Spokane Public Schools cracking down on vaccine law
SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 900 students at Spokane Public Schools could be pulled from class on Monday. The district is cracking down on the state law which requires students to either have proof of vaccinations or fill out a exemption waver.
“We just want to make sure that we do everything that we can to protect the health and follow the law at the same time,” Kevin Morrison, the district’s spokesperson, said.
This is the first time that the district is enforcing the 6-year-old law. Morrison said after a series of whooping cough, chicken pox and measles outbreaks, the district looked at their standings and took action.
“We took a look at the process that we have and said, ‘Okay what’s our compliance rate comparatively across the state?’ We felt like we could do much better,” Morrision said.
Morrison said as of last Friday, 922 of the roughly 30,000 students at the district aren’t compliant with the state law. The noncompliance can be for a number of reasons: the parent hasn’t filled out the Certificate of Exemption, the parents don’t have their child’s immunizations records, or the child is running late on getting their shots.
“We’re hoping that number is significantly smaller tomorrow morning and that a lot of people took care of it over spring break,” he adds.
If they don’t, they will be pulled from class and the student’s parents will have to come pick them up.
“They’ll be calling the children down one at a time to come on down to the principal’s office, or one of the assistant principals. They’ll call up the parent while the child is there and explain once again why this is necessary,” Morrison said.
He adds the parents have been notified multiple times, so no one should be caught off guard.
“They’ve been notified via voice mails at home, via email messages to their homes. There’s been quite a bit of outreach and free clinics up until now,” he said.
There’s more clinics coming up. The Spokane Regional Health District will be at a different area high school each day this week hosting a free clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
On Monday it will be at Rogers High School, Tuesday at Ferris High School, Wednesday at Lewis and Clark High School, Thursday at Shadle Park High School, and at North Central High School on Friday.
Parents can opt out of vaccinating their child, but have to fill out the Washington State Department of Health’s Certificate of Exemption. In order for the form to be valid, the parent’s reasoning has to be for religious, personal, philosophical or medical based.
To view the form, click here.