On April 28, 2021, Governor Lamont signed into law Public Act 21-6, An Act Concerning Immunizations, which took effect the same day.  As we discussed in our prior post, the new law eliminates the religious exemption from school immunization requirements for both public and private school students, although certain students will be allowed to continue to assert a religious exemption from statutory immunization requirements under the law’s legacy clauses.

On May 25, 2021, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued Guidance Regarding Public Act 21-6.  The guidance clarifies some important issues regarding the new law, such as

  • whether the new legislation concerns the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • what it means for a student to be “enrolled” in school on or before April 28, 2021;
  • whether there are any additional requirements for students who are advancing from sixth to seventh grade; and
  • how the new law applies to students who had a valid religious exemption from a prior school year but withdrew from school as a result of the pandemic (or for other reasons), and who now wish to exercise that same exemption upon their return to school.

In light of the new guidance, Connecticut schools should be prepared to field additional questions from parents and guardians about a variety of issues regarding the interpretation and application of Public Act 21-6.  If you have questions about the new law and guidance, please contact Jessica Richman Smith at jsmith@goodwin.com; Julie Fay at jfay@goodwin.com; Dori Pagé Antonetti at dantonetti@goodwin.com, or Sarah Gleason at segleason@goodwin.com.

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Photo of Julie C. Fay Julie C. Fay

Julie represents public and independent schools in a variety of special education and general education law matters, with a particular focus on issues relating to students with disabilities, student discipline, confidentiality, school governance and policy. Julie frequently represents schools in administrative hearings, including…

Julie represents public and independent schools in a variety of special education and general education law matters, with a particular focus on issues relating to students with disabilities, student discipline, confidentiality, school governance and policy. Julie frequently represents schools in administrative hearings, including expulsion hearings, special education due process hearings and related proceedings, and is often called upon to guide districts in drafting policies and administrative procedures in all education law areas. As part of her practice, Julie has conducted numerous professional development workshops for clients and other school organizations.

Photo of Jessica Richman Smith Jessica Richman Smith

Jessica represents schools in a variety of education, labor relations and employment law matters.  She negotiates certified and non-certified collective bargaining agreements on behalf of numerous public boards of education.  Jessica also represents school districts in labor and employment disputes, freedom of information…

Jessica represents schools in a variety of education, labor relations and employment law matters.  She negotiates certified and non-certified collective bargaining agreements on behalf of numerous public boards of education.  Jessica also represents school districts in labor and employment disputes, freedom of information hearings, teacher tenure proceedings, student disciplinary matters, election law matters, and other legal proceedings arising in the education context.  In addition, Jessica advises schools on education policies and practices, compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, and other legal matters arising in the education context.

Photo of Dori Pagé Antonetti Dori Pagé Antonetti

Dori Antonetti is an associate in the School Law Practice Group. She advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education, and labor and employment issues.

Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Dori worked as a Hearing Review Officer for…

Dori Antonetti is an associate in the School Law Practice Group. She advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education, and labor and employment issues.

Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Dori worked as a Hearing Review Officer for the New York City Office of Labor Relations. Dori also clerked for Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Before law school, Dori joined Teach for America and worked as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in Spanish Harlem.

Dori is proficient in Spanish.

Photo of Sarah Gleason Sarah Gleason

Sarah Gleason is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues.  Prior to receiving her J.D., Sarah worked as an elementary school teacher…

Sarah Gleason is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues.  Prior to receiving her J.D., Sarah worked as an elementary school teacher, and she brings that unique perspective to her practice as a school law attorney.