Ontario and Vale schools districts aim to keep measles out

According to the Center for Disease Control, measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people of all ages around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

ONTARIO — With a recent measles outbreak in Clark County, Washington — where 50 cases have been confirmed and more are suspected in an ongoing outbreak — neighboring states have been working to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. This has included education about vaccinations, as the vast majority of the cases were linked to people who weren’t vaccinated for measles, as well as review of policies.

The Ontario School District is proactively working to keep its students and staff safe from the spread of measles, after the outbreak in Washington. In a letter to parents dated Feb. 1, the district outlined some of its policies to stop the spread of measles if and when it may occur.

If a case of measles is confirmed, the Public Health Department will review all staff and student vaccination records to calculate risk of further spread. If an unvaccinated person is exposed to measles, they will not be allowed to go to school or child care during the time they could become sick — usually 21 days after exposure. If there is more than one measles case the time may be extended. People excluded from school or child care after a measles exposure are asked to stay home to avoid exposing other community members.

Taryn Smith, public relations and communications coordinator for Ontario School District, wrote in an email that 99 percent of the district’s students are vaccinated.

The Vale School District immunization requires proof of immunization be presented prior to the time of initial enrollment in school or within 30 days of transfer to the district. Proof consists of a signed Certificate of Immunization Status form documenting either evidence of immunization or a religious, philosophical beliefs and/or medical exemption.

Beth Morrow, admin assistant for Vale School District, said along with the immunization policy, the district also follows Oregon state guidelines.

According to Oregon Revised Statutes, in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease, including measles, “persons who attend or work at schools or child care facilities or who work at health care facilities or food service facilities shall not attend or work at these facilities whilst in a communicable stage of any restrictable diseases.”

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