potential dangers to homeschool and family liberty.
Please consider joining with us in this continued battle for homeschool and family liberty by donating to the Homeschool Freedom Fund.
Thank you for standing with us!
CHEC Executive Director