WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - As students returned to classes on Tuesday, several parents are reacting to six cases of measles that were confirmed at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston.

“He’s vaccinated, everything is OK,” said a parent. “So just following all the procedures.”

The outbreak of measles at the school was first reported on Friday after one student contracted the disease. That number then increased to four students over Presidents’ Day weekend. On Tuesday afternoon, the district confirmed an additional measles case.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata walked the halls of the elementary school on Tuesday to thank teachers and staff.

“We know what goes on in schools is so important. We can never forget that you are the front line for educating our children,” Licata said.

Licata said that if a child is vaccinated, they are safe to go to school.

“It’s safe. It’s safe if your child is vaccinated,” Licata said.

The district said they are working closely with state health officials. They said any big decision, including temporarily closing down the school, will be made by the state.

“We are not allowed to keep children from coming to school but if the state feel it’s the best interest, they’ll deem that as a state of emergency for the school,” Licata said.

The superintendent’s visit comes as Broward County officials said another measles case in the county was detected on Tuesday. The update, provided by BCPS spokesperson John J. Sullivan, brought the total number of measles cases reported at Manatee Bay Elementary to six.

“This evening, Tuesday, February 20, Broward County Public Schools was notified of one additional confirmed measles case at Manatee Bay Elementary School. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to six. We expect to receive further guidance from the Florida Department of Health tomorrow and will continue to keep the school and its families updated with the latest information,” said Sullivan.

The Florida Department of Health released a letter on Tuesday detailing how easily measles spreads. They said that up to 90% of people who don’t have immunity and who are exposed will get it.

During the weekend, some parents were debating whether to send their child back to school.

“All weekend, we were back and forth to, ‘Are we going to take them,’ so we’re taking them, but I’m nervous because of the measles breakout,” said a parent.

School administrators spent the holiday weekend deep-cleaning every classroom at the school in hopes to stop the spread.

“They just disinfected everything, so it’s all clear, it’s all nice,” said a parent.

When asked if they’re afraid of the outbreak, one parent said that it was nothing to worry about, while others felt differently.

“Listen, he’s got to get to school, but at the end of the day, it’s nerve-racking,” a parent said.

On Tuesday, 200 students were absent from school.

The district said they will be offering free vaccination for students and their family at the elementary school on Wednesday. They said 92% of the students at the school are vaccinated for measles.

Health officials said that if people are vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, they’re about 98% percent protected from the highly contagious disease.

“The hallmark of measles is the rash, though, and that occurs a few days later,” said Dr. Ron Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “The rash is red, dotted rash that starts on the face, around the hairline, behind the ears, and then spreads to the trunk and then to the extremities,” he said. “That’s one of the unique features of the measles rash, is where it starts and the way it spreads.”

According to experts, the transmission period is roughly four days before the rash is visible and four days after the rash appears.

The latest outbreak of measles is not exclusive to South Florida. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said there are at least 20 measles cases in 11 other states.

The latest case in Broward comes as a House subcommittee on the COVID pandemic talked about lower rates of vaccinations last week.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox