(a) The commissioner of health is authorized, subject to the approval of the public health council, to designate diseases against which children must be immunized prior to attendance at any school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility of this state.
(b) (1) It is the responsibility of the parents or guardian of children to have their children immunized, as required by subsection (a).
(2) In the absence of an epidemic or immediate threat of an epidemic, this section shall not apply to any child whose parent or guardian files with school authorities a signed, written statement that the immunization and other preventive measures conflict with the parent's or guardian's religious tenets and practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury.
(c) (1) No children shall be permitted to attend any public school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility until proof of immunization is given the admissions officer of the school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility except as provided in subsection (b).
(2) No child shall be denied admission to any school or school facility if the child has not been immunized due to medical reasons if the child has a written statement from the child's doctor excusing the child from the immunization.
(3) No child or youth determined to be homeless shall be denied admission to any school or school facility if the child or youth has not yet been immunized or is unable to produce immunization records due to being homeless. The enrolling school shall comply with any and all federal laws pertaining to the educational rights of homeless children and youth, including the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, compiled in 42 U.S.C. § 1141 et seq.
(d) Each child attending any school, nursery school, kindergarten, preschool or child care facility without furnishing proof of immunization or exception under subsection (b) or (e), shall not be counted in the average daily attendance of students for the distribution of state school funds.
(e) Any immunization specified under this part shall not be required if a qualified physician certifies that administration of the immunization would be in any manner harmful to the child involved.
(f) The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out this section.
(g) By October 1 of each year, the commissioner shall report the number of children in the state during the preceding school year who were determined to be homeless and who enrolled in public schools without being immunized or being able to produce immunization records and the average length of time required for these children to be immunized or to obtain their immunization records. The report shall be submitted to the education committees of the senate and of the house of representatives.
Acts 1967, ch. 293, §§ 1-5; 1978, ch. 922, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., §§ 49-1765 - 49-1769; Acts 1984, ch. 839, § 2; 1996, ch. 1079, § 183; 2006, ch. 756, § 2; 2007, ch. 57, § 1.