Sunday, December 3, 2023

D.C. schools extend deadlines for coronavirus, routine vaccination mandate



Students in D.C. public and charter schools will have more time to comply with vaccination requirements this school year, the city’s deputy mayor for education said Friday.

The city’s top education official notified school leaders Friday about the change, designed to reduce the number of children who could be barred from school, as well as align the District’s 69 local education agencies — 68 charter systems and D.C.’s public schools — under a single enforcement timeline.

The mayor’s office previously said schools should not allow students to attend for more than 20 days without their routine vaccinations against illnesses including measles and polio, or their coronavirus shots. Now, depending on grade level, families have more time to comply.

Prekindergarten through fifth-grade students who do not have their routine pediatric immunizations by Sept. 7 will receive an official notice from their schools. If they are not vaccinated by Oct. 11, they face exclusion from school.

Students in sixth through 12th grades will be notified about noncompliance on Oct. 3 and will need to be vaccinated by Nov. 4.

The city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, which applies to students 12 and up, falls under a different timeline. Students who are not fully vaccinated against the virus will by notified Nov. 21 and will need to comply by Jan. 3.

The city launched an urgent effort this summer to get students vaccinated ahead of the school year. Officials in June reported that more than a quarter of the public and private school population — roughly 30,000 students — had fallen behind on the routine shots they need to legally attend school.

D.C. unveiled its coronavirus vaccine mandate for children over 12 this summer. The 13-member D.C. Council passed legislation last year to require students to be immunized against the virus once the drugs received full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

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