school health issuesSchool Health Issues

 Health News and Events (11/4/16)

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  Allergies (8/16/16)

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 Asthma (11/4/16)

  • Asthma Episode Emergency Response Protocol and Asthma Action Plans (11/16) new

    Illinois Public Act 099-0843requires Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a model asthma episode emergency response protocol, and for each school district, charter school, and non-public school to adopt a similar protocol, including all the components of the ISBE model protocol, by January 1, 2017.

    The same law also requires schools to request from parents of students with asthma, an Asthma Action Plan (AAP). If provided, the asthma action plan must be kept on file in the office of the school nurse or, in the absence of a school nurse, the school administrator.

    The same law also requires school personnel who work with pupils to complete training on the management of asthma, prevention of asthma symptoms, and emergency response in the school setting every two years. ISBE will post training resources in the near future.

  • ISBE Guidance: Self-Administration and Self-Carry of Medications for Asthma and Allergy (PA 98-0795)(4/15)
  • Asthma State Plan 2009-2014 PDF File

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  • Training Resources for School Nurses

    The Illinois Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act (P.A. 99-0245 and its companion legislation, P.A. 99-0486) requires that if a school employs a nurse, that nurse must be a member of the school concussion oversight team. The nurse (and others on the concussion oversight team) must obtain training in concussion from an authorized training provider at least once every two years, beginning September 2016. The training course for the nurse must be one that meets the continuing nursing education requirements set by by Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
  • This one-hour course is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine, in collaboration with medical and nursing professional association partners, including the National Association of School Nurses.

    This course provides Continuing Medical Education (CME) and therefore may be used to fulfill the nurse training requirement according to IDFPR rules on continuing education.

    The 1.0 Continuing Education Credit certificate must be printed or saved at the conclusion of the course. Once you close the program you will not be able to access your certificate without repeating the course. The website also has numerous resources, including assessment checklists.

    Visit to register and take the course.
  • 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/AED 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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 Health Examination and Immunization Forms

  • Child Health Examination Forms (11/15)
    Students entering kindergarten (or first grade if not previously enrolled in kindergarten), sixth and ninth grades at any Illinois public or private school (including charter schools) must provide proof of physical examination on a form approved by both the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education. Students entering an Illinois school from out of state or out of country for the first time at any grade level must also provide the physical exam form. The exam must be completed no earlier than a year (365 days) prior to the start of attendance at an Illinois school.

    The Child Health Examination Form labeled 11/15 must be used by students who need to provide proof of the physical exam for school year 2017-18. Either of the Child Health Examination Forms labeled 11/15 or 2/13 are acceptable for students prior to school year 2017-18.
  • New Child Health Examination FormPDF File     Español PDF File (11/15)
  • Child Health Examination FormPDF File     EspañolPDF File (2/13) - Valid until 1/1/2017
  • IDPH Health Forms Page         Other Languages

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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/Wind Chill

  • Wind Chill and Heat Index Charts PDF format
    Students should be encouraged to engage in physical activity year-round, including winter, when they are adequately protected from exposure to extreme weather. Attached is a chart, created by Iowa Department of Public Health and distributed nationally, which may help school districts decide when to limit outdoor play and other activities. The chart explains both wind chill and heat index and is based on information provided to Iowa DPH by the US National Weather Service. To be most useful, the chart, if printed, should be printed in color.
  • Irregular Days Policy

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 Home/Hospital Instruction (2/16)

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Medications (11/16)

  • Guidelines on Administration of Medications (September 2000) - Under Revision (expected release by August, 2016)
  • Use of Undesignated Epinephrine
  • ISBE Guidance: Self-Administration and Self-Carry of Medications for Asthma and Allergy (PA 98-0795)(updated 5/15)
  • Undesignated Epinephrine Reporting Form PDF File (34-20) (8/16)
  • Use of Undesignated Opioid Antagonist (3/23/16)
  • Public Act 99-0480 (also known as HB 1 and Lali’s Law) created a pilot program and process by which schools may stock an antidote to overdoses of opioid drugs in the schools.

