Sunday, November 03, 2019

District Getting Tough on Non-Vaccinated Students

From KUOW:
Seattle Public Schools said it is missing immunization records for about one in ten students.
The district sent letters to about 5,700 students’ families Oct. 28th notifying them that they will be barred from school beginning Jan. 8th if they still lack proof of the required immunizations, exemptions, or evidence that they are in the process of getting vaccinated.
District spokesperson Tim Robinson said after this week's pre-exclusion letter went out, translated into several languages, many families have followed up to update their records. The district advised families that 29 school-based health centers offer vaccinations, as well as primary health care providers and local pharmacies.

The letter also linked to exemption forms on the state health department website. Earlier this year, the state legislature removed the personal exemption for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, leaving only religious or medical exemptions as options for that immunization. Personal or philosophical exemptions are still allowed for other vaccines.
Other districts seem to be moving faster on this issue but with Seattle being the largest in the state, perhaps that's par for the course.

On the challenges of who is and isn't vaccinated:
In an October interview, Hoag said the district has not excluded students due to lack of immunization records for more than two decades "because it's so important that kids are in school, and we don't want to have relationships with families that are based on threatening them that their kid can't go to school."
Like many districts, Seattle is now getting stricter after measles outbreaks earlier this year sickened dozens across the state – mostly children. “If we have a measles case, we want to be able to tell the health department ‘these are the kids that are out of compliance,’” Hoag said. “What we're doing right now is just updating our data.”
Hoag said it's not clear how many students actually lack the required vaccinations. She said the district was struggling to make sense of records from other countries, in some cases. In other cases, families handwrote their children's vaccination records, but only official medical records are permissable.
KUOW ends the piece (and thank you to reporter Ann Dornfeld for it):
Those numbers still pale in comparison to the record-keeping backlog in Seattle Schools, which will be especially challenging to tackle after years of cutbacks to the number of school nurses.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Melissa and All,

I can't wait to see how SPS scrambles and equivocates when this falls most heavily in those who are furtherest from educational justice.

This is shaping up to be a classic Seattle showdown--alternative medicine White Wallingford moms, race and equity social media warriors on Capitol Hill, JSCEE bureaucrats, English-limited immigrant parents in South Beacon Hill and Lake City, homeless families in Ballard, let's get ready to rumble!


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, just to say, the district does have the law on their side (or rather, they have to abide by the law). But yes, there could be some strange bedfellows when it comes to complaining.

Anonymous said...

Immunization info is one of the things supposedly required to register for SPS. So how is SPS missing immunization records for 1 in 10 students? Maybe they meant up-to-date immunization data? Even so, that's pretty insane to be so far behind on something you say is required...


Melissa Westbrook said...

Oopsie, the story seems to show the district making excuses why the records aren't up to date; some are good ones and others not so much.

Anonymous said...

There is no requirement to be vaccinated beyond the new MMR law.

The only vaccine I would get is for chicken pox (Varicella vaccine).

The others are a waste of money.

--Fear factor

Anonymous said...

I thought the law requires this action within 30 days of a student starting school. How does a January date protect medically fragile students or the community at large?

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Theo, I thought that as well. Other districts are doing this now.

Anonymous said...

Actually since SPS can not guarantee that everyone that enters a SPS building or works for SPS is full vaccinated there is still a problem for medically fragile students. Considering that the last outbreak was tracked to travelers from outside the US you would think we should require proof of vaccinations for people wanting to enter the country.

New Worldorder

Melissa Westbrook said...

New WorldOrder, to your point, many people travel during the holidays and it could be a time when, if there are measles in any pockets of the country (or outside of it), you would see it when school starts.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.