August 10, 2000
CHECK IMMUNIZATIONS, A BACK TO SCHOOL REMINDER
SPRINGFIELD, IL Its back to school time and Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today reminded parents to add a check of their childrens immunization and physical records to the list of things to do before the 2000-01 school year starts.
Illinois law requires that children attending any public, private, independent or parochial elementary or secondary school be immunized against eight diseases, and children entering school for the first time, kindergarten, 5th and 9th grades must have a school physical examination.
Childhood immunizations provide one of the easiest and most effective steps we can take to make sure our children grow up healthy and free from the effects of serious, preventable diseases, Dr. Lumpkin said. Vaccinations not only protect the children who receive them, but they also contribute to the well-being of everyone by reducing the chance for these diseases to spread.
Dr. Lumpkin said a child without the state-mandated vaccinations may not be allowed to attend school until all the immunizations have been received or until medical proof has been provided that the child has had the disease. School districts must demonstrate at least 90 percent
compliance with the immunization requirements by no later than Oct. 15 each year or face a 10 percent loss of state aid. School districts have the option of enforcing the requirement anytime from the opening day of school until Oct. 15.
State law does provide exemptions from the immunization requirements for religious or medical reasons.
For an exemption on religious grounds, the parent or legal guardian must submit a written and signed statement to the local school authority detailing the religious belief that conflicts with immunizations.
A medical exemption must be made by a licensed physician indicating the medical condition that precludes the child from receiving the required immunizations.
To be protected from these diseases and in compliance with state law, children entering Illinois elementary or secondary schools for the first time must show vaccination proof for the following:
Vaccines are available statewide through local health departments and public clinics. For information on obtaining immunizations or a school physical, individuals should contact their local health department or telephone the states immunization hotline at 800-323-4769 (voice and TTY).
In addition to immunizations and a physical exam, state law requires children 6 months through 6 years of age who are entering a licensed day care facility, preschool or kindergarten to be screened or assessed for lead poisoning. Children living in areas determined by the Department to be high-risk for lead poisoning must be screened using a blood lead test. Those who live in low-risk areas must be evaluated individually using a lead risk assessment questionnaire developed by the Department. The Illinois State Board of Education does not exclude children from school if they have not been tested for lead poisoning.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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