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Vaccine 'exclusion day' kept 274 students home

Two weeks later, all but 11 have complied with state law and returned to classes in the Beaverton School District

Across the Beaverton School District, 274 students were excluded from school last month because their immunization records weren’t up to date.

But by Monday, most of the issues were resolved and all but 11 of the students were back in class.

“Even though this number is more than we would like, we anticipated the number to be much greater,” district spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler said in an email.

Wheeler noted that more than 2,000 letters were sent to families, notifying them that there were students in their household whose records did not prove they either had required immunizations or had obtained a recent waiver.

Districts are required by state law to report students in district and charter schools with incomplete immunization status to Washington County, which oversees the program locally.

Those preliminary numbers may have been higher than normal due to the passage of Senate Bill 895, which changed some requirements, Wheeler said.

In particular, the law did not allow religious or philosophical exemptions claimed before March 1, 2014, and many of the Beaverton families notified of pending exclusions had outdated exemptions. Families declining immunizations for their children on those grounds had to seek new exemptions, but many of them did not respond to the district’s efforts to bring students into compliance.

“Schools worked very hard in getting the necessary information out to families and provided immunization clinic resources if needed,” according to Wheeler. “As a result of this hard work the number of students excluded is higher than last year, but lower than previous years.”

Last year, the district excluded 167 students, down from nearly twice that many (328) during the 2013-14 school year.

For more information about the immunization program, search for the “Required Vaccines for School” page on the Washington County website.