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Archive for Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Bell: Case of measles surfaces at Quail Run School; special meeting ahead for Lawrence school board; Brown v. Board case anniversary this week

May 18, 2011

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A few notes and items regarding education in the area:

Officials with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department confirmed a case of measles in a student Tuesday morning at Quail Run School, the first time the department has worked a case in the county since the early 1990s.

The student is recovering, said Lisa Horn, a spokeswoman for the health department.

So, how does a case get into a school when students are required to be immunized against the virus before they can attend classes?

The requirement has two exemptions, Horn said:

• A student does not receive immunizations for religious reasons.

• A student does not receive the immunization because it would threaten the life of the student, a threat certified by a physician.

Quail Run has four students who are not immunized against measles, according to a note emailed to parents of Quail Run students.

Horn said that measles cases had been reported in neighboring Johnson County, and also that California had seen an uptick in cases.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control determined ongoing transmission of measles was eliminated in the United States. That means that anytime measles pops up in this country, it does so because someone who hadn’t been immunized had traveled to another country and picked it up, or that someone from another country was infected and brought it here.

•••

Welcoming ninth-graders next year will mean hiring an additional administrator at Lawrence High School and restoring hours for another at Free State High School.

Members of the Lawrence school board plan to gather for a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive, to approve several personnel moves, including two related to reconfiguration of schools:

• Felton Avery, a full-time assistant principal at Lawrence High, is resigning to become a half-time assistant principal.

• Mike Hill, a half-time assistant principal at Free State, will move back to full-time status. Hill — who will remain the school’s athletics director and baseball coach — had been full-time until this school year, when budget cuts reduced his position to half-time; the other half of Hill’s time this year has been spent as a teacher.

Each school is gaining administrative resources to help handle the addition of about 380 ninth-graders at each campus.

Board members also will be expected to accept the resignation of Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer, who is leaving at the end of June to become superintendent of the Bellevue school district at the edge of Omaha, Neb.; and the resignations of teachers whose moved have not yet been accepted by the board.

•••

Tuesday marked 57th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing “separate but equal” public schools for people of different races. The ruling ended legal segregation in public schools.

The “board” in the case was, of course, the Topeka school board. And the school — Monroe Elementary School — now serves as the home for the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, at 1515 S.E. Monroe St.

To learn more about the site, the history and the lasting effects of the ruling, you may visit the National Park Service’s website for the site.

— The First Bell mailbox is always open. Please feel free to send any feedback or ideas to me at mfagan@ljworld.com.

Comments

youngjayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Not immunizing your child(ren) is neglect; unnecessarily putting other children, as well as your own, at risk. These parents should be held accountable regardless of their excuses for not immunizing. How sad!

bad_dog 3 years, 7 months ago

While I generally agree with your sentiments, aren't they only endangering other, like-minded (i.e. non-immunized) children? If you don't have your children immunized and they are exposed to an infectious disease, you (parents) only have yourselves to blame.

speak_up 3 years, 7 months ago

Nope. Check out the Healthbeat article.

funkdog1 3 years, 7 months ago

Wrong. People who are not vaccinated put babies who haven't been vaccinated yet at risk for death. You watch: there's going to start being lawsuits against unvaccinated people who infect and kill babies who haven't had their vaccines yet.

notanota 3 years, 7 months ago

Wrong. Measles is highly contagious, and the window of infection extends four days before they show any outward symptoms. Babies aren't old enough for a vaccine, as funkdog pointed out. Kids with cancer or otherwise compromised immune systems can't be vaccinated. The vaccine is only 95% effective against the spread of the disease, which means 5% of vaccinated individuals could still contract measles when exposed. That's why it's vitally important that we make sure as many kids as possible are vaccinated. It slows and stops the spread, which saves the lives of babies and medically fragile children. Giving someone an exemption is a serious matter with consequences for the community and not just some casual personal choice issue.

akt2 3 years, 7 months ago

The LJW reports that this child was not vaccinated and that four students had not been fully vaccinated. Since it's the end of the school year these kids won't miss much. They would have to stay home for 21 days. If the unvaccinated child has siblings that have not had the vaccine, they will become infected also. It seems like the possible complications of the disease would outweigh any reason for not having your child vaccinated. Then again it also seems like a parent would know that their child was ill and not send them to school with a highly contagious disease.

notanota 3 years, 7 months ago

You can spread the disease four days before you exhibit symptoms.

Cimmy Redmond 3 years, 7 months ago

Is there any way (legally) for parents of public school children to find out how many children in a school are not immunised?

ferrislives 3 years, 7 months ago

Although I don't agree with it, in this district, you have that option as a parent. But I believe that if you make that choice, that choice should also mean that you will be homeschooling your child. It's not fair to the other vaccinated kids in the school, and I'd be mightily PO'd if my not yet fully-immunized baby came down with the measles because of some parent's "choice".

letsgetwise 3 years, 7 months ago

Some of you need to re-read the exemptions.

"A student does not receive the immunization because it would threaten the life of the student, a threat certified by a physician."

We have friends, whose sibling died from a "reaction" to a vaccination they received as a baby. I think perhaps, that was 100% a problem for them. So before some of you decide to throw stones and go into panic mode, be a little more insightful as to why the exemptions are in place. There are risks involved on both sides of these arguments.

notanota 3 years, 7 months ago

Odds of a serious injury from a measles vaccine: One in one million. Odds of a serious injury from a case of actual measles: One in one thousand.

It's horrible if your friend's sibling died from a vaccine reaction, and it's even more horrible that overuse of the exemptions jeopardizes the lives of those who really do need those medical exemptions. At least Kansas doesn't allow philosophical exemptions.

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