A student at our school has contracted chickenpox (varicella) and your child may have been exposed. Because the virus that causes chickenpox spreads easily, exposed children who have never had the vaccine or the disease will most likely get the disease. Although chickenpox is not usually a serious illness, it can cause severe complications such as pneumonia and can even result in death. Even a relatively mild illness can result in the loss of a week or more of school for a child.
Children are considered to be immune to chickenpox if they:
- have had two doses of varicella vaccine, with the first dose administered at 12 months of age or older; or
- have laboratory evidence of immunity to varicella; or
- have documentation of a history of varicella or herpes zoster disease diagnosed by a physician.
Studies have shown that children who have been exposed to chickenpox and are vaccinated within 5 days of exposure are less likely to contract the disease. Please contact your child’s healthcare provider to make arrangements to get your child vaccinated.
If your child is immunocompromised, (i.e. HIV, cancer, leukemia, organ transplant, etc.) contact your child’s physician immediately to report the exposure, ask for guidance for returning to school and request a written statement for the school nurse.
If your child develops chickenpox, regardless if he/she has received the varicella vaccine, he/she should be kept from attending school five days after onset of rash and/or until the rash has scabbed over, whichever is longer.
Please help us to protect your child and stop the spread of chickenpox in our school. For more information regarding chickenpox, please refer to FAQ sheet posted on the website. Any questions regarding this notification letter should be directed to Kathy Pratt, School Nurse, at 717-691-4530.
Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School Principal