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Some Reluctant Parents Face Vaccination Decision As School Year Approaches

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The families of 26,000 New York students face a big decision as the school year approaches: Will they get vaccinated for measles and other diseases now that the state has eliminated religious exemptions?

All signs point to a district ready to reopen for the new school year, but it's not clear if every student White Plains is expecting will show up on day one.

"We may have a couple of folks who have decided that they may pull their children out. They haven't yet. My hope is that they don't," said White Plains Superintendent Joe Ricca.

Ricca told CBS2's Tony Aiello the district has communicated with the family of every child who previously had a religious exemption from vaccination requirements. New York has ended those exemptions statewide.

Public and private school students will have 14 days from the first day of school to submit proof they've been properly vaccinated. Schools face fines for each student admitted in violation of the law.

At a rally earlier this month urging a court to overturn the new law, one upstate mom said she was torn over whether to homeschool or relocate to a state that allows religious exemptions.

"I'm a full-time working mom. My husband works full time. This has turned our world upside down," said upstate resident Katie Whelan.

"I'm empathetic to those feelings, but at the same time, we also see a resurgence of diseases that haven't been around in quite some time," Ricca said.

The state of New York is also taking steps to make sure physicians don't abuse their authority in granting medical exemptions from vaccination requirements, Aiello reported.

Previously, doctors could submit a statement. Now, they must fill out a detailed form explaining the medical reason a student can't be vaccinated.

Westchester and other counties are holding back-to-school vaccination clinics, and the state says it will audit districts to make sure the law ending religious exemptions is honored.

To find out when and where the vaccination clinics are happening in Westchester County, click here. For more information about statewide immunization requirements, click here



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