Colorado Law

Colorado Law

Colorado laws regarding non-public schools are listed below for your reference.
Parents and guardians must agree to abide by these laws when enrolling children in Poudre River School.


Overview

Overview of Colorado laws regarding private “umbrella” schools

1. C.R.S. 22-33-104. School Attendance Law makes school attendance at a public school compulsory unless the child “is enrolled for a minimum of one hundred seventy-two days in an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education” or “is being instructed at home.” “Basic academic education” for the purpose of this article shall mean “the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.”

Provision for the enforcement of the compulsory attendance law is found in C.R.S. 22-33-107 and 22-33-108 which charges the local school district with the responsibility “to enforce the provisions of this article which relate to compulsory attendance.” Neither the State Board of Education nor any local board of education has jurisdiction over the internal affairs of any nonstate, independent, or parochial school in this state.

2. C.R.S. 22-1-114. Statements from private schools. “Whenever requested by the board of education of the school district in which a private school is located, if not more often than once per month, the person or corporation in charge and control of any school other than a public school shall certify in writing, and if so requested, upon forms or blanks furnished by the said school district for that purpose, a statement containing the name, age, place of residence, and number of days of attendance at school during the preceding month or since the preceding report of all children of school age who then are or since the preceding report have been attending any such school.”

3. C.R.S. 25-1-107(1)(m). The school must meet health standards. Contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80222, Phone: (303) 692-3620. (NOTE: If a non-public school exists in some county other than Denver County, the county office of the Colorado Department of Health should be contacted.)

4. A building being used by a non-public school must meet local building codes, zoning requirements, and fire safety standards. Non-public school officials have the responsibility to check with the local city and/or county on these matters.

5. Curriculum Required
22-33-104 (2) (b) C.R.S. requires that a sequential program of instruction be provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.

22-1-106 C.R.S. requires information concerning the honor and use of the flag to be taught.

22-1-108 and 22-1-109 C.R.S. requires the United States Constitution to be studied. Instruction shall begin no later than the seventh grade and continue in high school.

The Colorado Department of Education does not mandate a prescribed set of adopted textbooks, approved curriculum, or course of study for public or non-public schools.

Home Study and Non-Public Schools
The School Attendance Law (Article 33 of Title 22, C.R.S.) distinguishes between non-public schools and home study. Home study is permitted in Colorado under this law. Non-public schools are required to provide a basic academic education, but are protected from untoward interference by any board of education, state or local.

Ref: Colorado Department of Education Website



Attendance

22-33-104. Compulsory school attendance

(1) (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, every child who has attained the age of six years on or before August 1 of each year and is under the age of seventeen years, except as provided by this section, shall attend public school for at least the following number of hours during each school year:

(I) One thousand fifty-six hours if a secondary school pupil;
(II) Nine hundred sixty-eight hours if an elementary school pupil in a grade other than kindergarten;
(III) Nine hundred hours if a full-day kindergarten pupil; or
(IV) Four hundred fifty hours if a half-day kindergarten pupil.

[…]

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a child:

[…]

(b) Who is enrolled for a minimum of one hundred seventy-two days in an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education. “Basic academic education” for the purpose of this article means the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.

[…]

(5) (a) The general assembly hereby declares that two of the most important factors in ensuring a child’s educational development are parental involvement and parental responsibility. The general assembly further declares that it is the obligation of every parent to ensure that every child under such parent’s care and supervision receives adequate education and training. Therefore, every parent of a child who has attained the age of six years on or before August 1 of each year and is under the age of seventeen years shall ensure that such child attends the public school in which such child is enrolled in compliance with this section.

(b) Parents whose children are enrolled in an independent or parochial school or a non-public home-based educational program pursuant to the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be exempt from the requirements of this subsection (5).

[…]

ANNOTATIONS

[…]

Exemption of subsection (2) requires only enrollment, not attendance, at independent or parochial school. Legislative change substituting word “enrolled” for word “attends” was clear evidence of intent not to require physical presence at independent or parochial school. Periodic attendance for testing only by students otherwise tutored at home was therefore adequate satisfaction of compulsory attendance statute. People in Interest of D.B., 767 P.2d 801 (Colo. App. 1988).

