Parents share concerns as Aki Kurose Middle School sees Seattle’s second case of measles
By Brittany Toolis,2023-05-27
Seattle sees its second case of measles this year. The first happened in January, that person went from Sea-Tac to an ER. The second case is a middle schooler at Aki Kurose Middle School. That student reportedly visited a number of other places, on top of the school. One of those places is Pike Place Market.
The student and their family spent about three hours at the market Saturday, May 13. The two days prior the student was in school. They learned the student had measles on Monday, May 15. Parents now want to know why they weren’t told about the case till a week after that, and why officials didn’t decide to close the school until Friday, May 26.
“I have one daughter that’s a 7th grader,” said Aki Kurose parent, Jamaligiah Abdorohman. “The school confirmed that there was one student that had measles and they decided to close the school today and put them on remote learning next week.”
Jamaligiah Abdorohman’s daughter is one of several hundred students on an unexpectedly long weekend, because a case of measles popped up at her school, Aki Kurose.
“For those who do not have a family member who is available to babysit, they can’t call in they can’t just get sick leave or vacation time if they don’t have any available so it can pose a big hardship to people,” Abdorohman said.
Per the CDC, measles are extremely contagious and is transmitted through the air. Aki Kurose school officials said they weren’t made aware of the measles case till May 20, and immediately notified parents. Officials didn’t decide to close the school down until Thursday. They sent out a notification that told parents classes Friday would be canceled, and students would be virtual till June 1.
“[It] kind of concerned me because it felt like the school was not prioritizing the children and just made sure they for the tests instead of closing the school,” Abdorohman said. “I did worry about those people, even the elders, the staff that might be unvaccinated because they might be allergic to the ingredients or something.”
Aki Kurose school officials said they stayed open that first week because they knew which students were vaccinated and which weren’t. They also tried to track down the vaccine records for the adults in the building. They weren’t able to find out which employees were vaccinated or not. Then they decided to close the school.
This year’s vaccination rates among students are higher than last school year at Aki Kurose. This year, school officials said they made an effort to get the vaccine rate up in the fall and again after the new year.
This year, 97% of Aki Kurose students are up to date on vaccinations per those officials. It’s a big jump from the 2021-2022 school year, where the King County Public Health Department shows 85% of students were up to date on vaccines. Of the students who weren’t, only 1% had exemptions.
“A lot of children are not vaxed these days, a lot of parents choose not to vaccinate their children for whatever reasons they have,” said Abdorohman.
That student and their family spent about three hours at one of Seattle’s biggest draws while the child was infected, Pike Place.
“This is like maybe one or number two place to come to and it seemed family-friendly, a place we can all walk and find something to do,” said Rebecca Gillotti, who was at the market with her family.
Patty Wager, who works on the craft line said, “We encounter so many people throughout the day and I love it though.”
Patty Wager said Pike Place is starting to feel like pre-pandemic times again. She and others who talked with KIRO 7 said the pandemic also made them take contagious illnesses seriously.
“I’m not afraid of anything anymore. I’m also vaccinated,” said Wager.
Priya Nath, who’s visiting the market with her family said, “Even when I was pregnant there are a couple of vaccinations when you are pregnant so that it goes to the baby.”
Students are expected to return to class at the end of next week when the incubation period for that case ends.