Utah State Regulations
Updated June 24, 2015 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: optional
- The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) is responsible for facilitating accreditation of the Board for Utah public schools. The Board is not responsible for the accreditation of nonpublic schools, including private, parochial, or other independent schools. Utah Administrative Code (Utah Admin. Code) R277-410-3 (A).
- Accreditation procedures and responsibilities for nonpublic schools through AdvancED Northwest are in Utah Admin. Code R277-410. Utah Admin. Code R277-410-2 (B).
- Registration: no requirements
- Licensing: no requirements
- Approval: no requirements
- Teacher certification is not required for private school teachers.
Length of School Year and Days
- There is no state requirement for private schools’ length of the school year.
- Private school students may enroll in public schools for dual enrollment purposes and participate in any academic activity subject to the same rules applicable to full-time students. Utah Code Annotated (Utah Code Ann.) §53A-11-102.5.
- Private school students are eligible to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities of their residential public school if the student is taking courses comparable to traditional school courses or earning credit under the options outline in R277-700-6 in the minimum number of designated courses required by the local board of students for participation in that activity. Dual enrollment students are eligible under the same standards as traditional public school students. Utah Admin. Code R277-438-3.
- A private school student is not eligible to participate in an extracurricular activity at a public school unless the activity is not provided at his or her private school. Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102.6 (2)(b).
- “A school district maintaining driver education classes shall allow pupils enrolled in grades nine to 12 of regularly established private schools located within the school district to enroll in the most accessible public school in the school district to receive driver education. Enrollment is on the same terms and conditions as applies to students in public schools within the district, as such terms and conditions relate to the driver education classes only.” Utah Code Ann. §53A-13-203.
- A private or parochial school may exempt itself from the state prohibition of corporal punishment by adopting a school policy and notifying the parent or guardians of the exemption. Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-802.
- A private school may participate in the work experience and career exploration programs by offering internships operated in accordance with the State Board of Education rules. Utah Code Ann. §53A-29-102.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- Private schools must retain official certificates of immunization for every student as part of the individual’s permanent school record. The Department of Health provides official certificate forms. Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-304.
- Private schools have a duty to cooperate with employers by issuing age certificates or lists of current students or recent students showing their dates of birth according to school records. Utah Code Ann. §34-23-209.
- The County Clerk may require accredited nonpublic schools to provide an estimate of the number of enrolled students who are high school seniors. The County Clerk will provide sufficient by-mail voter registration forms, to be disseminated to the students. Utah Code Ann. §§20A-2-302 and 53A-3-402.5.
- The Superintendent of Public Instruction includes applicable private school data in his annual report to the Governor and the Legislature on the public school system. Utah Code Ann. §53A-1-301 (3)(d).
Health and Safety Requirements
- Students may not attend private Pre-K–12 schools without certification of immunization unless exempted for personal, medical, or religious reasons. Required immunizations are listed under Utah Admin. Code R396-100. Utah Code Ann. §§53A-11-301; 53A-11-302; and Utah Admin. Code R396-100-1.
- Private K-12 schools may administer medication to students if policies and procedures are adopted in consultation with the Department of Health. The policies must provide for the designation and training of employees who administer medication, proper identification and safekeeping of medication, and the maintenance of records of administration. Medication may be administered only if the parent or guardian has provided a written request and the student’s health professional has signed a statement describing the method, amount, and time schedule for the administration necessary during school hours. School employees in substantial compliance with the physician’s orders are not civilly or criminally liable for a student’s adverse reaction to the medicine or discontinuing the medicine following actual notice to the parent or guardian. Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-601.
- Private school administrators have a duty to report the name and address of a person suspected of having a communicable disease, and the facts relating to the case, to the Department of Health. Utah Code Ann. §26-6-6.
- Local health departments have the statutory authority to close private schools when necessary to protect the public health. Utah Code Ann. §26A-1-114 (1)(e).
- Local health departments have the responsibility to enforce all ordinances, standards, and regulations pertaining to the public health of persons attending private schools; exclude any person who is likely to convey a communicable or infectious disease; and regularly inspect schools buildings and premises. Utah Code Ann. §26A-1-114 (3).
- Utah restricts the establishment of state liquor stores, package agencies, and retail licensees (such as restaurants, clubs, and on-premise beer locations) in the proximity of private schools. Utah Code Ann. §§ 32B-1-102 (93) and 32B-1-202.
- The Utah Fire Prevention Board establishes the minimum standards for the prevention of fire, the protection of life and property against fire, and panic in private schools. Utah Code Ann. §53-7-204.
- Law enforcement agencies have a duty to notify the administrator of a private school if an employee has been arrested for a controlled substance or sex offense. Utah Code Ann. §53-10-211.
- Private schools may require potential employees or volunteers to submit to a criminal background check through the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety as a condition for employment or appointment and, where reasonable cause exists, schools may require an existing employee or volunteer to submit to a criminal background check. Only job-related convictions should be considered by the school. The private school must pay the cost unless the applicant has passed an initial review; is one of a pool of five candidates or less; and, has not been the subject of a criminal background check during the preceding two years. If an individual is denied employment based on the background check, the person has a right to written notice of the reasons for the denial and an opportunity to respond. Utah Code Ann. §53A-3-410.
- Possession of a dangerous weapon, firearm, or short barreled shotgun in a private elementary or secondary school building, or grounds is a criminal offense unless approved by a responsible school administrator or used in an approved activity. Utah Code Ann. §76-10-505.5.
