Yesterday OSPI sent joint guidance from DOH and OSPI to all public school superintendents. In the guidance applicable for the 2020–21 school year and K–12 programs only, DOH and OSPI state:

  • In light of the pandemic, if a student cannot meet the immunization requirements by the first day of school and a student is fully participating in remote learning, we are not recommending that the school exclude that student from school. The student should be immediately enrolled and served remotely.
  • Students should be in compliance when they are back on campus for any reason, including small group learning or extracurricular activities.
  • If the student’s learning program is at school or only partially remote and the student is not in compliance with immunization requirements, they should be enrolled but excluded from physically attending school.
  • As required by current state and federal law, any student experiencing homelessness or living in foster care must immediately be enrolled and served, regardless of their immunization status or educational setting.
  • Schools should continue to work with the families to bring students into compliance as soon as possible.

More information including suggested messages for parents and families is in the full document: Distance Learning During COVID-19 – K-12th Grade School Vaccine Requirements (PDF)

Medically Verified Immunization Documentation

Children starting at a new school district, private school or child care center after August 1, 2020 must have medically verified documentation of their immunizations by one of the following:

  • Certificate of Immunization Status printed from the WA Immunization Information System (IIS). Note that though these are not yet updated with the new conditional status language they are still considered medically verified and can be used for new enrollees. A CIS printed from the IIS is medically verified by the IIS. No additional parent or health care provider signature is needed to verify the accuracy of the information.
  • Hardcopy Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) completed by hand:
    • Verified as accurate with a health care provider signature. Or
    • Verified as accurate by a school nurse, administrator, child care health consultant or their designee after comparing the information on the CIS with attached medical vaccination records
  • OR – Schools actively using the IIS School Module:
    • School staff can verify and record the verification that the student’s immunizations are COMPLETE in the IIS (no CIS is required). If the student is not complete in the IIS one of the CIS options above is required.
If parents turn in the validated CIS (that says PASS/FAIL) or the CIS that prints from MyIR no validation signature is needed. If the parent turns in a hardcopy CIS without a health care provider signature but with medical immunization records attached, the school or child care can verify the CIS for accuracy. The school administrator, school nurse, child care health consultant or their designee can compare the dates on the CIS with those on the medical records and, if they are the same, they can sign the CIS verifying the dates are accurate.

Validated Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS)

The validated CIS form is in the process of being revised to remove the parent validation signature, add the conditional status language and to reflect the new school Tdap requirements which are:

  • Grade K-6 – no Tdap required
  • Grade 7 – one dose of Tdap administered at age 10 years or older
  • Grade 8-12 – one dose of Tdap administered at age 7 years or older

Please be aware of the following when printing the validated CIS:

  • Print a CIS for a student in grades K through 6 using the series “Grade K-6” which does not include the Tdap requirement. Tdap is no longer required for students in 6th grade
  • Print a CIS for a student in 7th grade using the series “Grade 7” which includes the Tdap booster required in 7th grade
  • Print a CIS for students in grade 8 through 12 using the series “Grade 8-12”. Until the CIS is updated it may incorrectly say FAIL for a student in grades 8 through 12 if the Tdap dose was administered between ages 7-9 years of age. In this situation it is ok to change the CIS status to PASS by hand with a notation.

Have additional questions?

Katherine Graff BSN, RN
School and Child Care Immunization Nurse Consultant
Washington State Department of Health