August 26, 2021

Ohio K-12 Vaccine Exemptions Law

By Raina Cornell, Esq.

The State of Ohio has Medical and Reasons of Conscience exemptions, which includes Religious Convictions. Exemptions for reason of conscience, including religious conviction require a signed written statement from the parent or guardian submitted to the school upon enrollment. There is no pre-written statement or form that you are required to submit for public school.

Click the following links to download a sample statement for exemption, short form and a sample statement for exemption, long form.

Consider using the short form exemption, as this is all that the school should require.   However, if the school responds with a request that you include language that acknowledges your child may be excluded from attendance in the event of an outbreak of an illness or disease, then the sample statement for exemption, long form could be used.

It is highly recommended that you send your statement certified mail requiring a signature receipt card to be returned to you. This will provide proof that your statement was received.

What if you have turned in a vaccine exemption statement for your K-12 child yet the school is giving you a hard time? They are requesting that you sign a specific form, or stating they never received your exemption statement. What can you do now?

If the school is failing to communicate exemptions in written or verbal notifications or requesting that you sign a specific form for an exemption, consider the following:

  1. Read the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) Review of 3313.671. A written and signed statement by a parent is all that is required. You are not required to fill out or complete a specific form. A member of the clergy is not required to sign or support the parent’s written statement. Provide a copy of the Ohio LSC Review to the school by downloading and printing: LSC Review 3313.671.pdf.
  2. Call or email the school nurse or other staff who is failing to communicate exemptions or denying your written statement. Politely let them know that you are informed of your rights under Ohio Revised Code 3313.671. Ask them to provide a reference showing where it says you are required to fill out the school form.
  3. Consider sending an email with all the forms and communications from the school to your State Representative, State Senator, District Superintendent and Ohio Board of Education Member, being sure to copy the school principal and nurse on the emails. Explain that you are complying with the law but the school is not allowing it and is threatening to add your child to the exclusion list. Link to find your Ohio Board of Education Member. Link to find your Ohio State Legislator.
  4. Consider consulting with a lawyer.