Flint, MI–More than 70 Flint Community Schools (FCS) students have not been able to attend classes after the holiday break because they did not meet state vaccination requirements, school officials say.

Michigan law mandates that students be vaccinated against various illnesses in order to enter kindergarten and seventh grade or to enroll in a new district for students in grades one through 12. 

Those who fail to present a waiver or an immunization report showing they are up to date on state-required vaccinations are not allowed to go to class. 

Despite the school district meeting the state’s mandated completion rate in November 2022, Jennifer Holland, coordinator of health services at FCS, confirmed 76 students could not attend classes as of Jan. 4, 2023, as they had not provided the required immunization status documentation. 

Flint Schools had hosted vaccination clinics and reached out to families to remind them of the requirement in the months prior to winter break, Holland said, adding that the district has also been offering an immunization clinic throughout the first week of school after the holiday.

Holland said students can return to class as soon as they present documentation of their vaccination status, and she reminded families of the importance of getting immunized. 

“Whether or not to get immunized is absolutely a choice, but the safest and best choice is to get immunized if able,” Holland wrote in an email. “Vaccines are proven to either prevent or lessen the severity of disease symptoms. Getting immunized helps keep yourself and the community at large safer and protected.” 

In all, 92% of students across the district have either presented a waiver or an up-to-date immunization report as of Jan. 3, Holland said. So, FCS remains on track to meet its next state-required completion rate of 95% by Feb. 1. 

Previously, Flint Schools met the state’s 90% benchmark by Nov. 1, 2022, with every school in the district reaching that rate aside from Holmes STEM Middle School Academy. Holmes’ completion rate stood at 89% as of Jan. 4. 

Aside from the FCS health services department, primary care physicians or the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) are options for getting vaccinations, Holland said. Alternatively, parents can receive a waiver from GCHD.

Flint Schools health services department can be reached at 810-424-4087 or healthservices@flintschools.org. 

The Genesee County Health Department can be reached at 810-237-4540 or 810-237-4569.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...