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Adult receiving an immunzation

MMR Vaccine Exemption Law

Washington State has passed new laws that impact MMR vaccination exemption in child care centers and schools. Personal and philosophical exemptions will no longer be permitted for the MMR vaccine. Medical and religious exemptions are permitted for children. Additionally, child care staff and volunteers must document proof of immunity or a medical exemption from a health care provider. The new law goes into effect July 28, 2019. You can learn more at the Department of Health's MMR Vaccine Exemption Law FAQ page. The Department of Health has developed sample letters that child care providers can use to notify staff or parents of the new requirements. 

Image of smoke from a wildfire

Enjoy the summer
             … but prepare for smoke

With the arrival of summer in our area comes the possibility of outdoor air pollution due to wildfire smoke. It has been an issue for the past two years. Air pollution outside can be particularly harmful to young children, who breathe at a faster rate than adults and tend to be more active outdoors. Child care providers should keep an eye on the air quality outdoors during the summer, paying particular attention when there are reports of wildfires in the region or when the air appears hazy.
Air quality maps and charts use a color coding system to indicate the level of pollution in the air.

                                   Green          = Good
                                   Yellow         = Moderate
                                   Orange        = Unhealthy for sensitive groups (which includes children)
                                   Red              = Unhealthy for everyone
                                   Violet           = Very unhealthy for everyone
                                   Burgundy    = Hazardous for everyone

Child care providers can find air quality estimates by visiting:

  • and clicking on “Check current air quality conditions” – this website uses the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA), which uses a scale that is more protective than the EPA’s Air Quality Index. The site shows a map of the state. Look at/click on the dot that is closest to your location to get an idea of the air quality.
  • - this is the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) website. Type in your zip code in the box at the top to get an estimate of current air quality conditions in your area.
  • - the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website has an easy-to-read chart on their homepage that shows the recommended activity level based on air quality.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) produced a chart for schools to help them decide when to allow children outdoors or engage in physical activity outdoors.  This chart is based on the WAQA and can be used as a guide by child care providers as well. Answers to many common questions about smoke from fires can be found on the Washington State DOH website
The Snohomish Health District has produced a video with information about wildfire smoke and your health. You can view this video on our YouTube channel. The video addresses how to monitor air quality, and explains what to do when air quality becomes poor. (Note: The video does mention using N95 masks; however, masks are not recommended for use with children.) 

If you do end up having to stay inside, there are many great indoor physical activity ideas available as Active Play Learning Cards and lesson plans posted on the Snohomish Health District website.  

Picture of a bat

It's Bat Season! 

Do you know what to do if you find a live or dead bat at your child care? It's important to follow the correct steps to ensure that you and the children you care for are safe.

1.) Ensure that children and pets are kept away from the bat. Do not touch the bat. 
2.) Contact your local health department. In Snohomish County, you can call the Communicable Disease program at 425-339-5278. A public health professional can provide further instructions. 
3.) Sometimes collecting a bat is required if there is potential exposure to humans, so that the bat can be tested for rabies.  If you are instructed to capture a bat, make sure to wear leather or thick rubber gloves. Never use bare hands. It is important to keep the head and the neck of the bat in good condition for testing. Keeping the bat in a hard sided container is ideal.

You can find more information about managing bats from  Washington State Department of Health's website or by watching this video from the Snohomish Health District

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Click here for instructions on how to use our online learning portal.
Image of people using online learning portal.
Click here to go to the online learning website.

This Month's Featured Classes

Wildfire smoke picture

Outdoor Air Quality: What Child Care Providers Should Know

Outside time for children in early learning programs is an important time of the day for physical activity, as well as social and emotional well-being. However, occasionally the air quality becomes poor and it becomes unsafe for children to go outside. In this course, participants will learn about some of the major causes of air pollution, some techniques for reducing risks from air pollution, and how to determine if the air quality is hazardous for outdoor play. Also provided are some great resources for indoor physical activity should the air quality force the children to remain inside.

Image of child looking through a hole

Introduction to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Early childhood is an especially vulnerable time in the growth and development of children. It is crucial that child care providers and teachers learn the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, on healthy growth and development and long term well-being into adulthood. This course gives a thorough overview of ACEs and how they might show up in the child care setting, including what traumatic experiences are considered ACEs, health outcomes associated with ACEs, and appropriate responses to observed signs or evidence of ACEs.

Contact Information

Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Ste. 104, Everett, WA  98201

Program Phone:  425.252.5415


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The Child Care Health Outreach Program staff are available to consult with you on these and other health, safety, and nutrition topics by phone, by email, or at your child care. 

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