Back to School


We know how hectic back-to-school season is. Reluctant students, clothing battles, supplies, forms, class schedules, bus schedules … it rivals the preparation behind the moon landing. And with everything else going on in life, it’s easy to lose track of all the to-dos on your list — two of which just happen to be mandatory before your student hits the books, field, or court.

Make sure their immunizations are up-to-date.

Beginning last year — and unless you have a medical or religious exemption — the Pennsylvania Department of Health instituted new regulations regarding immunizations that must be followed in order for your student to attend school. Since August is National Immunization Awareness Month, now’s a good time to brush up on what your child will need, and to make sure he or she is ready to go.

For all grades, students are required to have received:
• 4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (1 dose must have been administered on or after their 4th birthday)
• 4 doses of polio (the 4th dose must have been received on or after the 4th birthday, and at least 6 months after the previous dose)
• 2 doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
• 3 doses of hepatitis B
• 2 doses of chickenpox (unless they actually had chickenpox and prove immunity)

Additionally, on the first day of 7th grade, all students must have had:
• 1 dose of tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis
• 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV)

Students going into 12th grade will also be required to have:
• 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV). If your child received this vaccine at age 16 or older, that counts as the 12th grade dose.

If your student hasn’t had one or more of the required immunizations listed here, this form from the Pennsylvania Department of Health tells you what steps you’ll need to take to ensure that your child can attend school this year.

An annual physical form is required equipment.

If your student is planning on playing a sport, #2 on your back-to-school to-do list is getting their annual physical. Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) rules state that a doctor or other authorized health care professional must complete a Comprehensive Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation (CIPPE) before the first practice of your child’s first sport season. For fall, that includes:
– Cross Country
– Field Hockey
– Football
– Golf
– Soccer
– Girls Tennis
– Girls Volleyball
– Water Polo

This physical will likely also cover any winter and spring sport your child plays; but, in the case of an injury, concussion, or school policy, he or she may need to be re-evaluated and re-certified as cleared to play. Check with your principal or athletic director about your school’s specific guidelines.

Two things to remember:

1. You and your doctor will need to complete the official PIAA CIPPE form. This form includes your child’s health history, parent/guardian consent, and your physician’s certification that your student is cleared to play in their chosen sport. If you need a form, you can find it here.
2. The physical must be performed no earlier than June 1 and is valid through May 31 of the following year.

If your aspiring student athlete hasn’t had their required physical yet, please visit our physician directory at Find a pediatrician and schedule your visit.

Here’s to a great school year and a successful season!