Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine

Jan 8, 2022, 7:45 AM | Updated: Jan 10, 2022, 7:34 am
COVID vaccine students...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Could the COVID-19 vaccine soon join the list of requirements for children to attend school in Washington? According to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, it’s likely more a question of when than if.

State superintendent: Still a chance of school closures, but decision will fall to districts

Currently, schools require students to be vaccinated against Hepatitis-B, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, with exceptions carved out for those who have approved religious or health reasons. In 2019, the state Legislature passed a bill removing the exemption for personal and philosophical reasons for the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

The decision to expand that list falls to the state Board of Health, and as Reykdal told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show, that’s a definite possibility for the COVID-19 vaccine in the near future.

“If they conclude through their rigorous process that it should be a mandatory vaccine added to the existing schedule, I 100% support that,” he said. “I think they will get there, and I will support that for next school year.”

That’s part of a process that involves research into clinical trials for the vaccine, as well as outreach to families and members of the community.

“These deliberations are always about actually observing tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of children with the vaccine, and when that also has a positive outcome, then you’ve seen, historically, state boards of health — including in our state — say, ‘now we’re going to make this a mandatory vaccine to attend school,'” Reykdal described.

Seattle Public Schools reports 4% COVID positivity rate from two days of testing

That said, he also clarified that he would not be involved with the decision himself, leaving it instead to the state’s public health leaders.

“I’m never going to recommend that for my role — I’m not a public health expert. I don’t think the governor should recommend that from his role,” Reykdal said. “Let it go to the state Board of Health.”

The Washington State Department of Health reports that 20.6% of children ages 5-11 in Washington are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Among 12-15 year-olds in Washington, 51.2% are fully vaccinated and 59.2% of all 16-17 year-olds are fully vaccinated.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Dalton Day

Pierce County executive vetoes safe parking policy citing skirt of community feedback process

A measure to designate additional parking facilities for homeless communities in Pierce County has been struck down.
15 days ago
MyNorthwest Staff

City leaders lobby Congress to relax pot shop banking laws amid recent spate of armed robberies

Seattle city leaders called on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow pot stores to access traditional banking services.
22 days ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Economist: ‘Particular concern’ for first-time homeowners amid rising mortgage rates

Prospective homeowners might be wondering if now is the right time to buy before interest rates get raised.
25 days ago
Cars at Pike Place Market...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Local officials attempt to kick out ‘Pike Street Drummer’ Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson, a street jazz drummer often performing at Pike Place Market, is facing the wrath of nearby residents who want him and his music gone after years of bringing entertainment to the area
27 days ago
COVID vaccine students...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Reykdal: Board of Health ‘landed in right place’ by not mandating COVID vaccine for students

Superintendent Chris Reykdal explains the reason behind the Board of Health not requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students this fall. 
1 month ago
Trygve (The Gee and Ursula Show)...
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Not enough to just say ‘no’ to drugs:’ Bereaved Mukilteo mother on the need for fentanyl education

A mother who lost a son to an accidental Fentanyl overdose calls on the Mukilteo School District to improve their drug education curriculum.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine