Measles fears: Morrinsville College bars students until they can prove they've been vaccinated

A doctor gives a child a measles vaccination. Photo / iStock
A doctor gives a child a measles vaccination. Photo / iStock

A potential measles outbreak has closed Morrinsville College in Waikato, with staff and students barred from returning until they can provide vaccination evidence.

Morrinsville College was notified on Friday by the Waikato Medical Officer of Health that one of its 736 students had contracted measles. The school was now legally obliged to follow his instructions in an attempt to stop the contagious disease spreading.

In a letter to parents and staff, acting principal Scott Jenkins announced the school would be closed on Monday and would reopen on Tuesday to those who can provide written evidence they have received two MMR or measles vaccinations. All sporting fixtures this weekend were also cancelled.

Any students or teachers that had not received two vaccinations must stay home for a minimum of 14 days from their last known contact with the affected student.

Teachers born before 1969 were considered to have a natural immunity and could return to work immediately.

Mr Jenkins said the Medical Officer's instructions would cause "significant disruption to learning, sporting fixtures and will inconvenience many parents". He apologised but said the school had "absolutely no say in this matter".

The Medical Officer gave the school permission to stay open the remainder of Friday as any students would not yet be in the contagious phase if they had contracted it.

MMR and measles records could be found in the person's Well Child Health book or provided by the person's GP.

Late last month Waikato Hospital revealed a staff member had worked with patients while not knowing that they had measles.

The staff member was infectious at the time, but hadn't developed any measles-like symptoms.

The area's district health board contacted all patients who had interactions with the staff member.

- NZ Herald

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