Chickenpox outbreak in Shipshewana makes kids miss school

The LaGrange County Health Department held a special clinic Wednesday to help vaccinate children from chickenpox.

Clinics aren't out of the ordinary in Shipshewana, but this one was especially important.

This one was really important, because as of right now, those without the chickenpox vaccine are not allowed to go to school.

Shipshewana Scott Elementary School is a little quieter Wednesday because of a chickenpox outbreak

“Once there is the declaration of the outbreak any child who is not vaccinated completely has to sit out for school until they are vaccinated,” says Audrey Howe a Public Health Nurse.

In order for the LaGrange County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of health to declare an outbreak, there have to be five documented cases, which as of Monday, there were

Out of the 406 students attending the elementary school, 28 need the vaccine, and 11 students are missing a second dose.

“In an outbreak situation all children within that school are required to have two doses so even the older children in the 3rd and the 4th grade that have only had one do have to come in and get that second dose before they can return to school,” explains Howe.

All kids missing school have to keep up with school work like they would if they were out sick, and the principal says teachers are doing everything they can to help. That’s not the only thing they are staying on top of.

“We continue to do our normal cleaning and keep the school nice and safe,” says Ian Zuercher the Principal of Shipshewana Scott Elementary. “It is part of our normal routine we do to keep the building nice and clean.”

While this was the first time this elementary school went through an outbreak situation, the principal said things are running very smoothly.

“Our County Health Department has really communicated very well with us and through the State Health Department giving very clear direction and helping us make sure we are following procedures that are outlined in the law,” says Principal Zuercher.

Now according to Howe, only about 10 people came in to get their vaccines, so that leaves a good handful that are still going to be missing school.


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