July 31, 1996
REMEMBER TO CHECK CHILDREN'S HEALTH RECORDS BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- As the 1996-97 school year draws near, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, wants to remind parents to check their children's health records.
Illinois law mandates that children in elementary and secondary public and private schools be immunized against seven childhood diseases. State law also requires that children have a physical exam at school entry and at kindergarten and grades 5 and 9. Children entering licensed day care, preschool or kindergarten for the first time must show proof they have been assessed or screened for lead poisoning.
"Children who are healthy learn more quickly and do better in school," Dr. Lumpkin said. "One of the easiest and most effective steps to help children grow up healthy and free from preventable childhood diseases is to make sure they get regular checkups and have their immunizations."
Dr. Lumpkin said children without the state-mandated physical and vaccinations may not be allowed to attend school until these requirements are met. The only exceptions are for those children whose parents or physicians have filed a religious or medical exemption with the school district.
In addition to a physical exam and proof of immunizations, 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 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.
Children entering Illinois elementary and secondary schools for the first time must meet the following immunization requirements:
School districts must demonstrate at least 90 percent compliance with state-mandated immunization and school physical requirements by October 15 each year or face a 10 percent loss of state aid.
Students born after 1956 who are entering public or private four-year universities or colleges in Illinois for the first time must provide proof of the following:
"Vaccines are made available statewide to local health departments and public clinics through state and federal resources," Dr. Lumpkin said. "There is no reason any child in Illinois should not be properly immunized because of an inability to pay. Most local health departments also offer school physicals." Some local health department may charge a nominal fee to help cover administrative costs, but a family who cannot afford to pay will not be turned away.
For information on obtaining immunizations or a school physical, individuals may contact their physicians, local health departments or the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-323-GROW (TTY and voice).
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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