Officials: Yuba River Charter School closed Tuesday due to measles case (DOCUMENTS)
A Yuba River Charter School student has contracted measles, prompting the school to close on Tuesday and the Nevada County Department of Public Health to issue a letter to parents requiring unvaccinated students be kept home from school at least until April 8.
According to the letter from the health department, which was sent out to families by Ron Charles, the school’s director, Monday afternoon, a student with a confirmed case of measles attended class while infectious on March 17.
Measles is highly contagious. The disease can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or by sharing the same airspace as an infected person. The virus can also remain in the air for up to 75 minutes after a person infected with measles has left the area.
Anyone who has not already had measles or been vaccinated against the virus is at risk of developing the disease.
Under California health and safety code, the county’s public health officer can exclude unvaccinated students from school to protect against an outbreak of the disease.
The letter issued to Yuba River Charter parents Monday afternoon by Nevada County Health Officer Ken Cutler requests that parents keep children who aren’t vaccinated under home quarantine through April 8, or 21 days after the March 17 exposure date.
According to the letter, that means those children “should not visit any public locations, unless it is necessary to obtain medical care” during that time.
In addition, “non-household members coming into the home must be strictly limited to those people who are immune to measles.”
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat. Those infected with the virus also develop large, flat, red blotches on their face, around their hairline and behind their ears; eventually, that rash spreads down the body to the arms and the legs.
The county department of public health states anyone who develops those symptoms should notify their primary health care provider by phone. Those who do not have a primary health care provider should call the department of public health at 530-470-2502.
According to the department’s letter, if no new cases of measles arise, unvaccinated Yuba River Charter students will be allowed back to school on April 8.
Yuba River Charter is expected to re-open Wednesday for those students not affected by the quarantine; it wasn’t immediately clear how many students would be affected by the quarantine.
Yuba River Charter School, like several Nevada County charter schools, has some of the highest rate of unvaccinated students in the area. According to data from the state’s public health department, just 30 percent of the Kindergarteners who entered the school in the fall of 2014 were up-to-date with state-required vaccinations, including the measles vaccine; 70 percent of those students came from families that requested a personal belief exemption, signed by a healthcare professional, waiving the required vaccinations.
Yuba River Charter School’s director informed parents in the email that the school will be closed Tuesday with plans to reopen Wednesday. He provided the letter from Cutler to parents, as well as a Measles Home Quarantine fact sheet.
An outgoing voicemail message at the school’s phone number reports that school will be closed an extra day upon return from spring break, but does not provide the reason for the cancellation. There was no notification of the cancellation, or the reported measles case, on the school’s website as of 6 p.m. Monday.
To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.
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