Seattle Students Can’t Return from Winter Break If Not Vaccinated

The district is hosting three free vaccination clinics so that students can get caught up on their immunizations.

Seattle Students Can’t Return from Winter Break If Not Vaccinated

Thousands of students who attend Seattle Public Schools won’t be allowed to come back to their campuses after winter break unless they have been vaccinated.

KOMO is reporting that 2,274 students recently received letters notifying them that they would not be allowed to come back to school unless their vaccinations are up to date.

Washington state law requires that students are fully vaccinated, be in the process of completing immunizations or have a signed Certificate of Exemption in order to attend school. Student records must reflect updated immunization status by January 8, or students cannot attend school until the required information is provided to the school nurse.

If a student is excluded from school because of immunization requirements, the missed days will be recorded as unexcused absences. Once immunization compliance is established and the student has returned to school, the related absences can be changed to excused.

The district is hosting three free vaccination clinics so that students can get caught up on their immunizations. The first two were on December 27 and 30. The final one will be held January 3.

In January 2019, a public health emergency was declared following a measles outbreak in Clark County, Wash., an area researchers say is a “hotspot” for higher rates of vaccination exemptions. The outbreak prompted lawmakers to pass a law removing the “personal preference” exemption, reports KOMO. Now, only religious and medical exemptions are allowed.

Measles is highly contagious, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a person who is infected with the disease can infect 18 other people. The CDC has also found that 90% of people who die from measles are those who have never been vaccinated.

Other areas of the country besides the state of Washington have also experienced outbreaks and have cracked down on students that aren’t immunized. In April, New York City declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations for some who had been exposed to the virus. Those who didn’t comply could face fines of up to $1,000.

In that same month, 1,000 students and staff members at colleges in Los Angeles were exposed to measles, and the ones who couldn’t prove they were vaccinated were put under quarantine.

As of December 22, there have been 79 deaths from measles in Samoa, where the vaccination rate is very low. Most of the victims from the vaccine-preventable illness have been children under the age of 4.

Although measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000 due to widespread vaccinations, the disease has made a comeback recently because some parents aren’t vaccinating their children due to them believing disinformation about the safety of vaccines. Theories that vaccines are linked to autism have been debunked.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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