The 2020-2021 school year will soon begin the way it ended in South Florida: online.

And while your child may be temporarily learning through a computer screen instead of in a classroom, that doesn’t mean you should delay a trip to the doctor.

All public and private schoolchildren from kindergarten through 12th grade in Florida still need to get the necessary vaccines required to attend school — even if they are learning online, according to the Florida Department of Health.

And yes, this includes students who plan to remain in virtual school once kids can return to campus masked up for socially distanced learning.

Miami-Dade and Broward Public Schools are reminding parents that they need to make sure their children’s immunization records are up-to-date, or that exception requirements have been met, now that the school year is starting again, as usual.

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School officials say Florida also hasn’t issued any waivers on student immunization requirements because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This means that if your child attends public or private school in Miami-Dade, Broward or the Keys, you are still required by state law to have your children’s immunization documents filed with their school.

Why do kids need to get vaccines if they are learning from their living rooms?

Because the vaccines help give children the immunization they need to “protect themselves and other children from potentially harmful and even fatal, vaccine-preventable diseases” such as measles and whooping cough, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Health officials across the country have noticed a decline in children vaccinations during the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, including in South Florida which already ranked poorly for student immunizations when compared to other counties in the state pre-pandemic.

“The less children are vaccinated and brought up to date on childhood immunizations, the greater risk they pose to themselves, their families and their communities,” the Florida Department of Health told the Miami Herald last month. “An outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease could have devastating effects on communities.”


©2020 Miami Herald

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