Take Action Now! All students must be up to date on their immunizations. In order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, it is vital that all students are fully immunized before entering school. Immunizations are the best defense against some of the most common and sometimes deadly infectious diseases. Beginning school year 2020-21, all students must have up to date immunization certification on file with the school within the first 20 school days or they will not be allowed to attend school or activities in-person. Review this page to guarantee your students are ready for school.
Important note: The flu vaccine (flu shot) is not mandatory for in-person attendance, but it is strongly recommended for all students and staff. Schools should continue to emphasize the importance and benefits of securing the flu shot for all families this fall and winter season. For individuals looking for where to secure a flu shot or other vaccines, please refer to the DC Health pediatric clinic locations or adult immunization programs.
District law and regulations require all schools in the District of Columbia, including private and parochial schools, to verify student compliance with the immunization requirements as part of enrollment and attendance. If a student is not compliant, the school must immediately notify the parent, guardian, or adult student in writing of the missing immunization(s). If the student does not come into compliance within a 20-school day period, the school must remove the student from in-person attendance and activities until the immunization certification is secured by the school.
Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, all public and public charter schools are required to implement the immunization policy for in-person attendance. OSSE has developed and revised the following resources to support schools with implementing the immunization attendance policy:
- Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance
- Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance Training
- FAQs for Schools
- One-Pager: Six Steps to a Fully Immunized School
- School Health Team
- Immunization Decision Tree
- Best Practices for School Leaders
- Letter to School Leaders (July 2020)
- Sample Notification Letters and Packet for Non-Compliant Students
- Immunization Education
In the 2020-21 school year, schools are still required to identify and notify non-compliant families of their missing immunizations, regardless of whether the student is receiving full-time distance learning, in-person instruction, or a hybrid learning model. After the 20-school day period has passed, schools may choose to offer full-time distance learning to the student, but may not allow the student to return for in-person school or activities until the immunization requirements have been met. Please refer to the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance for full details.
Immunizations and regular visits to the physician help protect a student’s health and readiness to learn. Schools are required to verify every student’s immunization compliance as part of enrollment and attendance. All students must be up to date on their immunizations or risk being removed from in-person attendance and activities beginning in the 2020-21 school year.
The following documents offer more information and resources for families:
- FAQs for Families (October 2020)
- One-Pager for Families
- Español | Amharic (አማርኛ) | French (Français) | Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt) | Korean (한국어) | Chinese (中文)
- Immunization Requirements
- DC Health Immunization Program
- Universal Health Certificate
- Pediatric Immunization Locations | Pediatric Immunization Community Facilities
- HPV Opt-Out Form
- Six Things YOU Need to Know about Vaccines
- Making the Vaccine Decision: Addressing Common Concerns
- Facts About HPV
If families need access to health insurance, please visit the DC Health Link website or contact the Citywide Call Center by dialing 3-1-1.
Important note for families: Schools are undertaking extraordinary efforts to ensure safe, healthy environments for students, staff and families during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery periods. Ensuring that all students are up-to-date on their immunizations is an essential part of that commitment to health and safety. To support the health of students, staff and the broader community, schools must ensure that all children participating in in-person activities be fully immunized. Health care providers are taking extra precautions to ensure health and safety in their offices. Such practices may include screening patients, parents/guardians and staff for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to arrival, separating sick and well patients, enhanced cleaning protocols, and limiting the number of adults that may accompany a child to an appointment. If families have questions about the COVID-19 health and safety practices of their health care provider, they are encouraged to call their provider ahead of their appointment and ask.
Schools may contact their local education agency (LEA) central office or OSSE at [email protected] with questions regarding the immunization attendance policy.
Schools may contact DC Health with questions regarding immunization certification requirements, data, and locations where students can receive immunizations. Schools participating in the DC Health School Health Services Program may rely on support from their health suite personnel to help communicate and implement immunization requirements.
OSSE is committed to helping child development facilities, LEAs, schools, and families plan effectively for reopening and recovery after closures related to the coronavirus public health emergency. OSSE's COVID-19 Guidance and Resources page offers guidance, information and supports related to closures, reopening, and recovery. Educators, families, and the public may find information about public health and safety at coronavirus.dc.gov.