    The requirements in the legislation are many, with a number of state agencies carrying out various parts of the law.  School officials and parents have taken note of recent news reports about the use of this drug (commonly referred to by the brand name Narcan® or the generic name naloxone hydrochloride) in schools. Adapt Pharma announced recently that it would provide a carton of Narcan free to all U.S. high schools. The company is also partnering with the National Association of School Nurses to provide educational materials.   See
  • School nurses and administrators who are interested in considering a policy on the use of this drug may want to review the Illinois law.
  • Prescriptions for the drug are required in Illinois, whether purchased or provided free to the school.
  • Training is very specific and must meet the requirements of the Act.
  • In addition, a report to ISBE is required within three days of use of the drug.
    ISBE, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) are working collaboratively to carry out the law.

    ISBE Administrative Rule 1.540 Undesignated Epinephrine Auto-injectors went into effect as of March 2, 2016.
  • Undesignated Opioid Antagonist Reporting Form (34-20A) (8/16)
  • Opioid Antagonist Report 2015-16 (11/16)
  • Use of Medicinal Marijuana
  • Public Act 98-0122Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act created a process by which persons suffering from any of the identified lists of health conditions could be permitted to use marijuana (cannabis).  Persons under age 18 are permitted to be given the drug for one condition only: epilepsy (seizures).  The law prohibits the presence or use of the drug on school grounds and school transportation.

    School administrators or nurses who are asked to give or allow to have given the drug to students during any school-sponsored activity may contact ISBE school health staff for further guidance.

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School Health Notices

  • Zika Virus Guidance for District and School Administrators (7/19/16)

    The Centers for Disease Control has developed interim guidance for grade K-12 district and school administrators for public health actions pertaining to the Zika virus infection. This guidance is intended to address concerns about the risk for Zika virus infection in K–12 schools and provide school districts with information for planning school-related activities, and recommend actions that can be taken, in consultation with local public health authorities and government officials, to reduce the potential risk for Zika virus transmission on school premises and among students. 

    To view the Zika virus guidance, please visit

  • Ebola Guidance Available for Schools (12/23/14)
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance "Addressing Ebola Virus Infection Concerns in K-12 Schools: Interim Guidance for District and School Administrators". For more information, visit the CDC website.

    ISBE participates on the Ebola Task Force led by the state health department to monitor the outbreak and provide information. For more information about what Illinois is doing to combat the spread of Ebola visit the IDPH website.
  • IDPH Guidance for Schools: Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Infections

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School Health Resources

  • School Health Topics A-Z
  • The YRBS monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among high school students—behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity.

    Many high school students engage in behaviors that place them at risk for the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. YRBSS data are used widely to compare the prevalence of health behaviors among subpopulations of students; assess trends in health behaviors over time; monitor progress toward achieving 21 national health objectives for Healthy People 2020 and one of the 26 leading health indicators; provide comparable state and large urban school district data; and help develop and evaluate school and community policies, programs, and practices designed to decrease health-risk behaviors and improve health outcomes among youth. Click here to view national data.

    In Illinois contact Jessica Gerdes, principal consultant, school health at
  • Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan (12/12)
  • Carrying Backpacks: Physical Effects (ISBE 6/06)
  • Illinois Enhanced P.E. Strategic Plan (8/12)
  • MRSA Infections
  • What's New in School Health Services and Health Education - Applications for Special Education PowerPoint Presentation (8/14)
  • Wind Chill and Heat Index Charts PDF format
    Students should be encouraged to engage in physical activity year-round, including winter, when they are adequately protected from exposure to extreme weather. Attached is a chart, created by Iowa Department of Public Health and distributed nationally, which may help school districts decide when to limit outdoor play and other activities. The chart explains both wind chill and heat index and is based on information provided to Iowa DPH by the US National Weather Service. To be most useful, the chart, if printed, should be printed in color.

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Sexual Health Education

  • ISBE Non-Regulatory Guidance 16-1 on Sexual Health EducationPDF File (4/16)
  • 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:
  • Listing of Risk Reduction Evidence-based Behavioral Interventions (EBI) for Youth PDF File
  • Listing of Effective Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs PDF File
  • 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:
  • Go to
  • Select the training and create your account. (Choose “Other” if you work with multiple schools.).
  • Take the brief pre-training survey, followed by the training (can be completed in one or multiple sittings).
  • Please also take the post training survey to assist in the program evaluation.
  • Print your certificate of completion.

