Twenty Cases of Chicken Pox Reported at Tunstall High School

Pittsylvania Co., VA - As Pittsylvania County students get ready to start SOL testing, one school is dealing with an unusual outbreak.

Twenty students at Tunstall High School have contracted chicken pox, and at least two hundred students have not gotten adequate vaccinations to protect them against the virus.

Administrators say their priority right now is making sure more students don't get sick.

"I've been in the school a very long time and this is the first time I've seen a case like this, " said Tunstall Principal Barbara Brown.
Tunstall High School students begin SOL testing Friday, but some who have contracted chicken pox will need to make-up those tests.
Brown says faculty members are doing all they can to help students avoid the virus.
"We've told them that it's necessary for them to wash their hands often, to cover their mouths if they have to sneeze, do not exchange clothing, " Brown said.
Letters went home to parents and an alert message will be going out as well. Superintendent James McDaniel says the numbers have not reached epidemic levels, but they are monitoring the situation closely.
"The main thing is, if they child is sick, they want them to stay home. We don't want them to come to school if the child is sick. Get the treatments, see the doctor, those kinds of things, " McDaniel said.
Now officials have turned their attention to the students who have not received proper vaccinations.
McDaniel says changes to immunization requirements have left some students lacking a second dose of the vaccine that they need to be protected, but they plan to change that.
"We're going to have a clinic at Tunstall High School and students can come after school to receive the vaccine. We want to make sure that we provide parents and students with the opportunity to get that extra dose, " he said.
Permission slips for that after-school clinic will be going home with Tunstall High School students soon, and they hope to have it set up within a week or so.
McDaniel says students who miss their SOLs because of the virus should have plenty of time to make them up.