As students begin to return to the classroom, D.C. is making major changes to the timeline for proof of vaccinations, including against COVID-19.
The District will give families more time to submit immunization records. Updated guidance released Friday for students in D.C. Public Schools, charter schools and private schools says families will have until next year to prove that students are vaccinated against COVID.
The families of students age 12 and older will receive an official notice on November 21 if they have not shown they are vaccinated against COVID. January 3 will be “the first date of exclusion of non-compliant students,” a letter from Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn to schools said. For routine immunizations, the deadlines are staggered by grade.
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This will mark the first time in years that D.C. has enforced proof of immunization requirements.
For months, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and her education team have told families that all students will need proof of COVID vaccines and immunizations within 20 days of the first day of school or they will not be allowed back into classrooms.
D.C. government websites post the law: “If the student does not come into compliance within a 20-school day period, the school must remove the student from the school until the immunization is secured by the school.”
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On Friday, the deputy mayor for education told parents and the D.C. Council the deadline would be extended.
“We’ve got to ensure that families, who have not been asked to fully comply with this law in a number of years, have ample time to go and get all of the shots that they need in order to keep our schools and communities safe," Kihn told News4.
“The 12- to 15-year-old vaccination was only fully authorized in July, which takes us toward the end of September, so timing is not ideal for the start of school," he added.
Here Are the Deadlines for DC Students to Get Vaccinated and Immunized
Routine Pediatric Immunizations:
Pre-K 3 Through Fifth Grade:
Official notice sent to non-compliant students: Sept. 7, 2022
First date of exclusion of non-compliant students: Oct. 11, 2022
Sixth Grade Through 12th Grade:
Official notice sent to non-compliant students: Oct. 3, 2022
First date of exclusion of non-compliant students: Nov. 4, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students 12 and Older:
Official notice sent to non-compliant students: Nov. 21, 2022
First date of exclusion of non-compliant students: Jan. 3, 2023
D.C. will enforce the requirement that students at all traditional public schools provide a negative COVID test before the first day of school.
Kihn said he expects a high compliance rate for families uploading test results.
Education officials are working with asylum seekers who were bused into the District, will be enrolled in D.C. Public Schools and may not have health records, Kihn said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.