By Laura Stovel
In response to recent cases of measles among Revelstoke Secondary School students, public health nurses will be at the school on Friday to vaccinate students and staff who do not have proof of having been immunized.
RSS principal Mike Hooker told the School Board on Wednesday that while there were only five confirmed cases of this highly-contagious virus, 86 high school students are considered to be susceptible because they have not yet provided immunization records.
Some of the possibly susceptible students come from out of province or from places where such records are difficult to access. As records are produced, this number is expected to decline. The school is sending letters to the parents of these students to provide information about immunization. The clinic is being organized by the Interior Health Authority.
Because this is a public health matter, regulations regarding parental consent for vaccinations are slightly different from usual.
“While we would still like to get parental consent,” Hooker explained, youth in Grades 10 to 12 are able to give their own “mature consent” after we inform them of any risks.
Staff members are also affected by this outbreak. Those who cannot produce vaccination records have a choice of being vaccinated or having a blood test and they will have to stay away from work until this happens or until this epidemic is over.
As of Wednesday, none of the youth who contracted measles had siblings in elementary school so elementary schools will not be part of this clinic.
The School Board also decided to send a letter to City Council supporting Arrow Heights Elementary School principal Todd Hicks’ letter to the City Planning Department in February. Hicks’ letter stressed, among other things, the urgent need for safe bicycle and pedestrian routes – sidewalks, bicycle lands and crosswalks – along Nichol Road between Airport Way and Hay Road and along Park Drive.
This issue has become of particular concern with the increase in traffic along Nichol Road as a result of the resort. Efforts by parents and the RCMP to slow down traffic were thwarted last month when someone stole the speed monitoring sign on Nichol Road. Even though the City’s Transportation Plan recommends addressing these issues as a high priority, Hicks wrote that some steps should be taken even before the planning process is complete to help ensure the safety of children in Arrow Heights.