Student health services provided within district schools is directed toward a goal of good health and based on the belief that learning and health are connected. The Health Services staff includes a health services coordinator, an assistant health services coordinator, and registered nurses in every school.
Nurses positively affect student attendance. A registered nurse at school every day allows for prompt and professional responses to health concerns and medical issues. In the event of illness or accidents, the nurse provides emergency care.
Responsibilities of the nurse include first aid and illness care, the maintenance of student health records, the development of healthcare plans, and screenings for student vision and hearing needs. Parents/guardians are encouraged to bring questions about immunizations, health exams, medication, or student health needs to the nurse.
GUIDELINES TO DETERMINE WHEN TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL
Keep your child at home if they have:
- a fever (temperature of 100 or greater)
- undiagnosed rash
- communicable diseases (such as strep throat, influenza, chicken pox, measles, etc.)
- pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- head lice infestation (live head lice)
Before a student may return to school, he/she must be free of the above symptoms (without medication) for 24 hours or have completed 24 hours of prescribed antibiotic medication.
When the above noted symptoms occur during school, parents will be contacted to pick the child up from school. An ill or injured student who is sent home may only be released to the parent/guardian or emergency contact provided by the parent/guardian. In the event of a serious or life-threatening injury or illness, EMS services/911 will be called to provide care. It is important that the school has accurate parent phone numbers and emergency contacts. Please keep the school office up to date with current contact information.
Attending after-school events should be avoided when your child does not attend school due to illness symptoms or is sent home from school with illness symptoms. Best health practices recommends children remain home, in recovery, until they are no longer contagious and free from symptoms for 24 hours.
Health Services staff provide care for students who become ill or injured at school. Generally, student injuries are easily managed with adhesive bandages, cold packs, and “TLC,” allowing students to return to their classrooms.
It is required that parents/guardians call school to report their child’s absence. To prevent the spread of illness in the classroom, parents/guardians are encouraged to report symptoms and the student’s diagnosis to the school.
In the event of a public health crisis, the District will follow the recommendations of public health officials.
All medication (including over-the-counter medications) requiring administration at school must:
- Be brought to school by the parents and turned into the school office, along with the Medication Administration Form, available at www.ccsd15.net/MedicationAdministration. This form must be complete prior to medication being given.
- The medication must be in the original container and have an appropriate label.
- The medication must be renewed annually, if needed in the next school year.
- Any changes in a medication, dose, or time will require a written order from the licensed prescriber.
- The medication must be picked up by a parent/guardian at the end of the year or when the medication is discontinued; medication that is not picked up will be discarded.
The administration of medication to a student at school is discouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to allow the student’s academic participation.
All medication will be stored in a secure location in the health office, with the exception of emergency medications and epinephrine. Students may carry these medications within the school properties if additional consent forms are provided.
Medication at school is administered by the school’s registered nurse, a school administrator, or an authorized staff member, in accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education’s recommended guidelines and the Board of Education policy.
Note: The school district, school, and its employees and agents are exempt from liability or professional discipline, except for willful and wanton conduct, as a result of any injury arising from the administration of medication, including asthma medication, epinephrine (whether or not undesignated), or an opioid antagonist. Parents/guardians will be notified after the administration of epinephrine (whether or not designated), or an opioid antagonist.
REQUIRED HEALTH EXAMINATIONS AND IMMUNIZATION RECORDING
For the purpose of safeguarding the health of children, District 15 enforces Illinois student health requirements. These requirements consist of health, dental, and eye exams and immunizations specific to grade and age.
Health exams are required for students entering preschool, kindergarten, and sixth grade, and those new to the school. The Certificate of Child Health Examination form is available in the school office and at www.ccsd15.net/HealthExams. The exam form, completed and signed by a licensed healthcare provider, must be dated within one year prior to the first day of school and must include lead screening for children who are six years or younger and diabetes screening. A tuberculosis (TB) skin test is recommended. The Health History section of the form must be completed and signed by the parent/guardian.
Required school immunizations are:
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP/DTaP)
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
- Have received 4 doses of DTP/DTaP at the recommended intervals with the last dose received on or after the fourth birthday.
Grades 6, 7, and 8
- Have received 1 booster Tdap.
- Have received 3 doses of IPV at the recommended intervals.
- Have received 4 doses of IPV at the recommended intervals with the last dose received on or after the fourth birthday.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Pre-Kindergarten and Grades 5, 6, 7, and 8
- Have received 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine at the recommended intervals.
Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Pre-Kindergarten and Grade 5
- Have received 1 dose of varicella vaccine after the first birthday.
Kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8
- Have received 2 doses of varicella vaccine with the first dose on or after the first birthday.
Measles (Rubeola) German Measles (Rubella, 3 Day) Mumps – (MMR)
- Have received 1 dose of MMR vaccine after the first birthday.
Kindergarten through Grade 8
- Have received 2 doses of MMR vaccine with the first dose on or after the first birthday.
Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4)
Grades 6, 7,and 8
- Have received 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) on or after 11 years of age.
Additional immunizations for students less than 5 years old (Pre-Kindergarten):
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)—Have received the series of Hib vaccines.
- Pneumococcal—Have received the pneumococcal vaccine according to the PCV schedule.
According to District policy and Illinois School Code, students who do not provide proof of receiving the required immunization and/or exam are excluded from school on October 15. Students new to Illinois schools, who register midterm, are allowed 30 days following registration to comply with the health requirements.
Dental exams are required for students in kindergarten, second grade, and sixth grade. The dental examination must have taken place within 18 months prior to May 15 of the school year. A waiver form is available in the case of an undue burden or lack of access to a dentist. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Dental Examination form and the waiver form are available in the school office and at www.ccsd15.net/HealthExams. If a student fails to present proof of a dental exam or a waiver form by May 15, the school may withhold the student’s report card until the student presents proof: (1) of a completed dental exam, or (2) that a dental exam will take place within 60 days after May 15.
Eye exams are required for students entering kindergarten and those entering Illinois schools for the first time. A waiver form is available in the case of an undue burden or lack of access to an optometrist or to a physician who performs eye examinations. The State of Illinois Eye Examination Report and the waiver form are available in the school office and at www.ccsd15.net/HealthExams. If a student fails to present proof of an eye exam or waiver form by October 15, the school may withhold the student’s report card until the student presents proof: (1) of a completed eye exam, or (2) that an eye exam will take place within 60 days after October 15.
Interscholastic Sports Participation
In addition, annual health examinations are required for interscholastic sports participation. Health examinations are required, before trying out, for participation in interscholastic sports. The exam form, completed and signed by a doctor, must be dated within 13 months prior to the start of practice or tryouts, and on file in the school nurse’s office. Physical forms (Certificate of Child Health Examination forms) are available in the school office and online.
GUIDELINES APPLICABLE TO MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS IMMUNIZATION EXEMPTIONS
Religious Objection to Immunization and Examination: Under Illinois law, parents or legal guardians who object to immunizations and/or health, dental, or eye examinations, or any part thereof, on religious grounds are not required to submit their children to the examinations or immunizations. When the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is requesting a religious exemption from a vaccine requirement, a Certificate of Religious Exemption form signed by a healthcare provider licensed under the IL Medical Practice Act is required. The instructions for completing the Certificate of Religious Exemption form and the actual form are available at www.ccsd15.net/immunizations and at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/immun-exam-gdlns-religious-exempt.pdf.
Medical Exemption: Under Illinois law, exemptions from student health requirements are allowed. The examining physician, advanced-practice nurse, or physician assistant responsible for the performance of the health examination shall endorse that fact upon the health examination form or in a statement attached to the student’s Certificate of Child Health Examination form indicating an immunization is medically contraindicated. Statements from physicians indicating a specific medical condition that predisposes a student to a potential health risk if vaccinated are forwarded to the Illinois Department of Public Health Immunization Program Representative for review. If the Illinois Department of Public Health does not approve the statement, a copy of the explanation will be forwarded to the student’s parent(s) informing them that the student must receive the required immunization(s).
Immunization data: Visit the District 15 website for the latest Student Health Data—Immunization, as reported to the Illinois State Board of Education.
In the event a student has an injury or illness that prevents them from participating in recess or PE, a parent/guardian must provide written notice to both the school nurse and PE teacher. That note is valid for a maximum of three days. A student unable to participate in outdoor recess or physical education classes for a period of more than three days must provide the school with an activity order from a healthcare provider licensed under the IL Medical Practice Act.
A student who arrives at school with a new cast, splint or orthopedic brace for a recent injury must provide school with an activity order from a healthcare provider licensed under the IL Medical Practice Act.
It is recommended that an activity order from a healthcare provider licensed under the IL Medical Practice Act be provided for students returning to school after surgery or a hospitalization.
Activity orders should specify the student’s injury or medical problem, the dates the student may not participate, and a date to resume activity. Students with an activity restriction are restricted from similar extracurricular and/or interscholastic activities during the activity restriction time period.
