Editor’s Note: This is an open letter to the community from Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District superintendent Sandra Lyon.
As a follow up to a communication you received last week from your school nurse regarding the importance of immunizations, I want to follow up with you on the concern of measles in our communities.
As you may be aware through local news and Samohi families, we received confirmation from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday that a Samohi freshman baseball coach had been diagnosed with measles. We notified Samohi families that evening.
When we were made aware of the possibility of this coach having measles prior to his diagnosis, we reviewed immunization records for all baseball players and according to school records, determined all have been immunized against this preventable disease.
Had we learned that any team members in contact with the coach had not been vaccinated, under the direction of the public health department, those students could have been required to stay out of school for the 21-day incubation period that goes along with measles.
While the Department of Public Health is not directing us to take any additional action or to exclude any students from school at this time, SMMUSD joins with county public health officials in urging all students get up to date with all immunizations.
If you have previously signed a waiver, but have since had your child immunized, please contact your school nurse directly to update our records.
If your child is not immunized, please make an appointment with your pediatrician or doctor to have your child immunized, or to verify immunizations are up to date. Additional resources are available:
— Westside Family Health Center at 1711 Ocean Park Blvd in Santa Monica provides FREE immunizations for children under 18 years old on the first Saturday of each month from 12-2 pm. No appointment is necessary. Visit: www.wfhcenter.org or call 310.450.2191 for more information and clinic hours.
— Venice Family Clinic with several centers in Santa Monica and Venice, including at Samohi, provides free immunizations for children and adults. No insurance or documentation is required. Appointment required. Visit: www.VeniceFamilyClinic.org or call 310.392.8636 for more information, locations and hours.
— UCLA Health –Malibu at 23815 Stuart Ranch Rd in Malibu provides immunizations to patients. Appointment required. Visit: www.uclahealth.org/Malibu or call 310.456.1668 for more information, office hours and insurance requirements.
As a member of our community, we also ask you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles. If you suspect your child (or anyone you know), may have been exposed, or is displaying any signs or symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider for further direction immediately and contact your school Health Office so we can work with you to create a plan for your student prior to returning to school.
Measles typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face, and then spreads downward to the rest of the body. Measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease and is a reportable disease to the health department. If exposed to measles, children and staff without documented immunity must be excluded from school for 21 days.
To assist you in better understanding the issue, please visit the California Department of Public Health at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx. This website discusses some of the most common questions and their answers surrounding measles.
For frequently asked questions about immunizations, visit: http://www.smmusd.org/StudentServices/immunizations.html.
We continue to educate students on the importance of hand washing at school, as well as other good health practices to reduce the spread of germs, including flu, and other illnesses.
The health and safety of our students and staff is our first priority.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District