Fourteen infants at Santa Monica High School’s child care center will be quarantined for 21 days after a baby who attends the center was diagnosed with measles, a district official said.
The room of the facility that serves infants 12 months and younger will be closed indefinitely, said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The room for toddlers will be closed through Thursday and could reopen Friday.
The quarantines and closures come as the county public health department investigates the ongoing outbreak of the contagious disease.
Public health officials will work closely with the district in the coming weeks and provide guidance to the families of the quarantined infants. The disease can be particularly dangerous to infants, who typically do not receive immunization until turning 1 year old.
Samohi’s child care facility serves 24 children of district staffers and students as well as community members. The kids range in age from 6 weeks to 3 years old.
The child who was diagnosed with measles is under 12 months old, although it was not known Monday afternoon how the child contracted the disease.
Supt. Sandra Lyon informed families of the case in a letter Sunday.
“District staff are contacting parents of children in the Infant Toddler Program to share this information and ask them to monitor their children for potential symptoms of the measles,” Lyon said in the letter.
Public health officials will work with affected families to find alternative childcare, and the district will review staffing needs on an ongoing basis.
News of the confirmed case at the daycare center comes after a freshman baseball coach at Samohi was diagnosed with measles last month. Officials determined that all baseball players had received the measles vaccine and that the risk of exposure to players was low. The coach is not a full-time district employee.
The confirmation of two measles cases in the district have reignited the debate over immunizations.
Samohi has a waiver rate of 7%, according to Pinsker. The district’s waiver rate was most recently tabbed at 11.5%, a decrease from 14.8% a year earlier.
“Part of that is the result of a new law,” Pinsker said. “Parents can’t just sign a waiver. They have to have the doctor sign that waiver, and the doctor has to explain the ramifications of their decision.”
Pinsker said the district’s vaccination rate among kindergartners increased this year. The district has urged families to immunize their children in recent notices.
“This is something the general community needs to be concerned about,” Pinsker said.
The measles outbreak began in Orange County at the Disneyland amusement parks. The disease has spread throughout California, into other states and possibly into Mexico with dozens of confirmed cases and more expected.
According to the SMMUSD, parents can vaccinate their children at the following area locations:
Westside Family Health Center (1711 Ocean Park Blvd.): Provides free immunizations for children under 18 years old on the first Saturday of each month from 12-2 p.m. No appointment necessary. Visit www.wfhcenter.org or call (310) 450-2191 for more information.
Venice Family Clinic: Several centers in Santa Monica and Venice, including Samohi, provide free immunizations for children and adults. No insurance or documentation is required. Appointment required. Visit www.VeniceFamilyClinic.org or call (310) 392-8636 for more information.
UCLA Health Malibu (23815 Stuart Ranch Rd.): Provides immunizations to patients. Appointment required. Visit www.uclahealth.org/malibu or call (310) 456-1668 for more information.
Contact Jeff Goodman by phone at 310-573-8351, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter.