A whooping cough outbreak will close Seattle s Bishop Blanchet High School starting Wednesday.

Many students and some staff have been diagnosed with pertussis, Principal Kristine Brynildsen-Smith said in an e-mail to parents. More than 150 students were out sick on Tuesday, the school said.

I am declaring an emergency closure of school for at least Wednesday (May 9) and Thursday (May 10), Brynildsen-Smith said in her message.

It's not known how many of the students who were out sick Tuesday were diagnosed with whooping cough. Officials at the King County Health Department said they have been in contact with Blanchet officials, but the agency has not yet documented pertussis among Blanchet students.

Even though school is closed Wednesday and Thursday, parents are asked to call 206-985-3750 at any time to report student illness so the school can track how many are sick and make decisions about when to resume classes.

Brynildsen-Smith encouraged students and their families to be vaccinated for pertussis. She also asked parents not to allow their children to return to school until they are fever-free for 24 hours.

Brynildsen-Smith's note also said:

1) Students who were scheduled to take an AP exam will receive a separate e-mail from their AP teacher, but know that we have communicated with the College Board and late testing will be an option.

2) All practices and games will proceed as scheduled with no restrictions. The Metro League has informed us there are no restrictions on our day to day athletic operations. Coaches will be in communication with their athletes today.

3) All other scheduled meetings and appointments will be rescheduled.

On Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m., Jean Enersen will host a Healthlink Special, Whooping Cough Epidemic: Protecting Our Families. The show will look into the outbreak and provide important information to help navigate this epidemic.

Read or Share this story: