Due to a whooping cough outbreak, Grand Traverse Academy is closed until November 17. There are currently 10 confirmed cases and 83 probable cases. Attendance at the school today dipped below 70% of enrollment, which triggered the closing.
In case you’re wondering, that’s an alarmingly high rate of infection.
Whooping cough is a preventable disease with vaccinations that protect people from contracting it. It’s transmitted through being in close proximity to others who are already infected. Untreated, the disease is deadly, especially in small children and infants. Other infections that result from whooping cough include pneumonia.
The health department has advised everyone who attends the charter school to not go out in public, according to charter school superintendent Susan Dameron. The students who are sick are being treated for it. According to experts, it takes about 2 weeks to contain a whooping cough outbreak. Staff and students from the school are now taking prophylactic antibiotics for the rest of the week.
Almost 20% of students attending GTA have immunization waivers in their school records. This means they are attending school without vaccinations that prevent the spread of highly dangerous and infectious diseases like whooping cough.
It would be interesting to know if the number of students attending for-profit charter schools have a higher rate of illness due to lack of vaccinations.