The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to routine medical care, causing many children to fall behind on scheduled immunizations. In order to protect individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and to prepare for the return to school, medical providers are urging parents to make appointments to resume necessary immunizations. At this time, all child-health related requirements for school attendance remain in effect for children in public, private, or parochial schools, as per 105 ILCS 5/27-8.1 Documentation of required health-related examinations and immunization requirements for students, including applicable exemptions or appointments allowed by law, is required to be filed with school districts by October 15 or an earlier specified date as determined by the district (to include a required 60 days prior notice).
If a family has not ensured a child’s timely compliance with health examination or immunization requirements, the child may be provided e-learning or remote instruction, provided instruction is solely by remote means and he/she does not have a physical presence on school grounds (either before, during or after school). Any child continuing to receive remote instruction during this time will not be considered in violation of Section 26-1 of the School Code and will not be subject to the penalties imposed by Section 26-10. Importantly, any such student who is permitted to attend school through an e-learning program or remote learning plan due to failure to present proof of required immunizations, and who qualifies for free and reduced meals, may continue to receive those meals in the manner that other e-learning or remote students receive meals. The Illinois State Board of Education will continue to provide updates to the field, as necessary, concerning compliance with Section 27-8.1.
Districts should engage families to assist in locating services from their healthcare provider, identify any barriers to obtaining necessary health examinations or immunizations or to encourage the family to contact the local county health department or federally qualified health centers to ensure compliance with the state of Illinois health requirements.
The Student Health Data-Immunization System in IWAS will be updated shortly to allow for more detailed submission of data that reflects those students that are participating via e-learning or remote instruction due to not having submitted proof of required health examinations or immunizations.
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