- Utah’s criminal code provides enhanced penalties for the use of a firearm in an offense committed on or about school premises. Utah Code Ann. §76-3-203.2.
- Anyone who knowingly assaults an employee or volunteer at a private school when the victim is acting within the scope of his employment is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Utah Code Ann. §76-5-102.3.
- A person who enters or remains on private school property and is intent to cause harm, commit a crime, is reckless as to the safety of others, or enters or remains without authorization if notice against entry has been given, commits a misdemeanor of criminal trespass on school property. Utah Code Ann. §53A-3-503.
- A person who is asked to leave by a school official and remains to disrupt an activity of a private school commits a misdemeanor. Utah Code Ann. §76-9-106.
- Private school students who participate in industrial education, physics laboratory, and chemistry laboratory activities that may endanger one’s vision, must wear quality eye protective devices. Utah Code Ann. §53A-13-103.
- The owner of the building that contains a nonprofit elementary school is considered the Local Education Agency (LEA) and will be assessed penalties for violations of Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 and 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E, Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools; private nonprofit schools will be liable for up to $5,000, per day, per violation. Utah Admin. Code R307-135-4.
- The Standards for Utah School Buses and Operations and 2010 Standards Appendix are requirements for the design and operation of school buses, including those privately owned for use by a private school. Utah Admin. Code R909-3-2.
- The Highway Patrol safety inspects biannually all school buses operated by private schools for the transportation of students. A private school can perform the inspection of a school bus that it operates after consultation with the State Board of Education. Utah Code Ann. §53-8-211.
- No state policy concerning textbooks related to private schools exists currently.
- Private school students who are Utah residents have the option to participate in U-PASS at a reasonable cost paid by the student or private school. A private school student who is not a Utah resident may participate in U-PASS if he or she pays the full cost of individual assessments as determined by local board policy in advance to participation in the U-PASS. State Board of Education Rule R277-604-3.
- Private schools interested in participating in the U-PASS may do so at the discretion of the public school district in which the school is located. State Board of Education Rule R277-604-3.
- The State Director of Special Education is responsible for the general supervision of all public programs offered through private agencies for students with disabilities and has a duty to cooperate with private schools and agencies concerned with education and training students with disabilities. Utah Code Ann. §53A-15-302.
Nursing and Health
- No state policy concerning nursing and health related to private schools exists currently.
- No state policy concerning technology related to private school exists currently.
- No state policy concerning professional development related to private schools exists currently.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- No state policy concerning reimbursement for performing state and local functions related to private schools exists currently.
- Property owned by a nonprofit entity used exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes is exempt from property tax. Utah Constitution Art. XIII, Sec. 3.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: The Utah Constitution prohibits the appropriation of public money or property for religious instruction or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment. Utah Constitution Art. I, Sec. 4.
- In addition, the Utah Constitution further prohibits appropriations by the state and its political subdivisions for the direct support of any religiously controlled school. Utah Constitution Art. X, Sec. 9.
- Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools: The Carson Smith Scholarships for Students with Special Needs Act provides scholarships for attendance at approved private schools to students with qualifying disabilities. To be eligible, students must have been enrolled in Utah public schools and have a current Individual Education Plan (IEP), or have been admitted to an approved private school specializing in serving students with disabilities and receive an assessment determining that student qualifies for special education. Carson Smith Scholarship recipients are not eligible to participate in dual enrollment as outlined in Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102.5. Utah Code Ann. §§ 53A-1a-701–53A-1a-710.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- Each year parents must submit a signed affidavit to the school district of residence stating that the child will attend home school and will receive instruction in the subjects required by the Utah State Board of Education and for the same length of time minors are required to be taught in public schools, as determined by the Utah State Board of Education rules. The statute does not specify a form for the affidavit, but a school district may provide a form to parents. A school district that requires a specific form or format for the affidavit is exceeding the requirements of the statute. Frequently Asked Questions about School District Responsibilities and Home Schools, October 2014, Utah State Office of Education and Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102(2)(b).
- Home school students will receive a certificate from the local school board excusing their attendance from the public schools during the time specified on the certificate. Frequently Asked Questions about School District Responsibilities and Home Schools, May 2007 and Utah State Office of Education and Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102(2)(g).
Curriculum and Instruction
- The resident school district has no responsibility or authority regarding home schools’ curriculum, student assessment, instructional materials, or instruction evaluation. Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102(2)(c).
Assessment and Diplomas
- Home school students who are Utah residents have the option to participate in U-PASS if they satisfy state home school requirements. State Board of Education Rule R277-604-4.
Public School Access
- Home school students are eligible to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities of their residential public school if taking courses comparable to traditional school courses or earning credit under the options outline in R277-700-6 in the minimum number of designated courses required by the local board of students for participation in that activity. Dual enrollment students are eligible under the same standards as traditional public school students. R277-438-3 and Utah Code Ann. §53A-11-102.5.
- To establish that the home school student meets the academic eligibility, a parent, teacher, or organization providing instruction to the student shall submit an affidavit to the principal indicating the student meets academic eligibility requirements. §53-11-102.6 (6)(a).
Information and Legislation
- Utah State Office of Education: Home School
- Utah State Office of Education: Home School FAQs
- Utah Code
- Utah Administrative Rules
Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200
Phone: (801) 538-7500
Fax: (801) 538-7521
U.S. Department of Education, Utah