Oct 6, 2022 - News

A quarter of D.C. students out of compliance as vaccine deadline looms

Data: The Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Chart: Axios Visuals

With the deadline rapidly approaching for elementary school children to be up-to-date on their pediatric vaccines, more than a quarter of D.C. school students are still out of compliance.

Why it matters: Starting Oct. 11, DCPS students in pre-K through 5th grade who are not fully vaccinated will not be permitted to attend school. Students at all schools, including public, private and parochial, are required to be up-to-date on their vaccinations.

  • Middle and high school students still have until Nov. 4.
  • Students ages 12 and up are required to also be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 3.

Yes, but: The Office of the State Superintendent of Education tells Axios that school leaders have been directed to allow a two-week grace period for out-of-compliance students who have upcoming vaccine appointments and for families whose documentation is being processed.

  • OSSE says the number of students who will be excluded is not yet known due to staggered enforcement and flexibilities given to families.

The big picture: D.C. school officials have been warning about high non-compliance rates since the summer and have launched efforts to encourage vaccination. Two days before the start of this school year, school officials delayed enforcement of the ‘no shots, no school’ policy to give families extra time.

Zoom out: Nationally, children have fallen behind on their pediatric vaccinations.

By the numbers: Per data from OSSE, 26.5% of D.C. school students as of Sept. 27 are out of compliance with their routine pediatric vaccinations, a small drop from 29% in mid-August.

  • There is also variation by ward, with schools in wards 2 and 7 showing the highest non-compliance rates of 28.3%.
  • When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, 44.7% of D.C. school students are out of compliance.

What’s happening: In an effort to get more children up-to-date on their shots, DC Health has opened several clinics.

Through Nov. 18, Children’s National Hospital is operating Monday - Friday clinics at five locations, including those with evening and weekend hours. Starting next Tuesday through Oct. 16, the Ward 7 COVID clinic is being converted into a high-volume childhood vaccination clinic.

  • Families can sign up here for appointments.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state that students in pre-K must also be fully vaccinated, and that the requirement applies to all public, private and parochial schools.

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