The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is encouraging parents to have their students immunized against preventable diseases, such as pertussis and measles, currently on the rise in Southern California.
The measles outbreak in Orange County underscores the importance of immunizing as many children in the community as possible to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease.
Measles is extremely contagious and can be undetected in the onset stage. SMMUSD has students in the district who are “immune deficient” due to a variety of medical conditions.
Exposure to unimmunized children poses a risk to these students whose immune systems are unable to protect them. The more district and community members who are immunized, the safer the environment for these fragile students. Infants too young to be immunized and the elderly in the community are also at high risk by unimmunized students.
The district would like to remind families that during an outbreak of a preventable disease such as measles, unimmunized students (including those who have not provided documentation of immunization) may be excluded from school for the length of the incubation period, in some cases up to 21 days, according to Lora Morn, RN, MSN, SMMUSD coordinating nurse.
The district has cooperated with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in the past and when they have recommended that students be excluded, the district has excluded.
SMMUSD encourages students and adults who have not been immunized to get immunized. Westside Family Clinic at 1711 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica provides free immunizations for children under 18 years old the first Saturday of each month from 12-2 pm. No appointment is necessary.
The district reminds parents that if they ever signed an immunization waiver and subsequently DID have their child immunized to please provide the school with an updated record of immunizations immediately. School staff can provide a list of required immunizations and instructions for sending to the school.
“Thank you for helping to keep the SMMUSD community healthy by immunizing your children and keeping the nurses updated on their immunization status,” Morn said.