Enrollment in Virginia Public Schools
July 17, 2020 – Superintendent's Memo #175-20 – Student Enrollment Requirements – School Year 2020-2021-This is a Word document. – This memo includes detailed enrollment information for the 2020-2021 school year. These requirements apply to all students, including those attending through virtual or remote means.
In order to enroll a child in a public school system in Virginia, state law requires a parent or guardian of a child to provide certain information to the child's school division. The required information is listed below:
1. Birth Certificate (§ 22.1-3.1 of the Code of Virginia)
Except as provided in § 22.1-3.1 of the Code of Virginia, no student shall be admitted for the first time to any public school in any school division in Virginia unless the person enrolling the student shall present, upon admission, a certified copy of the student's birth record. A photocopy of the child's birth certificate will not meet this requirement. If a certified copy of the child's birth certificate cannot be obtained, the person enrolling the child must submit a sworn statement setting forth the child's age and explaining the inability to present a certified copy.
A certified copy of a birth record for a person born in Virginia may be obtained from the Virginia Department of Health – Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics. Click on obtaining a certified copy of a birth record for information about that process.
2. Street Address (§ 22.1-4.1 of the Code of Virginia)
Documentation of the street address or route number of the child's residence must be provided. If no street address or route number exists for the child's residence, a post office box number must be provided.
If a child has no regular, fixed residence but resides within the school division in a temporary shelter, institution, or place not ordinarily used as a residence, the school division may determine that a street address, route number, or post office box number, cannot be provided and may accept an alternative form of address that it considers appropriate.
3. School Entrance Health Form (§ 22.1-270 of the Code of Virginia)
Section 22.1-270 of the Code precludes the admission of students for the first time to any public kindergarten or elementary school in a school division unless the student furnishes, prior to admission, either a report of a comprehensive physical examination from a qualified licensed physician, or a licensed nurse practitioner or licensed physician assistant acting under the supervision of a licensed physician. The examination must be of the scope prescribed by the State Health Commissioner and must have been performed within 12 months before the date the student first enters the public school. In the alternative, students may provide records showing that they furnished such a report upon admission to another school or school division and provide the information that was contained in that report. Section 22.1-270 also includes special provisions for homeless students as well as an exemption from the physical examination for students whose parents object for religious reasons. Additionally, § 22.1-3.4 of the Code provides specific requirements for the immediate enrollment of children in foster care who do not have the requisite physical examination report. Children of military families, without documentation of immunizations, should be immediately enrolled and shall have up to 30 days from the date of enrollment to obtain any immunizations required by the receiving state. (§ 22.1-360) The Compact does not waive the physical examination requirement for these children. Such physical examination is not required of any child whose parent objects on religious grounds and who shows no visual evidence of sickness, provided that such parent shall state in writing that, to the best of his knowledge, the child is in good health and free from any communicable or contagious disease.
While the report of the comprehensive physical examination must contain the elements prescribed by the State Health Commissioner, state law does not require it to be on the School Entrance Health Form, MCH 213G, in order to be accepted by the local school board. Therefore, school divisions cannot deny enrollment to a student who provides the necessary report on a different form as long as that form is attached to a MCH 213G. For more information, please refer to Superintendent’s Memorandum #103-12, issued on April 20, 2012.
Upon request, Virginia’s health departments in all of its counties and cities must provide the physical examination for medically indigent children without charge.
4. Immunizations (§ 22.1-271.2 of the Code of Virginia)
Documentation indicating that the child has received the required immunizations must be provided. Please review the School and Day Care Minimum Immunization Requirements (PDF) (available from the Virginia Department of Health) for a list of the required immunizations.
Any child whose immunizations are incomplete may be admitted conditionally, if the parent or guardian provides documentation at the time of enrollment, that the child has received at least one dose of the required immunizations and has a written schedule for completing the remaining doses within 90 days. If the student requires more than two doses of hepatitis B vaccine, the conditional enrollment period shall be 180 calendar days.
No certificate of immunization shall be required for a student’s school admission if (i) the student or his parent submits an affidavit to the admitting official stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the student's religious tenets or practices; or (ii) the school has written certification from a licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or a local health department that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the student's health, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization.
5. Expulsion Statement (§ 22.1-3.2 of the Code of Virginia)
When a student is registered, the parent must provide a sworn statement about whether the child has been expelled from attending a private school or another public school in Virginia or a school in another state for an offense involving weapons, alcohol or drugs, or for willful infliction of injury to another person. In addition, the parent must provide a sworn statement or affirmation indicating whether the student has been found guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for any offense listed in subsection G of § 16.1-260 or any substantially similar offense under the laws of any state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or its territories.
Additional Enrollment Information
Social Security Numbers (§ 22.1-287.03 of the Code of Virginia)
Effective August 1, 2015, neither the Department of Education nor any local school board shall require any student enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school or receiving home instruction, or his parent, to provide the student's federal social security number.
Homeless Students (§ 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia)
School divisions must immediately enroll homeless students and coordinate the provision of services to homeless students with relevant local social services agencies and other agencies and programs providing services to such students, and with other school divisions. In addition, division superintendents cannot exclude from school attendance those homeless children who do not provide the requisite health or immunization information required of other students. School divisions must immediately refer the student to the school division liaison required to assist the student in obtaining necessary physical examinations or proof of completion of immunizations.
Students in Foster Care (§ 22.1-3.4 of the Code of Virginia)
A student who has been placed in foster care by a local social services agency shall be immediately enrolled even if the placing social services agency is unable to produce the documents required for enrollment. In such cases, the person enrolling the student must provide a written statement including specifics required by the Code at the time of enrollment.
Effective July 1, 2020, the provisions in § 22.1-3.4 of the Code of Virginia apply to any student who was in foster care upon reaching 18 years of age but who has not yet reached 22 years of age (HB 368/SB 275).
Please refer to the Enrollment of Students in Foster Care webpage for more information. The following Code sections also provide information for the enrollment of students in foster care: 22.1-1, 22.1-3, 22.1-5, 22.1-254, and 22.1-255, including the definitions of “parents” and “person of school age,” information regarding compulsory attendance, and the requirements for residency within a school division.
Students from Other Countries
Generally, students who are 18 and 19 and who are transferring from high schools in other countries should be counseled on all options. However, such students are still eligible for enrollment as a person of school age as provided in the Code unless they have a comparable diploma from a high school in a foreign country.
For more information, please refer to Superintendent’s Memo #059-17, issued March 1, 2017, and the following resources from the United States Department of Education (USED):
- USED advisory letter of May 8, 2014-This is a PDF document.
- Educational Services for Immigrant Children and Those Recently Arrived to the US