WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Officials of the Seattle Public Schools has informed parents that students who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to return to class after a January deadline.
- The district, which issued a notice on Dec. 20 and cited Washington state law and the state’s recently-passed bill, is making free clinics available to get students’ immunization records up to date.
- More than 2000 students have until Jan. 8 to get updated immunization records or they’ll not be allowed to return to school.
Seattle Public Schools officials take the drastic action of ordering more than 2,000 students to get vaccinated immediately or risk being barred from returning to classes after the winter break.
Prompted by a measles outbreak, officials sent out a letter to 2,274 students warning they will be kept out of school if they fail to provide a medically verified record they received their immunization shots by the time classes resume on Jan. 8.
“If a student is excluded from school because of immunization requirements, the missed days will be recorded as unexcused absences,” according to a statement on the school district’s website.
According to officials, the district set three free clinics at Seattle schools to provide students with measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.
“Unfortunately, by state law we have to exclude them,” Tim Robinson, spokesman for the Seattle Public Schools, told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle of any student who fails to get vaccinated. “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 state of Washington has been coping with two measles outbreaks this year in which 87 cases were confirmed, the Washington State Department of Health reported.
In May, the Washington Legislature passed a law removing “personal preference” as an exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. Now only “religious” and “medical” exemptions are allowed, under the new law.
Robinson said the district has come up with a plan for dealing with any non-exempt student who shows up to school without having gotten vaccinated.
“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,” Robinson said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1,276 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states from Jan. 1 to Dec. 5, 2019. That’s the greatest number of cases reported in the US since 1992. There were more cases of the infectious disease this year than there have been in the four years prior combined.
This year’s measles outbreak was worse from a global standpoint. As of mid-November, the number of measles cases that countries around the world reported to the World Health Organization was three times higher than the number of cases reported during the same time in 2018.
Source: Yahoo News