Physical Exam & Immunization Requirements

New Bedford Public Schools must remain in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s regulations regarding documentation of physical exams and updated immunization records on all of our students.

According to Massachusetts General Law, physical exams should be performed on students “within one year prior to entrance into school, or within 30 days after school entry, and at intervals of either three of four years thereafter.”

Therefore, New Bedford Public Schools requires a copy of a recent physical exam on your child upon entry into the school system.

New Bedford Public Schools also requires physical exams in Kindergarten or grade 1 (depending on when your child entered New Bedford Schools), and grades 4, 7 and 10.

Under Massachusetts General Law, chapter 71, section 57, school nurses may require a physical exam for:

1) Children referred because of frequent absences due to unexplained illness

2) Children referred because of known physical defects that require repeated appraisal

3) Children referred from a teacher-nurse conference because the child is not making

expected progress in school or because of signs of illness noted by the teacher or nurse

4) Children planning to participate in competitive athletics annually, previous to such



All School aged children in Massachusetts are entitled to free or low-cost health and dental insurance. No child should be without a primary care provider and access to insurance. If you require assistance obtaining a referral for pediatric care for your child, or you need help with applying for MassHealth for your child, please contact your child’s school nurse.

Immunization Requirements

No child may attend school without documentation of immunizations in accordance with current Department of Public Health recommended schedules. Lack of appropriate documentation of immunizations is a basis for exclusion from school. Please click to obtain the most current school year immunization requirements.


Massachusetts School Immunization Requirements

If a child is not immunized due to medical indications or religious beliefs, they must present written documentation to the school nurse, on a yearly basis, which meets the standards for medical or religious exemption as set forth in Massachusetts General Law chapter 76, section 15.

In the case of measles, mumps, rubella and Hepatitis B, laboratory proof of immunity is acceptable if proof of immunization is not available.

In the case of varicella (i.e. chickenpox), laboratory evidence of immunity, or a statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant stating that the student has had chickenpox disease is acceptable in place of the required immunization.

School nurses make every effort to insure that all children are immunized prior to the start of each school year. They send out notification letters throughout the previous school year informing parents/guardians of any required immunizations their child/children will need for the upcoming school year. It is important for parents/guardians to send all immunization documentation to the school nurse as soon as it is available which will avoid unnecessary school absenteeism. If you need help obtaining immunizations for your child, please contact your school nurse. They are able to assist you with obtaining immunizations in a timely fashion at a either a clinic run by the local board of health, or through your child’s pediatrician’s office.