During the 2007 South Dakota Legislative Session, the Legislature passed a bill to require all students enrolled in post-secondary institutions to furnish evidence of immunity to selected diseases. The bill was signed into law by Governor Michael Rounds on March 1st, 2007 and became effective on July 1st, 2008. A protective measure that reflects recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this statute was designed to minimize the possibility of disease outbreaks within our campus communities. To assure consistency with state law, the South Dakota Board of Regents tailored its existing immunization policy in June 2008.
The statute applies to every student (graduate and undergraduate) who has been admitted to a post-secondary institution – either public or private – in the state of South Dakota. It states that all students who meet established criteria are obliged to demonstrate immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. Relevant criteria (the key factors which drive the need for compliance) are delineated below:
- Age: students born on or after January 1, 1957 must comply; those born prior to this date are excused.
- Course schedule: students who register for two or more credit-bearing classes – and at least one course involves face-to-face contact on a weekly basis for multiple weeks - are obliged to comply. This includes participation at all campuses and centers (including University Center, Capital University Center, and West River Higher Learning Center).
- Academic background: students who have completed prior collegiate course work in the state of South Dakota (initiated prior to July 1, 2008) are excused from compliance. Note: credits earned through distance learning, dual credit agreements, and exam/validation do not qualify.
Acceptable evidence of immunity to each disease includes:
- Immunization record which specifies administration of two doses of vaccine
- Medical laboratory report that verifies presence of disease-specific antibodies in the blood (i.e., positive blood titer)
- Documentation of disease state as diagnosed by a qualified physician
In accordance with state law, students who neglect to supply this evidence in a timely fashion will be administratively withdrawn from classes.
The law recognizes that special circumstances may preclude ability to demonstrate compliance as detailed above. Those students for whom vaccination presents a threat to health/well-being and those who adhere to a religious doctrine that opposes immunizations may petition for a permanent exemption or temporary waiver as appropriate. Please note: the statute does not allow for philosophical objections.
Meningitis vaccinations are not required, but are highly recommended. This documentation may be accomplished by either a State Health Department certificate, or it may be included as part of the institution's physical exam report.
Information and Forms: