- Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance: This policy and supplemental resources provide detailed instructions for schools to begin enforcement of immunization compliance in the 2020-21 school year.
- Immunization Attendance Coding: Two new attendance codes have been created for instances when students are removed from in-person attendance based on immunization non-compliance: “unexcused absence - immunization” and “excused absence - immunization.” LEAs may choose to offer all non-compliant students distance learning in lieu of using new attendance coding. The Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance guidance document provides more detail on using these codes.
The Immunization of School Students Act of 1979 requires schools to verify immunization certification for all students as part of enrollment and attendance. A school shall not permit a student to attend school in-person for more than 20 school days without certification of immunization. As a result of COVID-19 and the extremely low pediatric immunization rates recorded in DC and across the country, there is a severe risk for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease among children. It is now more important than ever for schools to ensure students are fully immunized for in-person attendance in order to reduce the risk of another outbreak on top of COVID-19.
Starting with the 2020-21 school year, schools shall implement the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance. This policy includes instructions for schools to adopt school-level protocols for frequently reviewing immunization compliance, notifying parents/guardians of missing immunizations, removing non-compliant students from in-person attendance after a 20-school day period, and allowing students to return to in-person attendance after they have received their required immunization(s) and provided documentation to the school.
OSSE has created two new attendance codes for implementing the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance, including for when non-compliant students are removed from in-person attendance and for when students are permitted to return. LEAs may choose to offer distance learning to all non-compliant students in lieu of using new attendance coding. Schools may refer to the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance for details on using the new attendance codes.
Schools are strongly encouraged to begin reviewing immunization compliance and notifying non-compliant families now in order to allow plenty of time for families to make appointments and secure any missing immunizations before school year 2020-21. DC Health will support this work by also notifying families over the summer that are overdue for immunizations.
Schools play an important role in keeping students safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Similar to COVID-19, many infectious diseases, such as measles, are highly contagious and dangerous for our youngest District residents. In order to prevent the spread of these 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.
|Deadline||Review the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance guidance and supplemental resource materials in full. For questions on immunization attendance policy, please contact [email protected]. For questions on immunization requirements and immunization data for District children, please contact DC Health.||July 31|
|Deadline||Assemble School Health Teams and begin reviewing school-level immunization compliance. Send notifications to all families regarding the new policy coming next school year (see OSSE's immunization page for sample letters and fliers).||July 31|
|Deadline||Identify and notify non-compliant families of any missing immunizations, giving them ample time to secure the necessary immunization documentation and present it to the school (see OSSE's immunization page for sample letters and fliers). DC Health will support this work over the summer by also notifying families that are overdue for immunizations.||July 31 through the beginning of the school year|
|Deadline||Implement the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance, including identifying, notifying, and removing non-compliant students from in-person attendance after a 20-school day period.||Start of 2020-21 school year|
|Training (recorded)||Schools and LEAs may access OSSE's immunization page for a pre-recorded training on the immunization policy. Information will also be provided for schools during the OSSE health and safety reopening guidance calls. For more information, please contact [email protected].|
- OSSE's Immunization Landing Page - The OSSE immunization webpage provides multiple resources for schools and families on enforcement of immunization requirements, including:
- 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
- Sample Notification Letters and Packet for Non-Compliant Students
- FAQs for Families
- One-Pager for Families
- Immunization Requirements
- Universal Health Certificate
- Pediatric Immunization Locations
- HPV Opt-Out Form
- Six Things YOU Need to Know about Vaccines
- Making the Vaccine Decision: Addressing Common Concerns
- Facts About HPV
- 2020-21 Immunization Policy Checklist for School Health Teams: LEA and school leaders, school health POCs, registrars, and data POCs can use this list for implementing the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance (also referred to as No Shots, No School) for the 2020-21 school year. For questions on the Immunization Attendance Policy, please contact [email protected].