Ref: C.R.S. 22-33-104

22-1-114. Statements from private schools


Whenever requested by the board of education of the school district in which a private school is located, if not more often than once per month, the person or corporation in charge and control of any school other than a public school shall certify in writing, and, if so requested, upon forms or blanks furnished by the said school district for that purpose, a statement containing the name, age, place of residence, and number of days of attendance at school during the preceding month or since the preceding report of all children of school age who then are or since the preceding report have been attending any such school.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-1-114



Immunizations

25-4-902. Immunization prior to attending school – standardized immunization information

1. Except as provided in section 25-4-903, no child shall attend any school in the state of Colorado on or after the dates specified in section 25-4-906 (4) unless he or she has presented the following to the appropriate school official:

a. An up-to-date certificate of immunization from a licensed physician, a licensed advanced practice nurse, or authorized representative of the department of public health and environment or county, district, or municipal public health agency stating that the child has received immunization against communicable diseases as specified by the state board of health, based on recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices of the United States department of health and human services or the American academy of pediatrics; or

b. A written authorization signed by one parent or guardian or an authorization signed by the emancipated child requesting that local health officials administer the immunizations.

c. (Deleted by amendment, L. 97, p. 408, § 1, effective July 1, 1997.)

2. If the student’s certificate of immunization is not up-to-date according to the requirements of the state board of health, the parent or guardian or the emancipated student or the student eighteen years of age or older shall submit to the school, within fourteen days after receiving direct personal notification that the certificate is not up-to-date, documentation that the next required immunization has been given and a written plan for completion of all required immunizations. The scheduling of immunizations in the written plan shall follow medically recommended minimum intervals approved by the state board of health. If the student begins but does not continue or complete the written plan, he or she shall be suspended or expelled pursuant to this part 9.

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, a school shall enroll a student who is in out-of-home placement within five school days after receiving the student’s education information and records as required in section 22-32-138, C.R.S., regardless of whether the school has received the items specified in subsection (1) of this section. Upon enrolling the student, the school shall notify the student’s legal guardian that, unless the school receives the student’s certificate of immunization or a written authorization for administration of immunizations within fourteen days after the student enrolls, the school shall suspend the student until such time as the school receives the certificate of immunization or the authorization.

4. On or before March 1, 2011, the department of public health and environment shall develop and provide to the department of education a standardized document regarding childhood immunizations. The department of education shall post the standardized immunization document on its web site on or before January 15, 2011, and each year thereafter. The standardized document shall be updated annually and shall include, but need not be limited to:

a. A list of the immunizations required for enrollment in a school and the age at which the immunization is required; and

b. A list of immunizations currently recommended for children by the center for disease control advisory committee on immunization practices and the recommended age at which each immunization should be given.

5. The document created pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall comply with the provisions of section 25-4-903 (4) regarding allowable exemptions from required immunizations.

Ref: C.R.S. 25-4-902

25-4-903. Exemptions from immunization – rules

UPDATE (4/12/17): Joint memo from Colorado Department of Health and the Colorado Department of Education states that the CDPHE non-medical exemption form is not required and that schools must accept a written statement as described in C.R.S. 25-4-903(2)(b) (see below). 
Read the memo here.

UPDATE (9/2/16): In response to HSLDA’s efforts, CDPHE has modified the vaccine exemption form to remove the unconstitutional compelled speech. 
Read HSLDA’s notice here.

UPDATE (8/18/16): HSLDA has posted a petition to eliminate unconstitutional language on the vaccine exemption form issued by CDPHE. 
View the petition here.

UPDATE (8/11/16): The vaccine exemption form issued by the CDPHE on July 1st, 2016 is currently being challenged by HSLDA. 
Read the letter to here.

1. (Deleted by amendment, L. 97, p. 409, § 2, effective July 1, 1997.)

2. It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to have his or her child immunized unless the child is exempted pursuant to this section. A student shall be exempted from receiving the required immunizations in the following manner:

a. By submitting to the student’s school certification from a licensed physician, physician assistant authorized under section 12-36-106 (5), C.R.S., or advanced practice nurse that the physical condition of the student is such that one or more specified immunizations would endanger his or her life or health or is medically contraindicated due to other medical conditions; or

b. By submitting to the student’s school a statement of exemption signed by one parent or guardian or the emancipated student or student eighteen years of age or older that the parent, guardian, or student is an adherent to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations or that the parent or guardian or the emancipated student or student eighteen years of age or older has a personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.

2.5 The state board of health shall promulgate rules regarding:

a. Immunization information, including exemption rates, that is available to the public through the department, including evidence-based research, resources and information from credible scientific and public health organizations, peer-reviewed studies, and an online learning module; and

b. The frequency of submission of exemption forms.

3. The state board of health may provide, by regulation, for further exemptions to immunization based upon sound medical practice.

4. All information distributed to parents by school districts regarding immunization shall inform them of their rights under subsection (2) of this section.

