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Back-to-school — what you need to know in Pasco County

Parents fill out paper work in the cafeteria at Cotee River Elementary in New Port Ricney last August during an orientation day. For the 2019-20 school year, elementary school orientation in Pasco is Aug. 8 Orientation for Pasco middle and high schools will be held Aug. 6. [MICHELE MILLER | Times]
Published Jul. 24

With the 2019-20 academic year less than three weeks away, here's a look at what Pasco County families need to know about registering a child for school, immunizations and upcoming orientations. More information on these topics — plus details on buses, school lunches and more — is available at the district's Back to School/Newcomer Guide.

IDENTIFYING A SCHOOL

All students must attend the school to which they are assigned based on their home address, unless they have an approved assignment to another school or program. (For more information on the district's school choice programs, visit pasco.k12.fl.us/ed_choice.) To find out what school your student is zoned for, click on the School Boundaries page.) After that, check with the school for details on when you can register.

Students must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten. To register for the first grade, students must be 6 and have proof of completing kindergarten.

All students must reside with at least one parent or legal guardian. Proof of guardianship is a photocopy of the court order appointing guardianship. Under extenuating circumstances, a notarized Affidavit of Residence may be accepted if proof of residence can be validated. For more information regarding this option, visit your zoned school.

NEW TO FLORIDA?

Students entering kindergarten or entering Pasco County Public Schools from public or private schools out of state or out of the country must submit the following documents:

• Evidence of residence. For an owned residence, a deed or property tax assessment records and a copy of a current utility bill or initial order for service, and one of the following current documents supporting stated address: auto registration, Florida driver's license, Florida ID card, or voter registration. For a leased residence, a current lease or rental agreement or a notarized letter from the landlord and a copy of a current utility bill or initial order for service, and one of the following current documents supporting stated address: auto registration, driver's license, Florida ID card, or voter registration.

• Birth certificate (original required for copying) or other evidence of age.

• Physical, dated and signed by a health professional within one year of enrollment (first day of school).

• Current DH 680 State of Florida Immunization Form that is transcribed by a health professional. (See immunization requirements below.)

• Social Security number, if available (verify number with card; do not copy card).

• If applicable, legal documents such as a current judgment of divorce or other court order establishing the right of custody will be required for registration.

Note: If the child did not attend a public school for kindergarten, parents should present a report card or completion letter from the director of the private school.

NEW TO PASCO COUNTY?

Students previously enrolled in public or private schools in Florida must submit the same documentation detailed above for newcomers to the state — proof of residence, birth certificate, immunization record and any other legal documents regarding divorce or custody rights. The only exception: No physical exam is required if the child has previously enrolled in a Florida school.

HOMELESS STUDENTS

The Students In Transition program provides services to ensure homeless children and youth have access to a free and appropriate public education by removing barriers due to homelessness. For more information, visit the Students in Transition Program web page.

REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS

Before entering or attending school in Florida (kindergarten through 12th grade), each child must provide a Florida Certification of Immunization (Form DH 680) documenting that the student has met the following minimum state requirements:

Kindergarten through grade 12

• Four or five doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP) vaccine*

• Three doses of hepatitis B (Hep B) vaccine

• Three, four or five doses of polio (IPV) vaccine**

• Two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine

• Two doses of varicella vaccine *** for kindergarten – grade 11

• One dose of varicella vaccine *** for grade 12

• One dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for grades 7-12 only

*The fifth dose of DTaP vaccine is not necessary if the fourth dose was administered at age 4 years or older.

**If four or more doses are administered before age 4 years, an additional dose should be administered at age 4 through 6 years and at least six months after the previous dose. A fourth dose is not necessary if the third dose was administered at age 4 years or older and at least six months after the previous dose.

***Varicella vaccine is not required if varicella disease is documented by the health care provider

Pre-kindergarten or childcare

Prior to entry into Florida childcare facilities and Early Headstart/Headstart programs children shall have a Florida Certification of Immunization (Form DH 680) on file documenting age-appropriate immunizations of the following vaccines:

• Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)+

• Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP) vaccine

• Polio vaccine (IPV)

• Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine

• Varicella vaccine++ (chickenpox)

• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine

• Hepatitis B (Hep B) vaccine

+Effective January 1, 2012, PCV required for children 0-59 months.

++Varicella vaccine is not required if varicella disease is documented by the health care provider

Immunization Waivers

Students who are enrolling, and who have previously attended school in Florida, are granted a 30-day period of time for their previous records to arrive. Schools will have the parent complete a *30-day waiver form. Parents or guardian agree that when records from the previous school arrive, if the vaccination record is incomplete or cannot be located, they must provide proof of immunization for their child.

*30-day waivers are not applicable for first time enrollees (ie: kindergarten or prekindergarten) or Grade 7. Homeless students are the only exception to this rule. Florida Statute gives homeless students a 30-day grace period to comply.

Immunization Services

The Department of Health-Pasco provides free childhood immunizations and low cost physicals ($25 per child). The DOH-Pasco will offer the following special dates and hours for school physicals and immunizations. Call for an appointment or for more information.

• New Port Richey Clinic, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 27 and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 5 and Aug. 8 at 10841 Little Road, New Port Richey. (regular hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday) Call (727) 861-5260.

• Dade City Clinic, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 5 and Aug. 8 at 13941 15th St., Dade City (regular hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday.) Call (352) 521-1450.

• Wesley Chapel Clinic, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 6 and Aug. 8 at 33845 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel. (regular hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.) Call (813) 780-0740.

ORIENTATIONS

County-wide orientation will be held Aug. 6 for middle and high school students and Aug. 8 for elementary students. For details on times, contact the school.

Middle and high school students will be able to pick up class schedules, pay student fees, tour the school and get information on school parking spaces, lockers and more. Elementary students and parents will be able meet their teachers, tour the school, get bus pass or school drop off information and more.

Special orientations - middle schools

Bayonet Point: 6th-Grade Academy schedule pick-up, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., Aug. 1.

Centennial: Incoming 6th-grade LATI Academy, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Aug. 1

Cypress Creek: 6th-Grade Howlapalooza, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 1.

Charles Rushe: 6th-Grade University, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 1.

Gulf: 6th-grade schedule pickup, 4:30 p.m. July 31.

Paul R. Smith: Open House, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

River Ridge: Storm The Castle 6th-grade and new student orientation, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 31.

Seven Springs: 6th-Grade Open House, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Aug. 1.

Special orientations - high schools

Fivay: Senior schedule pick-up, 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 1. Freshman schedule pick-up, 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 1.

Hudson: Freshman orientation, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 1.

J.W. Mitchell: Freshman orientation, 8 a.m. Aug. 1.

Land O'Lakes: Freshman orientation, Aug. 8.

River Ridge: Freshman and senior orientation, 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 1.

Sunlake High: Freshman orientation, 9 a.m. July 31.

Wesley Chapel: Freshman orientation, Aug. 1.

Wiregrass Ranch: Freshman Roundup, 8 a.m. Aug. 1. Virtual Registration Day, Aug. 1.

Zephyrhills: Freshman orientation, 8 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 1.

Compiled by Times Staff Writer Michele Miller

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