Seattle Students Without Vaccination Records Are No Longer Allowed In Public Schools

Published on January 8, 2020

Thousands of students in Seattle are heading back to school this week after the winter break, but some may find that they will not be welcomed back to class with open arms if their parents cannot provide proof that they were vaccinated. The deadline for submitting vaccination records has come and gone as of January 8, sending as many as 800 students back home after their parents could not provide the records to school nurses.

Seattle has made headlines in recent years over vaccination controversies in schools after a measles outbreak in 2019 saw 71 people come down with the disease despite the fact that it was eradicated in the United States back in 2000. In recent years there has been a rise of people opting out of vaccinating their children over suspicion that vaccinations could have adverse effects—namely, the suspicion that they may cause autism.

Despite the fact that studies have not linked the development of autism to children that have gotten vaccinated for things like measles, mumps, and rubella (known as the MMR vaccine). Though there is no known link, a study released back in the 1980’s suggested that the vaccination could cause conditions like autism—though the doctor that published the original claim has since redacted it.

Seattle Bans Unvaccinated Students From Public Schools

Seattle announced recently that it would be banning students that are unable to provide proof that they have been vaccinated from returning to school at the start of 2020. On Wednesday the deadline came and went, and as many as 800 students were turned away from Seattle public schools until their parents could get them vaccinated.

Students that were turned away were sent to sit in a private room at the school until they could be picked up by a guardian. Certain students would be able to receive an exemption from the vaccinations in certain religious cases, though the amount of people that are able to receive such an exemption are few and far between.

The change to the system came in July after a new law determined that students could not opt out of getting vaccinated for personal or philosophical reasons, though certain religious and medical exemptions would still stand.

To prepare for the new law, the Seattle school district hosted free vaccination clinics throughout the fall semester for parents that could not afford to vaccinate their children.

Measles, a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, has seen a rise in recent years after parents have sent their unvaccinated children to school. The decision poses as a health risk for families with children that are not yet old enough to be vaccinated. Students that have not been vaccinated by the January 8th deadline will not be allowed back into school until they can provide proof of immunization.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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