Students in Washington state’s largest school system who have not met their vaccination requirements will not be allowed back at school next week, according to school officials.
Seattle Public Schools has informed parents they have until Jan. 8 to provide proof that their children have received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine or else file for a religious or medical exemption. Any students whose parents don’t do this will not be allowed to attend classes.
In May, the state of Washington passed a bill that eliminated exemptions for the MMR vaccine on personal and philosophical grounds. The bill, which applies to public and private school students and to kids in child care, took effect in July. Volunteers and people employed by child care centers must also be vaccinated.
The state experienced two measles outbreaks in 2019, with a combined 87 cases. It was the most cases Washington had seen since 1990, according to the state’s Department of Health.
The Seattle school system, which reports more than 53,000 enrolled students, has been reminding families about the new requirement since the start of the school year in August, The Seattle Times reported.
At that time, there were about 7,000 Seattle Public School students who didn’t have up-to-date vaccination paperwork, a district spokesperson told the paper.
As of last week, the number of students who had yet to submit the proper paperwork was down to fewer than 2,000, a district spokesperson told Q13 Fox.
Similar mandates have been issued by the state’s other school districts.
Spokane Public Schools, the state’s second largest school district, reportedly barred 323 students from attending classes on its vaccine deadline of Oct. 14 because they didn’t provide the proper vaccine paperwork, KREM reported.
Within 15 days, that number reportedly dropped to 10 students.
Vancouver Public Schools similarly required its students to be vaccinated by the end of August.
The majority of the state’s students ― roughly 9 out of every 10 kindergartners and 96% of sixth graders ― have received both doses of the MMR vaccine, according to the state’s Department of Health website.