Columbia High School has seen a number of students diagnosed with varicella, or chicken pox, in recent days. The district released the following notification via email on Wednesday:
Dear Parents and/or Guardians:
Five (5) students at Columbia High School have recently been diagnosed with chickenpox, also known as varicella. Chickenpox causes a skin rash of itchy, blister-like lesions all over the body. Often there is a fever before the rash. Chickenpox is usually not serious; however, it may cause a more severe illness in some children. It is very contagious and spreads easily from person to person through the air by coughing and sneezing, or by direct contact with the fluid from a chickenpox lesion. It usually takes 14–16 days to develop chickenpox symptoms after being exposed to the virus; however, symptoms may appear up to 21 days after exposure.
If your child develops chickenpox, he/she should not attend school until 24 hours after the entire rash is dry and crusted over. Even if your child was previously vaccinated, he/she may still develop chickenpox.
As per New Jersey Regulations, all children born on or after January 1998 are required to have one dose of varicella vaccine. The second dose is recommended. The two-dose varicella vaccine is recommended for those twelve months of age and older, who have never had chickenpox. If the vaccine is given within three days of exposure to chickenpox, it may prevent or reduce the severity of the disease. If your child does not have the disease and has not been previously vaccinated, it is highly recommended that you contact your health care provider about vaccine options. If you are pregnant or have a newborn, it is advised that you contact your physician immediately regarding possible exposure to chickenpox.
If your child develops chickenpox, or if you have any questions, please contact Lynn Schwartz (Ext. 1059) or Tracy Crigler (Ext. 1060), Columbia High School Nurses. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff continues to be one of our main concerns. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Lovie E. Lilly, Ed.D.