News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 13, 2012

Chickenpox outbreak declared in Parke County school

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

MONTEZUMA, Ind. — Montezuma Elementary in Parke County has had eight confirmed cases of chickenpox, considered an outbreak, according to Leonard Orr, superintendent of Southwest Parke Community Schools.

Shot clinics have been scheduled for both that school and Rosedale Elementary on Wednesday. The clinics will begin at 7:30 a.m. About 140 elementary students at the two schools need to be immunized, he said.

Starting Wednesday, all students, faculty and staff — including those at Riverton-Parke Junior/Senior High — must be optimally immunized or they will be excluded for 21 days, Orr said.

Optimal immunization means if an individual has had one dose, they need a second. If they haven’t been immunized, they need at least one dose.

Orr didn’t anticipate too many students at the secondary level will be affected, although there are a few who have religious objections.

All three schools in the district are affected because of potential interaction between students, including on bus routes. Also, fifth- and sixth-graders at the two elementary schools recently had a basketball game.

The district has had a conference call with the Indiana Department of Health.

The shot clinics will be conducted by the Parke County Health Office, with assistance from the state. Letters have been sent to parents.

“We hope we have a tremendous turnout,” Orr said. Staff born after 1980 also must be optimally immunized.

Montezuma had six preschool children and two third-graders with confirmed cases of chickenpox, Orr said.

“It is what it is. We’ll deal with it the best we can to protect students and staff,” he said.