The New Jersey Department of Education recently issued an advisory to facilitate enrollment processes for students displaced by natural disasters, so that they may resume their education as efficiently as possible.

Natural disasters throughout the nation often lead to an increase in the number of displaced families seeking shelter in and throughout New Jersey. Pursuant to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, students who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless and are eligible for services. Section 725 of the act further defines criteria for students experiencing homelessness.

Enrollment and School Records

The documents typically needed for school enrollment are waived for students experiencing homelessness. Consequently, local educational agencies must enroll displaced students immediately and cannot delay the enrollment even if students do not have school records. Children unable to produce enrollment records, such as previous academic records, records of immunization and other required health records, residency affidavits, or other documentation, should still be immediately enrolled. For more information regarding students’ enrollment/school records, see N.J.A.C. 6A:17-1.1.

Required Health Services

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-2.2(l), students entering a New Jersey school for the first time are required to have an entry medical exam, screenings of vision, hearing, blood pressure, height, weight, and, if age 10 to 18, a scoliosis screening. Also, the entry medical examination must include a review of the immunization, a review of a student’s medical history and current health problems.

Children transferring into a New Jersey school, preschool, or child-care center from out-of-state or out-of-country shall be allowed a 30-day period in order to obtain past immunization documentation before the child is placed on provisional status. If the student’s past immunization documentation is not provided before the expiration of the 30-day period, the student shall be granted provisional admission in compliance with the specific requirements set forth in N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.5.

Immunization records submitted by a parent or guardian in a language other than English are required to be accompanied by a translation sufficient to determine compliance. For additional information, please refer to the May 31, 2023 Translation of Student Immunization Records broadcast.