By Emma Fiala
Winter break is supposed to be a time filled with family, fun, new toys and games, and plenty of time to play and relax. But for thousands of Seattle Public School students and their families, this winter break has included an unexpected demand.
Thousands of students were warned that they won’t be welcome back to school after break if they don’t comply with Washington state’s vaccine laws.
Letters sent to families indicated that students must be in compliance with the laws by January 8th. A statement on the district’s website reads:
Student records must reflect updated immunization status by January 8, 2020, or students cannot attend school until the required information is provided to the school nurse.”
According to district officials, 2,274 students received the letter.
Seattle Public Schools district representative Tim Robinson says that the district has “to exclude them,” explaining:
“They would be excluded here, they would be excluded at any school district, and we certainly want to avoid that. I know all schools want to avoid it because you don’t want students to miss any school time.”
The district is offering free vaccination clinics in an effort to get all students in compliance with current laws by the deadline so they don’t miss any school. The next clinics will be held on December 30 at Aki Kurose Middle School and January 3 at Seattle World School.
On Jan. 8, students may be excluded from attending school due to missing or incomplete immunization records. Students can get free immunizations on Dec. 27 & 30, 10am-3pm at Aki Kurose MS or Jan. 3, 9am-12pm at Seattle World School. Learn more: https://t.co/VBla3i8onG
— Seattle Public Schools (@SeaPubSchools) December 20, 2019
While the “personal preference” exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination was removed earlier this year, both “religious” and “medical” exemptions are still allowed.
And if unvaccinated or under-vaccinated students show up at school after the deadline? Robinson says they’ll “have a plan in place.”
“If they come to school, we certainly have a plan in place that if a student comes to school on the 8th and their records aren’t up to date, they’ll just be held aside, their parents or guardian will be contacted.”
More information about the vaccination clinics and state vaccine requirements can be found on the Seattle Public Schools website.
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