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Seattle schools won't allow unvaccinated students back from winter break

Seattle schools are closed for winter break, but some are opening their doors to offer vaccines.

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools is warning thousands of students that they will be excluded from school after Christmas break unless they get in compliance with Washington’s vaccine laws.

The school district posted a notice online on Dec. 20 that stated, “Student records must reflect updated immunization status by January 8, 2020, or students cannot attend school until the required information is provided to the school nurse.”

An estimated 2,000 students are not in compliance with the vaccine laws. Families of these students were notified via email, postal mail and a letter sent home from the school.

The district is hosting three free immunization clinics over the winter break to help students get in compliance. One clinic was held last week; there is also a clinic on Monday, Dec. 30 and Friday, Jan. 3.

“We got a letter saying you’ve got to get these vaccinations,” said Grant Rhys-Jones, a Seattle parent. “We got it all done, luckily we could get into the doctor.”

Some students out of compliance are missing the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

Washington state lawmakers voted to get rid of the “personal” or “philosophical” exemption for the MMR vaccine after two measles outbreaks sickened 87 people and sent the state into a state of emergency. However, students may still receive exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

According to state law, school districts were supposed to start excluding students out of compliance 30 days after school started this fall.

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