Measles scare shuts down Levin schools

By Cherie Taylor, Natsaha Laidlaw of the Horowhenua Chronicle

It comes after a student at the college was confirmed as having contracted measles. Photo: iStock
It comes after a student at the college was confirmed as having contracted measles. Photo: iStock

Two Levin schools have closed today because of a confirmed case of measles.

Waiopehu College on the east side of Levin and Levin Intermediate on the west, both confirmed they were told my Mid Central Health to close today until students can confirm proof of 2 MMR vaccinations.

This also includes the closure of teen parent unit He Whare Manaaki Tangata and Arohanui Kindergarten - both attached to Waiopehu College and about 40 staff from the college who have to also prove they have been immunised or won't be able to go back to school until the end of the incubation period - May 30.

Notification was sent out to college students' parents and via social media and the school's website on Thursday evening stating there had been a confirmed case of measles at the school and the student had been at school during the infection period.

Principal Mark Robinson told the Chronicle they were going through the process this morning and without about only half the 89 staff on board - anyone born after the 1960s must provide proof of immunisation before they can return to school.

Any of the 650 students and 49 staff who does this can return to school on Monday.

"It's about health and safety."

Parents had responding well to the closure of classes, Mr Robinson said.

They can get proof of immunisation through their doctors or through signed Plunket books.

"The community has been absolutely wonderful. A number of parents have already been to their GP and dropped in photo copies of immunisation forms."

Meanwhile parents dropping children off at Levin Intermediate School this morning were told to take them home after Mid central Health advised the school to also close today, said acting principal Robbie Edwards.

"We are going through the process of notifying everyone ... we are working with the Ministry of Health and the Board of Trustees," he said.

Meanwhile, St Joseph's School administrator Nicki Stockman said they had been advised to contact parents of children who had been off school this week and ask about symptoms.

"Many children whose siblings are at Waiopehu and Levin Intermediate are off today as a precaution," she said. "I've had many phone calls from parents who are quite panicked about the situation ... we just have to weather the storm."

- NZ Herald

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