school health issuesSchool Health Issues

 Health News and Events (Updated 2/4/15)


  • Free Epi-Pen® to schools who have physician orders for stock epinephrine

    The Illinois Emergency Epinephrine Act, PA97-0361, allows schools to stock a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors, authorizes schools to enter into an agreement with a physician  to provide the school with a prescription to obtain the auto-injectors, and gives school nurses (RN) the power to administer the epinephrine to any student whom the registered nurse believes is having an anaphylactic reaction.

    Mylan© Pharmaceuticals has agreed to provide free epinephrine auto-injectors (Epi-Pen®) again this school year to all schools that have a standing order for this emergency drug. The program requirements are: 1) school must have a doctor’s order for the use of this drug and 2) a representative of the school or district must sign the order form. The instructions and order forms can be accessed at

    The Illinois Attorney General's office and other agencies and associations last year produced the “Physician’s Toolkit”, which among other objectives, can assist a physician in writing the school prescription. The “toolkit” also answers physician questions on liability.
  • EpiPen (epinephrine) Guidance (PA97-0361) - Illinois Attorney General's Office PDF File
  • Parent Fact Sheet PDF File
  • Physician Fact Sheet PDF File
  • Physician’s Toolkit PDF File
  • School Fact Sheet PDF File
  • Food Allergy Guidelines and Resources

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The Illinois High School Association has a variety of resources on concussions on its website at Check under “Recent Announcements” for the latest, including guidelines for management of concussion in sports and a video on the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Concussion Risk Program.

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 CPR Training for Students

A student who has been shown a video on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be in a better position to save a life in school, at home or in the community. Public Act 097-0714, effective June 28, 2012, recommends such training for students in grades 6 through 8 as part of the school’s safety education curriculum. Schools may choose to but are not required to provide this training. The training in “hands only” CPR and in the use of automated external defibrillator (AED) may be met through a free video provided to schools courtesy of the Northwestern University Department of Emergency Medicine. The video has the endorsement of Illinois State Board of Education, the American Heart Association and other community health agencies.

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Additional Diabetes Resources

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  Eye Health

Vision screening is required annually on all children in special education, children new to the district, and teacher/parent referrals. Vision screening is also required beginning at age 3 in all licensed daycare/preschool programs. Once a child begins school, vision screening is required in grades K, 2 and 8.

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Hearing screening is required annually on all children in special education, children new to the district, and teacher/parent referrals. Hearing screening is also required beginning at age 3 in all licensed daycare/preschool programs. Once a child begins school, hearing screening is required at grades K, 1, 2 and 3.

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 Heat-Related Illness


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  School Health Notices

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  School Health Resources

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  Sex Education

Public Act 98-0441 requires schools that teach sex education in any of grades 6 through 12 to include instruction in both abstinence and contraception, and to teach with materials that are evidence-based and medically accurate. The Act also requires ISBE to provide a listing of resources to assist schools to secure or develop or adapt instructional materials in sex education that comply with the law, effective January 1, 2014. ISBE is currently reviewing many available programs and adaptations, in consultation with Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the CDC.

Although health teachers must implement the Illinois Learning Standards for physical development and health, health teachers are also advised to review the CDC’s standards on health education, found at:

Offered here are two links to documents from the CDC that provide a listing of evidence-based instruction in HIV prevention and in pregnancy prevention.

Staff Training to Support Safe and Supportive Environments Related to Sex Education:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided to ISBE funding to support sex education and the creation and maintenance of safe and supportive environments for all students, including those who have different sexual identities from the heterosexual norm. As part of the project, ISBE encourages all school staff to learn skills to provide students with such safety and support. Step In Speak Up! – Supporting LGBTQ Students is a free training offered by Illinois Department of Public Health. The training is self-paced and has proven effective in assisting school staff to create and maintain safe and supportive environments for such students.

To take the online training:

  1. Go to
  2. Select the training and create your account. (Choose “Other” if you work with multiple schools.).
  3. Take the brief pre-training survey, followed by the training (can be completed in one or multiple sittings).
  4. Please also take the post training survey to assist in the program evaluation.
  5. Print your certificate of completion.

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  State Laws/Statutes and Rules/Regulations

 Training Opportunities (Updated 2/6/15)

  • Certification in School Nursing
    Registered Nurses who are interested in obtaining a certificate that may lead to a school nurse license issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may contact these universities that are currently accepting students into the program. The programs are approved by the State Education Professional Licensure Board (SEPLB) to prepare Registered Nurses (R.N.) to obtain Professional Educator License, endorsed in school nursing.

    The programs prepare registered nurses to obtain professional educator licensure endorsed for school nursing. The other programs are

    •  Lewis University, Romeoville/Oak Brook –

    •  Millikin University, Decatur –

    •  University of Illinois at Chicago –
  • Special Education Course for Registered Nurses– (pursuant to 226.160 Special Education, Medical Review)

    This course is now closed for new applicants until sessions open in October 2015. Any RN needing to take this course should follow the instructions in the link above, and contact Ms. Gerdes in August 2015 for enrollment during the 2015-16 school year.

  • Sexual Health Education Course Available for Health Teachers and Registered Nurses

    ISBE has a limited number of slots available for a free web-based course, “ABC’s – Abstinence, Birth Control, and Condoms,” which will help health teachers meet state law requirements specifying content in sexual health education courses for students in grades 6-12.

    Registered nurses who work in Illinois public schools grades 6-12 and could be called upon to be a resource to the health teacher or answer student questions are also invited to enroll in this internet-delivered course.

    Participants are asked to send the following information to Jackie Ruenzi at no later than March 1:

    • Name of the staff person who will be taking the training (Limited to licensed health teacher or registered nurse who provides some classroom instruction on sex education.)

    • Email address and district name (Home email is permissible if you plan to complete this course on a personal email account.)

    • ZIP code (For purposes of tracking the trainings geographically).

    • Requested starting date to begin the training (Training must be scheduled to start between Feb. 6 and June 26).

    Participants will have 30 days from their start date to complete the training. Sign-in information will be sent to participants via email.

    Six hours of continuing education credit are available upon course completion. For more information on the course content, please contact Jessica Gerdes at jgerdes@isbe.netor (312) 814-8252.

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