The most dreaded part of going back to school for many students is getting shots. A must, nevertheless: Parents registering their children for school must present an up-to-date immunization record.

Dr. Ella Andrews, school health services physician, said that children under 6 years of age must have three doses and one booster of a shot called DPT. This shot offers protection against diptheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Children over 6 who have never had the DPT series must get two doses and a booster of TD (for tetanus and diptheria). After age 6, children tend to have bad reactions to the whooping cough shot, Andrews explained.

In addition, all children must have vaccinations against polio, measles, rubella (German measles) and mumps. These shots must be repeated every 10 years. Andrews cautions that children who received a shot for measles before 1969 should be reimmunized because the antidote used to fight that disease has changed.

Children whose shots are not updated within the first 10 days of school will be forced to leave until they get the shots. Andrews said parents can take their children to their private doctors for shots, or may visit any neighborhood health clinic in the District. Immunizations are free or will be billed to the parents' health insurance provider.