Homeschooling is on the rise in the state of California.
Parents choose to homeschool their children for a multitude of reasons – the overall environment of other schools being one of the top reasons.
Recently, the State Department of Public Health reported an increase in the number of homeschooled kindergarteners who were not vaccinated.
Close to 7,000 homeschooled kindergarteners in California were unvaccinated during the 2018 to 2019 school year.
Back during the 2016 to 2017 school year, that number was closer to 2,000 children.
In 2016, California implemented one of the strictest immunization laws requiring children who attend public school to be vaccinated.
“Whether children are in the public school system or are in their homes but sometimes get together as groups, there is definitely a risk of disease spread when you have higher rates of children not being immunized,” said San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.
Janice Karr decided to homeschool her children for reasons un-related to immunizations but said that for many in the community, that plays a big role in the decision-making process.
“I would say that there are families in our homeschool group that do not vaccinate and that is why they have chosen homeschool,” Karr said. “I don’t know where in their list of priorities that that is what they have chosen, but I would say that it played a significant impact in why they decided to home school.”
The County Office of Education says it has not received any information regarding enrollment changes as a result of vaccination-related issues.
California lawmakers are considering another bill that would strengthen vaccination rules further, Senate Bill 276.