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Seattle Public School Students Are Now Barred From Going to School Without MMR Vaccination

“Personal or philosophical” exemption no longer qualifies, per state law

Published on: January 07, 2020

Child being vaccinated

Seattle Public School students whose immunization records aren’t updated will be excluded from school beginning January 8

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that removes the personal and/or philosophical exemption to the MMR vaccine required for school attendance.

Washington state law (Washington state law RCW 28A.210.080 and rules, WAC 392-380-045 and WAC 246-105-020) also requires that students are fully vaccinated, be in the process of completing immunizations, or have a signed Certificate of Exemption (religious or medical exemption) in order to attend school.

According to a statement provided by the SPS Office of Public Affairs, Seattle Public Schools has processed over 6,000 updated immunization records since June 2019, but 982 records must still be updated by Wednesday, Jan. 8, or students out of compliance with Washington State Immunization law will be excluded from school. Families of students whose records are not up to date or are missing information will have been notified via email, home language phone calls, postal mail and letters home from the student’s school.

If your student’s immunization records aren’t updated by Jan. 8, Seattle Public Schools is encouraging parents to keep them home from school. Students without updated immunization records who arrive at school Jan. 8 will be placed in a designated room or space and the child’s family will be contacted to come pick them up.

Once immunization compliance is achieved, students may return to school. Immunization documentation may be brought to school for updating the Washington State Immunization Registry.

According to the SPS release, immunization compliance means a student:

  • Is fully vaccinated
  • Is in the process of getting vaccinated; once an appointment is scheduled for vaccinations, students may come back to school and will be expected to provide proof of vaccination after the appointment date.
  • Has lab work to prove immunity to diseases and therefore doesn’t need the vaccine or;
  • Has a signed Certificate of Exemption based on a personal/philosophical, medical or religious reason. The Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccination no longer qualifies for a “personal or philosophical” exemption, per state law changes in spring 2019.

Seattle Public Schools students may be seen at any of the school-based health centers to update their vaccinations.

A free drop-in vaccination clinic will be held Friday at Seattle World School:

When: 9 a.m.noon, Friday, Jan. 10.
Where: Seattle World School, 1700 E. Union St.
Drop-ins welcome on a first-come, first-served basis; appointments are encouraged: Call 206-332-7160.

For more information about immunization requirements, please see the Seattle Public Schools Immunization webpage.

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