Dear Winlock School Families and Students,

As you may know, the State Board of Health (SBOH), who determines immunization requirements for students in all of Washington’s K–12 schools, has been considering whether or not to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students. 

Yesterday, SBOH voted to not require Washington’s students be vaccinated against COVID-19 for school attendance. This means this fall, immunization requirements for our students will remain unchanged. SBOH overwhelmingly supports the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and notes that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you, especially against severe illness.

Before making this decision, the State Board of Health organized a technical advisory group (TAG) made up of doctors, public health officials, school partners, and other community members. Over a series of meetings, the TAG met to understand the benefits and challenges of requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for students. In late February, the TAG concluded their work and recommended to the State Board of Health that the vaccine not be required. In today’s SBOH meeting, they reviewed the TAG’s recommendation before deciding they agreed. 

We are anticipating the current health and safety guidance from the state Department of Health will remain in place this fall. 

In preparation for returning to school buildings this fall with no mask or COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students, I would like to personally thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate and implement changes to state guidance.

Garry Cameron
Winlock School District