Updated Jan. 6, 2020
Dear District 97 Families,
Over winter break, District 97 administrators were notified of three confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) at Longfellow, Holmes and Julian. On Monday, Jan. 6, we were notified of another individual case at Whittier. As we previously shared, pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing.
Since Dec. 9, 2019, there have been eight reported cases of pertussis in our schools (two cases at Lincoln and individual cases at Brooks, Mann, Longfellow, Holmes, Julian and Whittier). We are aware that there have been multiple confirmed cases in the Oak Park and River Forest communities, and we will continue to work with our counterparts in Districts 90 and 200 to monitor the situation.
The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Please be assured that our school nurses are following the recommended protocols of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our buildings and grounds staff have also been working diligently to ensure that all of our schools are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Please refer to the information sent last month (see below) for important reminders about pertussis. If you have any questions regarding pertussis, please contact your child's physician.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Senior Director of Student Services
Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Its severe cough can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially mothers, can spread pertussis to newborns.
1. If your child has a cough:
- Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups. See items 3 and 4 about when your child can return to these activities.
2. If your child lives with any of the following people and may have been exposed to pertussis, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics as soon as possible to your child, even if he or she is not coughing:
- A woman who is pregnant;
- An infant younger than 12 months old;
- Anyone with a weakened immune system.
3. If your child has been diagnosed with pertussis by his or her doctor:
- Tell the school that your child has been diagnosed with pertussis.
- Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups, until your child has been on antibiotics for five days to treat pertussis.
- Ask your child’s doctor for a note that states your child has pertussis.
4. If your child’s doctor says your child does NOT have pertussis:
- Ask for a note from the doctor telling the school that your child’s cough is NOT pertussis and that your child can return to school and other activities at any time.
Please make sure your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a pertussis booster shot called “Tdap” to protect themselves and infants near or around them. If you need the Tdap vaccine, contact your doctor or call the Oak Park Public Health Department at 708-358-5480 to find a vaccine provider near you.
If you bring your child to a doctor for pertussis, please show the attached letter to the physician. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Oak Park Public Health Department at 708-358-5480.