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State Laws/Statutes and Rules/Regulations

  • Child Health Examination Code - IDPH Rules (77 IL Administrative Code 665)
  • ISBE Guidance 15-6 (P.A. 98-0632): Non-regulatory guidance on the requirement to provide training on CPR and AED in all secondary schoolsPDF File (8/15)
  • IDPH Laws and Administrative Rules
  • Reports of Communicable Disease: Some illnesses are so serious that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires health care providers (including nurses working in schools) to report to the state health department any suspected or confirmed cases of certain diseases. For a poster of those reportable diseases and conditions go to

    Federal and state laws protecting student privacy normally require written parental release of information to any entities outside of the school system. However, some threats to health and safety are great enough that federal law (FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) allow written consent to release to be waived. Obtaining parental permission for release is preferable, and parents should be notified that the release will be made. The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have agreed in principle that for diseases that are required to be reported “immediately” [Class I(a)] or “within 24 hours” [Class I(b)] schools may release the student’s identity and other necessary information without written parental release. Any reportable illnesses that fall under a longer reporting time period than 24 hours must be accompanied by written parental consent. If the parent does not consent to release information on conditions requiring reporting beyond the 24-hour timeline, school nurses and other school officials may remind other health care providers outside of school, including physicians, hospitals, and laboratories, that they also are mandated to report the case to the state health department and they are protected by  the regulations for HIPAA (Health Insurance and Portability Act) when doing so. Schools in general are not subject to nor protected by HIPAA; educational entities and personnel are required to follow regulations in FERPA  and ISSRA (Illinois School Students Records Act) when releasing educational (including student health) information to persons or entities outside of the school system.
  • School Nurse Licensure
  • Administrative Rules
  • Part 25- Educator Licensure - Endorsement for School Nurses (Parts 25.200; 25.215; 25.245; 25.710; 25.800; 25.Appendix E)
  • Part 226- Special Education - Medical Reviews (Part 226.160; 226.850)
  • Special Education Medical Review
  •  Renewal Information

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 Training Opportunities (10/28/16)

  • IDPH School Health Days - November dates statewide updated
    Illinois Department of Public Health will hold School Health Days sessions at five locations around the state in November.  Room reservations are being accepted.
    Register Here

    11/22/16, Northfield Inn & Suites Center, 3280 Northfield Dr., Springfield, IL  62702 (217.523.7900)
  • Healthy and Ready to Learn: A Back to School Webinar for School Nurses - Sept. 12, 2016 Video Format(1:21:20)
  • PowerPoint Presentation PDF File
  • Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in Illinois can earn 1.5 CNE by viewing this webinar. A link to an evaluation survey is included in the broadcast; the link must be copied into a browser to access the survey. Participants who view the entire presentation and provide an evaluation will be sent a certificate of award for 1.5 CNE via email.

  • Special Education Medical Review Requirements Beginning July 1, 2016 PDF File – (pursuant to 226.160 Special Education, Medical Review) (6/28/16)  

    Registered Nurses (RN) who do not hold ISBE Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed as school nurse are prohibited from providing educational evaluation and instructional judgment of public school students. RNs who do not hold the PEL have been eligible to obtain the designation that permits them to provide such evaluation and judgment for students being evaluated for special education through a process maintained by ISBE. Since March of 2014, more than 700 Registered Nurses working in public schools have completed that process and obtained credentials as “non-PEL RN with IEP privileges PreK-21.”

    Districts that still have need for an RN to perform the special education student medical evaluations are directed to first seek a RN with PEL, as outlined in the attached message, and if unable to secure a RN with that credential, read the announcement for additional information. ISBE will again offer the Medical Review course during the 2016-17 school year on an as-needed basis for districts that meet the requirements outlined in this announcement.

    Questions may be directed to Jessica Gerdes, 312-814-5560 or
  • 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 –

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