Child Care Workers and the New Law
At the end of July 2019, WA State immunization law changed and for the first time ever includes a vaccine requirement for adults. Child day care employees and volunteers in certain licensed child care settings are required to either show proof of immunity to measles or proof of immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR vaccination). Medical exemptions were written into the law, but personal and religious exemptions were not. Workers may wish to consult Federal Religious Rights Protection Laws at the HHS Office of Conscience & Religious Freedom.
WA Department of Health FAQ page regarding the law change HERE.
Preschool workers have approached ICWA regarding the law, and we spoke to our legal counsel, who provided the following general information and opinion, which should not be considered legal advice:
The day care centers are split out from “schools” in the statute definitions, so in my opinion the new MMR provisions only apply to day care employees and volunteers, not preschool employees/volunteers.
Application of the law will depend on the day care/preschool licensing status as well. If they are a hybrid day care/preschool, it is a gray area.
Family Home Care Sites
The new law does not apply to family home day care sites. From the DOH FAQ page:
Does the new law apply to family home care sites?
No, but family home care centers are allowed to set their own policies for their workers, volunteers, and attendees. In the event of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak like the measles, the local health officer can require the family home care site to provide immunization status information for all employees and attendees. If no documentation is provided, the health officer can require individuals to stay away from the site.
(3) “Day care center” shall mean an agency which regularly provides care for a group of thirteen or more children for periods of less than twenty-four hours and is licensed pursuant to chapter 43.216 RCW.
(6) “School” shall mean and include each building, facility, and location at or within which any or all portions of a preschool, kindergarten and grades one through twelve program of education and related activities are conducted for two or more children by or in behalf of any public school district and by or in behalf of any private school or private institution subject to approval by the state board of education pursuant to RCW 28A.305.130, 28A.195.010 through 28A.195.050, and 28A.410.120.