MIDDLEBURY – Five new cases of chicken pox have been reported in the Middlebury School System bringing the total number of cases there to 13.

As a result of the outbreak, health officials started student vaccinations at all Middlbury schools Thursday morning. Kids who have not been vaccinated will have to get the shot or will not be allowed back in school for 21 days.

 “As a district, we are in an outbreak status and we are vaccinating,” said Kari Dyer, Principal at Heritage Intermediate School.

On Thursday morning, the Elkhart County Health Department gave student immunizations in the Middlebury school district as a result of the chickenpox outbreak.

It was recommended that the vaccination shots be given in all of the schools in the district to students that are not up to date with their shots.

Eight cases of chickenpox were reported at the elementary school. Three of them were at the middle school and two at Heritage Intermediate.

“We have nearly 700 students in our building and of those 700 students we have about 240 students who need to be vaccinated,” said Dyer.

The goal is to stop the spread of chicken pox; a disease that could still spread easily at several of the schools.

“As a district, we have our students share busing so that means our intermediate students ride the bus with our elementary students and our middle school students ride the bus with our high school students,” said Dyer. “Students have been exposed throughout the district.”

County health officials point out that chickenpox is a very contagious type of disease. During a period of several days, a person with the virus has a much greater potential to spread it to others.

Again, students there who do not receive the required shots will not be allowed to attend class for three weeks from this Thursday.