5. Each school shall make the immunization and exemption rates of their enrolled student population publicly available upon request.

Ref: C.R.S. 25-4-903

25-4-904. Rules and regulations – immunization rules – rule-making authority of state board of health

1. The state board of health shall establish rules and regulations for administering this part 9. Such rules and regulations shall establish which immunizations shall be required and the manner and frequency of their administration and shall conform to recognized standard medical practices. Such rules and regulations may also require the reporting of statistical information and names of noncompliers by the schools. The department of public health and environment shall administer and enforce the immunization requirements.

2. All rule-making authority granted to the state board of health under the provisions of this article is granted on the condition that the general assembly reserves the power to delete or rescind any rule of the board. All rules promulgated pursuant to this subsection (2) shall be subject to sections 24-4-103 (8) (c)and (8) (d) and 24-4-108, C.R.S.

Ref: C.R.S. 25-4-904

26 C.C.R. 1009-2 The Infant Immunization Program and Immunization of Students Attending School

II. Exemptions from Immunization

It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to have his or her student immunized unless the student is exempted. A student may be exempted from receiving the required immunizations in the following manner:

A. Medical exemption – By submitting a medical exemption form with the statement of medical exemption signed by an advanced practice nurse or physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in any state or territory of the United States indicating that the physical condition of the student is such that immunizations would endanger his/her life or health or is medically contraindicated due to other medical conditions. This form is to be submitted once, and must be maintained on file at each new school the student attends.

B. Religious exemption – By submitting a nonmedical exemption form signed by the parent(s) or the emancipated student indicating that the parent(s) or emancipated student is an adherent to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations.
Beginning July 1, 2016,

1. Prior to kindergarten entry, a nonmedical exemption form must be submitted at each interval in the 2016 ACIP Birth-18 years immunization schedule at which immunizations are due. The 2016 ACIP immunization schedule is incorporated in Section III (B). This documentation is required only for those vaccines required to prevent the diseases listed in Section III (A). Exemptions will expire at the time next immunizations are due according to the 2016 ACIP birth-18 years immunization schedule or when the student is enrolled to attend kindergarten.

2. From kindergarten through twelfth grade, a nonmedical exemption form must be submitted once per school year. Exemptions will expire annually on June 30th, the last official day of the school year.

C. Personal belief exemption – By submitting a nonmedical exemption form signed by the parent(s) or the emancipated student indicating that the parent(s) or emancipated student has a personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.

Beginning July 1, 2016,

1. Prior to kindergarten entry, a nonmedical exemption form must be submitted at each interval in the 2016 ACIP Birth-18 years immunization schedule at which immunizations are due. The 2016 ACIP immunization schedule is incorporated in Section III (B). This documentation is required only for those vaccines required to prevent the diseases listed in Section III (A). Exemptions will expire at the time next immunizations are due according to the 2016 ACIP birth-18 years immunization schedule or when the student is enrolled to attend kindergarten.

2. From kindergarten through twelfth grade, a nonmedical exemption form must be submitted once per school year. Exemptions will expire annually on June 30th, the last official day of the school year.

D. In the event of an outbreak of disease against which immunization is required, no exemption or exception from immunization shall be recognized and exempted persons may be subject to exclusion from school and quarantine.

VI. Official school immunization records

A. Official school immunization records shall include:

1. An official Certificate of Immunization or an Alternate Certificate of Immunization approved by the Department of Public Health and Environment shall include one of the following forms of documentation with the dates and types of immunizations administered to a student:

a. A paper or electronic document that includes information transferred from the records of a licensed physician, registered nurse, or public health official, or

b. An electronic file or hard copy of an electronic file provided to the school directly from the immunization tracking system established pursuant to Section 25-4- 2403, C.R.S., or from a software program approved by the Department of Public Health and Environment, or

2. An official medical exemption form with the date and vaccines exempted from, or

3. An official nonmedical exemption form with the date, type of exemption taken and the vaccines exempted from.

B. Any immunization record (original or copy) provided by a physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in any state or territory of the United States, registered nurse, or public health official may be accepted by the school official as proof of immunization. The information is to be verified by the school official and transferred to an official Certificate of Immunization.

C. Schools shall have on file an official school immunization record for every student enrolled. The official school immunization record will be kept apart from other school records. When a student withdraws, transfers, or is promoted to a new school, the school official shall return the Certificate of Immunization to the parent(s) or emancipated student upon request or transfer it with the student’s school records to the new school. Upon a college or university student’s request, the Certificate of Immunization shall be forwarded as specified by the student.

