Mackenzie Mays at Politico:
Nearly all California students must get vaccinated after state leaders tightened laws following the 2014 Disneyland measles scare, but at least one loophole remains: new hybrid programs known as charter home schools.
Across the country, state leaders and health advocates have aggressively pushed for new vaccination requirements, especially after the U.S. this year experienced its highest number of measles cases since 1992. California has been at the forefront, enacting a law last month that cracks down on doctors known for approving scores of waivers so unvaccinated children can attend school.
But there remain ways to get around the law and still receive a taxpayer-funded education, even in California. Though many home-based charters bring students together for regular classroom instruction or activities, the state doesn't uniformly enforce vaccination laws for such programs.
The state's strict vaccination laws, both written by State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician, apply to all schools except for “home-based private schools and students enrolled in an independent study program." Charter schools are public. But for the increasing number of programs that blend home instruction and class time, the rules blur.
California doesn't have a clear interpretation of whether home-based charter schools qualify for the exemption, and some charter programs have relied on that ambiguity to skirt vaccination requirements.
A POLITICO analysis of state data shows kindergarten classes at 41 percent of charter schools do not have “herd immunity,” because fewer than 95 percent of these students are up-to-date on their vaccinations. This is compared with 20 percent of similar public non-charter schools for which data is available.