SF 2079 clarifies that only the State Board of Public Health can require immunizations for enrollment to a licensed child care center or elementary or secondary school that are not listed in state code. The bill states that the state code and state rules preempt anything passed at the local level regarding student immunizations.
While no one mentioned COVID-19 during the committee, presumably, this would prevent a local school district from requiring students to be vaccinated. There wasn’t any debate during the committee over the bill.
SF 2080 prohibits school districts, charter schools, or innovation schools from administering a physical examination or student health screening not required by state or federal law unless they have acquired the student’s parents’ or guardian’s written consent. The bill does not prohibit health screenings in emergencies where serious injury or harm could occur if medical care is not provided, a health screening for symptoms or exposure to an outbreak or public health event, or child abuse assessments.
“Some parents reached out about dental screenings being performed without their consent,” State Senator Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, the sponsor of both bills, told The Iowa Torch, explaining what initiated SF 2080.
“We felt that any non-emergency medical procedure being conducted at school should be preceded with a parent’s permission as it would have to be at any medical provider,” she added.
This bill unanimously passed in the Iowa Senate in 2020, but Sinclair said it was “lost in the shuffle” during the pandemic, so they needed to revisit it and pass it again.
State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, D-Windsor Heights, who was on the subcommittee for SF 2080, said she wanted to know the history of the bill.
“I raised a concern to make sure this would be applied consistently to all schools accredited and funded with public dollars,” she added.
The original bill did not include charter schools. Sinclair offered an amendment in response to Trone Garriott’s comments during the committee meeting that passed, adding charter schools to the bill’s language.
Both bills are eligible for floor debate in the Iowa Senate.