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Lower Merion School District

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Letter to Community Regarding Measles
Letter to Community Regarding Measles

Dear LMSD Families,

The health and safety of our students are of great importance to us. We are following the national increase in measles cases as well as five confirmed cases in the Pittsburgh area. The majority of these cases have occurred in people who are not immunized. In compliance with 28 Pa. Code § 23 and regulations of the Pa. Department of Health, school districts must keep and review the immunization reports of children enrolled in K-12 public and non-public schools. We provide annual reports of our students' immunization status as required to the Pa. Department of Health and to the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, if requested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children and adults are properly immunized for measles and other preventable illnesses. Measles is typically prevented through a combination vaccine called the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). The CDC recommends that children get two doses: the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second at 4 through 6 years of age. In certain cases, such as outbreaks or international travel, some pediatricians may recommend the vaccine to infants younger than 12 months.

Adults who have not had measles or who never received their immunizations should consult with their health care provider about the vaccine. If you aren't sure of your vaccine status, you can also ask your provider about a booster or request a blood test to check on your immunity. People born before 1957, when measles was widespread, are assumed to be immune since they probably suffered through an infection. Those born in the years 1957 to 1989 may not be fully immunized, since they likely got an older and weaker version of the vaccine, and it was common then to give children only one shot.

While the vast majority of students in our 10 public schools are fully immunized, Pennsylvania law allows for immunization exemptions for students whose parents /guardians have a strong philosophical or religious objection. Additionally, there are students with serious health conditions for whom immunization is medically contraindicated. Please be aware that Pennsylvania law and LMSD Policy 205 allow for the exclusion of students who are not fully vaccinated during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness. The local health departments may also direct the exclusion of unimmunized children until they receive vaccines or until the outbreak is over. Due to the highly contagious nature of measles and the potential of serious consequences from this disease, it is likely that unimmunized students may be excluded from school if we experience cases in our area.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about this matter.

To view a PDF document with important information for parents/guardians about measles, the vaccine and how to prevent it, click here.

Sincerely,

Terry Quinlan
Lead Supervisor School Health and Student Safety
LMSD

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