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Seattle students without updated vaccination records will be excluded from class starting Jan. 8

Vaccine (Getty Images)

SEATTLE — More than 1,400 Seattle Public Schools students are at risk of being excluded from school if they don’t provide verified vaccination records by Wednesday, Jan. 8 school system spokesman Tim Robinson said.

That’s down from December when 2,200 needed to update their records. Robinson said he expects the number would continue to decline as the Jan. 8 deadline approached.

The district — serving more than 50,000 students across 104 schools — sponsored three free immunization clinics since December when staff sent out a letter warning parents students would not be able to return without complete vaccination records.

At least 135 students were immunized at those clinics, Robinson said.

This, following a Washington state law that went into effect over the summer which says families can’t use personal and philosophical reasons to avoid having their children vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, the state’s department of health said.

What happens on Jan. 8

If students do show up for school on Jan. 8 without complete immunization records, Robinson said, they will be pulled out of class by staff members and call their parents or guardians.

If parents can confirm the date the records will be finalized, their children will continue attending class, Robinson said.

But if a student misses school because they’re lacking the proper records, their missed days will be counted as unexcused absences, the school system previously said.

Those absences could be changed to excused once the student has returned to school with updated records, the system said.

Families of students who do not have updated records have already been notified by email, mail, and a letter sent home from the student’s school, the school system said in a December news release.

“I think as responsible parents, we all should be responsible for our children,” Marieck Garcia, who said she took her daughter to one of the free clinics, told CNN affiliate KCPQ. “I think that’s important to keep everybody healthy.”

The new state law

The new law requires that students are fully vaccinated, be in the process of completing immunizations or have a signed Certificate of Exemption — religious or medical exemption, in order to attend school — the school district said.

Under the new law, school staff were required to follow up with children who had personal or philosophical exemptions to the MMR vaccine.

Most students weren’t affected by the change in law, the state’s health department said.

“More than nine out of 10 kindergartners in Washington are complete with both doses of MMR vaccine, and 96%  of sixth-graders have both doses. These students, along with those who have medical or religious exemptions, will notice no change from the new exemption law,” it said.

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