Ref: 6 C.C.R. 1009-2



Required Instruction

22-33-104. Compulsory school attendance (with list of required subjects)

[…]

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a child:

[…]

(b) Who is enrolled for a minimum of one hundred seventy-two days in an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education. “Basic academic education” for the purpose of this article means the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-33-104

22-1-108. Federal constitution to be taught

In all public and private schools located within the state of Colorado, there shall be given regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-1-108

22-1-109. Taught at what stages

Such instruction in the constitution of the United States shall begin not later than the opening of the junior high schools or seventh grade and shall continue in the high school course and in courses in state colleges, universities, and the educational departments of state and municipal institutions to an extent to be determined by the commissioner of education.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-1-109



Extracurricular Activities

22-32-116.5. Extracurricular and interscholastic activities

(1) (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, each school district and each public school, subject to the requirements of this section, shall allow any student enrolled in a school or participating in a nonpublic home-based educational program to participate on an equal basis in any activity offered by the school district or the public school that is not offered at the student’s school of attendance or through the student’s nonpublic home-based educational program. A school district or school shall not adopt or agree to be bound by any rule or policy of any organization or association that would prohibit any participation allowed by this section. Each nonpublic school may allow a student to participate in a particular activity offered by the nonpublic school, at the nonpublic school’s discretion.

(b) Any student may participate in an activity through any amateur association or league of which the school or school district is not a member, and such participation shall not prevent the student from participating or affect the student’s eligibility to participate in the same activity at any school, subject to the limitations specified in this section. Prior to participating in any activity through such an amateur association or league, the student shall obtain the express written permission of the principal of the school at which the student participates in the activity, which permission shall be granted if:

(I) The student’s class attendance is not compromised; and

(II) The student is in good academic standing under the school’s activities policy applicable to all students.

(c) No school or school district that receives funds under article 54 of this title shall belong to any organization or association nor enforce any rule of a coach or principal that would prohibit a student’s participation in any school or interscholastic school activity based upon the student’s participation in lawful activities during out-of-school hours and off of school property.

(2) (a) A student may participate in activities only at the student’s school of attendance or through the student’s nonpublic home-based educational program, whichever is applicable, unless the school of attendance or nonpublic home-based educational program does not offer an activity in which the student wishes to participate.

(b) If a student’s school of attendance or nonpublic home-based educational program does not offer an activity in which the student wishes to participate, the student may participate in the activity at another public school in the student’s school district of attendance or in the student’s school district of residence. If the activity is not offered at any public school in the school district of attendance or the school district of residence, the student may participate in the activity at a public school in a school district that is contiguous to the student’s school district of residence or at the nearest public school that has the facilities for and offers the activity, even if the public school is not in a contiguous school district.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-32-116.5


Health & Safety

22-3-101. Duties regarding eye protective devices

(1) It is the duty of the governing board of every school district, university, college, or other institution of higher education, and of every person, firm, or organization maintaining any private school, university, college, or other institution of higher education, in this state to provide eye protective devices for the use of all students, teachers, and visitors when participating in the courses and activities enumerated in section 22-3-102.

(2) It is the duty of the persons charged with the supervision of any such course or activity to require such eye protective devices to be worn by students, teachers, and visitors under the circumstances prescribed in section 22-3-102.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-3-101

22-3-102. Courses in which devices to be used – substances and activities dangerous to eyes

(1) Eye protective devices shall be worn in courses including, but not limited to, vocational or industrial art shops or laboratories and chemistry, physics, or combined chemistry-physics laboratories, at any time at which the individual is engaged in, or observing, an activity or the use of hazardous substances likely to cause injury to the eyes.

(2) Hazardous substances likely to cause physical injury to the eyes include materials which are flammable, toxic, corrosive to living tissues, irritating, strongly sensitizing, or radioactive or which generate pressure through heat, decomposition, or other means.

(3) Activity or the use of hazardous substances includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Working with hot molten metal;

(b) Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding, and stamping of any solid materials;

(c) Heat treating, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;

(d) Gas or electric arc welding;

(e) Working with hot liquids, solids, or chemicals which are flammable, toxic, corrosive to living tissues, irritating, sensitizing, or radioactive or which generate pressure through heat, decomposition, or other means.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-3-102

22-3-103. Standards for devices

For the purposes of this article, the eye protective devices utilized shall be industrial quality eye protective devices which meet the standards of the U.S.A. standard practice for occupational and educational eye and face protection, Z87.1-1968, and subsequent revisions thereof, approved by the United States of America Standards Institute, Inc.

Ref: C.R.S. 22-3-103