MIDDLEBURY – Another case of chickenpox has turned up in the Middlebury school system bringing the total number of cases to 14. An outbreak was reported at the beginning of the month in the district.
At this time, state and local health officials mandated that all students in the district that are not caught up with their chickenpox shots will need to get one and those who will not get one were to stay at home.
Some parents are wondering if the latest case will mean a longer stay at home for some students.
The most recent case of chickenpox was reported at Jefferson Elementary.
“As best we can do with the epidemiology, it seems most likely that the child would have acquired it on a school bus a couple of weeks before they got sick,” said Daniel Nafziger, an Elkhart County Health Officer.
Earlier this month, students in the Middlebury system not caught up on their chickenpox shots were immunized. Some parents felt like the decision was made too quickly by requiring students to get the shots.
“It was a very quick decision; I felt that we as parents didn't have much choice in the matter,” said Brian Stutzman, a concerned parent.
Stutzman has four children in the Middlebury school system. Two of the four came down with the chicken pox. He elected not to have his two other children vaccinated. Students not immunized are not allowed in school, for now, but are receiving help from the school system with their studies at home.
“My children did not receive the shot and two of my children are still at home,” said Stutzman.
For a number of concerned parents in the district, it comes down to the mandate that requires unvaccinated students to stay out of the classroom and at home for a period of three weeks following the discovery of the most recent cases and if the new case changes that time frame.
“We are just trying to take a calm and reasonable approach to looking at all of the data we have and make the best decision for our students,” said Nafziger.
Doctor Nafziger says the county health department will keep an eye on the situation in Middlebury and make decisions accordingly.