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Spokane School District Enforcing Vaccine Rule

Vaccine shot
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, via Flickr
US Army Corps of Engineers

Spokane school district 81 students are being told they must comply with state law regarding immunizations, or stay home. Washington state law says before a child can attend school , parents need to provide proof of immunization status, or have signed a certificate of exemption form.

If they have done neither, kids could be pulled from classes. Now for the first time, Spokane’s school district 81 is taking that law literally. District spokesman Kevin Morrison says the district decided they had just too many students out of compliance with the law.

Morrison: "After the Pertussis outbreak in the fall, and the large measles outbreak in California, we're taking a look at our numbers and our exemption rates, and our overall compliance. And we were seeing in some of the reports we were looking at that were very high, upwards of six percent, and we felt that we could do a better job.”

Morrison says parents of about 5,000 students started receiving calls and emails seven weeks ago, and as of Friday, there were still about 900 students without an exemption or proof of immunization.

Monday, student out of compliance were being sent to the principal’s office, and their parents called and told to pick their kids up.

Morrison says the district is hosting five free vaccination clinics this week at the districts High Schools. Parents can seek an exemption on philosophical, religious or medical grounds, but must sign an exemption form before their kids will be allowed to return to school.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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