The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Miscellaneous Laws

Immunization of School Students

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-501 -38-508

The Law: This chapter of the Code requires schools to obtain a certification of immunization before admitting any student, unless they fall under an exception. Exceptions are granted for students who object in good faith for religious beliefs and submit this objection in writing to the chief school official. Also, a student may be exempt if they obtain a written certificate from a private physician or such that states that the immunization is inadvisable for medical reasons. This requirement is mandatory for all other students under the age of 26 and covers initial immunization and any boosters or re-immunizations required in accordance with standards issued by the public health authorities.

Duties: If a student does not have certification, the school must notify the student that: (1) he/she needs certification; (2) that the school may not admit the student until they do so; (3) that immunization can be done by a private physician or the public health authorities; and (4) how to contact these authorities to learn when and where the service can be performed. However, failure to comply with this duty does not subject the school or school official to liability in damages. See D.C. Code Ann. § 38-504. In addition, the school may not allow the student to attend school for more than 10 days without certification unless the student is undergoing a series of treatments that will extend beyond the 10 days and the school receives written notification that the immunization is in progress.




updated 11-1-18