COVID-19 among students

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The Seattle Public School board is considering a resolution that would request the Washington Board of Health (BOH) to mandate the COVID-19 vaccines for all students across the state once the vaccines are FDA approved for kids ages 5+. 

The resolution was brought forth in the board's agenda Wednesday night. The board is set to vote on the resolution during their November 3 meeting. The resolution is contingent on the FDA approving the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 and up, which could come as early as next month. 

In Washington, the state already requires all students to receive various vaccinations in order to attend school. These shots include Hepatitis B, tetanus, mumps, and measles. 

Governor Inslee also announced that Washington will require the COVID vaccine for most state employees, healthcare workers, and school employees. The deadline for these workers to be vaccinated or receive an approved exemption is Monday, October 18. If a worker does not meet this deadline, they will lose their job. 

With a possible FDA approval for the COVID vaccine ages 5+ possibly coming as early as next month, school board members are working to prepare a plan to make sure students are vaccinated and protected against the virus as well. 

According to the Washington State Department of Health, roughly 54% of 12-15-year-olds and roughly 60% of 16-17-year-olds have received their first dose of the vaccine.  

Currently, Pfizer has the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by the FDA for people age 16+. Pfizer is also approved for kids age 12-15 through the FDA's emergency-use authorization. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccines are also approved through emergency-use authorization for people ages 12+. 

As the Delta variant surges across the state, many schools have had to quarantine hundreds of students and staff who have contracted COVID or been exposed to it. Health and school officials say that the potential approval would help tremendously in keeping students learning in schools and not remote.