Students may not resume activities until a release from the healthcare provider is provided to the school.
CONCUSSION AND HEAD INJURIES
Students who have experienced a force of impact believed to have caused a concussion may not participate in:
- athletic practices,
- physical education class,
- other physical activities during the school day, or
- school-sponsored after-school activities.
The student may resume these activities after successful completion of the return-to-play protocol, in addition to a medical release from the licensed physician who has treated the student. Students exhibiting signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion will be immediately removed from these activities. The district’s return-to-learn protocol guides school staff on accommodations needed, including cognitive rest, for students recovering from a concussion.
Student athletes and their parents/guardians must sign the Agreement to Participate before the student is allowed to participate in a practice or interscholastic competition.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE MANAGEMENT
Control of communicable diseases is managed within the District in accordance with the Cook County and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and directives. Students who exhibit symptoms of communicable diseases are excluded from school until a physician indicates they may safely return. Health Services staff alert families of reported communicable diseases within the schools as recommended by the health department. Communicable disease occurrence reporting to the health department is conducted in accordance with county and state mandates.
The following chart lists common illnesses, symptoms, and recommended time out of school:
VISION AND HEARING SCREENINGS
Screenings for vision and hearing deficits are provided in accordance with the Illinois Department of Public Health and District 15 guidelines. Parents/guardians and staff members who suspect a problem with a student’s vision or hearing are encouraged to call the nurse and request a screening. Students who do not pass the school screenings are referred for medical follow up.
Parents or legal guardians who object to screenings for their child on religious grounds may contact the school nurse for additional information.
Note: Vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. A child is not required to undergo the vision screening if an optometrist or ophthalmologist has completed and signed a report form indicating that an examination has been administered within the previous 12 months.
If your child has a life-threatening allergy, please notify your school nurse. The nurse maintains a list of students who have food allergies to share with staff on a need-to-know basis and can assist you with the necessary documents needed for school. Please refer to the district food allergy guidelines page on our website to read more about guidelines and download needed documents.
An increased awareness of asthma and allergies is needed to keep students safe at school. The Health Services staff maintains a list of students with asthma to share with staff on a need-to-know basis. Asthma and recommended actions for responding to emergency events, including emergency medication, are provided to staff.
Illinois law requires students with asthma to provide an Asthma Action Plan that guides staff response. (See www.ccsd15.net/HealthDocuments.)
Severe food allergies and childhood overweight/obesity rates among children are on the rise, resulting in serious health complications for our students. The Child Nutrition and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act requires school districts to develop a local wellness policy. Part of that act also calls for the formation of a local wellness policy committee. The local wellness policy committee made up of community members, parents, teachers, and administrators, and with a mission of producing healthy world-class learners by building a connected learning community, met to develop the District 15 Wellness Policy Guidelines, which can be found on the District website, www.ccsd15.net/HealthWellness.
Birthday treats during the school day must be non-edible. Visit the District website for non-edible celebration ideas for parents (www.ccsd15.net/HealthWellness).
SNACKS WITHIN THE SCHOOL DAY
Food consumed within the classroom is discouraged. In the event that it becomes necessary for a classroom to schedule a “healthy snack” time on a daily basis, snacks high in fiber such as fresh fruits and vegetables and/or low in fat (less than 5 grams) and sugar are recommended. These snacks should be free of the 8 major food allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soybeans, and wheat. Please contact your child’s school nurse with further questions. Avoid pre‑packaged processed foods that are generally high in calories and fat and have little nutritional value. Limiting portion sizes so that the snack does not become a substitute for a nutritious meal and can be eaten within a limited time period is also recommended.
INDIVIDUALIZED HEALTH PLANNING
Health Services staff members act as consultants and liaisons between the family, school staff, and healthcare provider. Individualized Health Plans are developed as needed to accommodate students with special health needs. For students with disabilities, the student’s Individualized Health Plan may become part of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. All health information and recommendations are shared with staff on a need-to-know basis.
HEALTH INFORMATION SURVEY
The Health Information Survey is available in the school office and at www.ccsd15.net/HealthDocuments. Completion of this survey by the parent/guardian assists the Health Services staff with safely meeting the health needs of students.
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Confidentiality of student health records is maintained in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA).
The Health Services staff believes family is an essential part of good health. Your input is valued and welcome. Please stop by to ask questions, share thoughts, and exchange health information. We look forward to partnering with you.