Health officials identify steps for staff if measles is reported locally

Bottle of liquid indicated MMR serum next to vaccination needle and some text about the measlesAs many of you are aware, there has been an increase in the number of measles cases in Washington state. While to date there are no confirmed cases of measles in the Olympia School District or in Thurston County, we want you to be aware of the steps our district must take if there is confirmed measles reported at one of our schools or support buildings.

The Olympia School District is obligated to follow directives from the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department. If a single student or staff member develops a confirmed case of measles, the county health department will activate the following control measures to protect the public’s health:

  • Exclude the student and/or staff member diagnosed with the measles from the school/building until four full days have passed since the appearance of the rash;
  • Exclude immunocompromised students or staff members who are infected with measles for the duration of their illness; and
  • Exclude students exempted from measles immunization or students and staff without documentation of measles immunization or immunity for 21 days after the last exposure, regardless of vaccine doses or immunoglobulin they receive after exposure. If there is a second case of confirmed measles, the same staff member can be required to be excluded from school for another 21 days. Staff members who could not provide proof of measles immunity would be required to use their sick leave first, then have the option to use personal/vacation leave; although, they can choose not to use personal/vacation leave and go into an unpaid status. Once they exhaust all leaves, they would move into an unpaid status.

Evidence of measles immunity for staff is defined as:

  • Born before Jan. 1, 1957
  • Laboratory-confirmation of measles disease
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity to measles (known as a blood titer); OR
  • Documentation of a single dose of the measles vaccine

If you do not have your measles immunization paperwork on hand, haven’t had the blood titer or vaccination, or are not sure and want to get a MMR booster shot, the Olympia School District is exploring the possibility of hosting an MMR vaccine clinic. We will notify staff when we have more specific information such as date, time and location. Note: You cannot get the MMR vaccine during pregnancy.

More general information about measles, including links to state Department of Health resources, is available on our district website.