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Seattle schools still working toward vaccine law compliance

A new measles vaccination law has Washington school districts checking every student's record.

SEATTLE — Several months after a new state vaccine law went into effect, Seattle Public Schools says it is still working to identify how many students are out of compliance.

In May 2019 Washington state required all students to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, removing the personal or philosophical exemption. Now every school in the state is working to make sure that they comply with state law.

Every district is different and has their own timeline for tracking vaccination rates. To get a general idea of the progress we checked with Seattle Public Schools, because they are the largest in the state with 52,931 students, as well as Edmonds School District, which is a smaller district with 20,299 students.

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At the end of October or early next month, Seattle Public Schools will determine which families need to be sent a letter telling them they need to update their student’s vaccinations. Toward the beginning of December, if a student is still not in compliance, they will be sent a “pre-exclusion” letter giving them 30 days to get their immunizations. That would mean that students have until they get back from winter break before they are excluded from school.

SPS says they are also trying to help all students who may need assistance in getting up to date on vaccinations.

Edmonds School District said letters were sent out on September 17 to parents, giving them 30 days to get records up to date. That letter informed parents/guardians that anyone out of compliance will be sent a “notice of exclusion for immunization noncompliance” unless they have a certificate of exemption.

The district will have the latest numbers for students out of compliance by October 22.

This year alone Washington had two outbreaks of measles totaling 86 cases.

School health care managers say a measles illness means the student is out of school for weeks leading to negative effects for the district and student learning.

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