The current measles cluster in the Chicago area has school districts on heightened alert. Following is a short summary of preventative steps and guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health. This alert is intended as a summary only; additional steps must be taken in the event of a confirmed case of measles. A copy of the applicable IDPH regulation can be found here.
- Prepare/update your list of unvaccinated students.
- Ensure that you have up to date contact information for all unvaccinated students to allow for prompt notice in the event of a confirmed case of measles.
- Consider asking parents of students to notify you immediately if their children are exhibiting symptoms of measles, have been exposed to measles, or have been diagnosed with measles.
- Consider providing your families and employees with detailed information about measles, which can be located on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.
Locate the contact information for the local health authority and the Illinois Department of Public Health so that it is readily available.
If a student or employee contracts the measles:
- School personnel who are responsible for investigating absenteeism shall immediately report suspected cases of measles to the school principal or the school nurse. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(c)(1).A school official shall make a telephone report within 24 hours to the local health authority specifying the name, age, and sex of any case. The name of the individual’s private physician, if any, shall also be reported. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(c)(3).
- On the same day that a report of a suspected case of measles is received, school personnel shall conduct an inquiry into absenteeism to determine the existence of any other cases of the illness in the student’s class and school. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(c)(2).
Quarantine provisions in the event that a student or employee contracts the measles:
- Children and adults with measles must remain out of schools, workplaces and child care facilities for at leastfour days after appearance of the rash. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(a)(2).
- Susceptible contacts (meaning persons six months of age or older who have not yet received a total of two doses of measles-containing vaccine) shall be excluded from school, workplace, child care facility, or other facility until 21 days after the onset of the last reported measles case in that facility. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(b)(3).
- A notice shall be sent home with each student who has not presented proof of immunity, explaining that the student is to be excluded, effective the following morning, until the school receives acceptable proof of immunity or until 21 days after the onset of the last reported measles case. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(c)(4). Acceptable proof shall consist of: (1) a written record from the student’s physician or a health professional that indicates dates of vaccination and type of vaccine administered; or (2) a statement from a physician indicating the date when the student had measles; or (3) a laboratory report indicating that the student has a protective measles antibody titer as measured by a test with demonstrable reliability.
- Homebound tutoring for excluded students should be considered on a case by case basis.
Proof of immunization overview:
- Proof of immunization against communicable diseases must be provided for students entering school for the first time and those entering kindergarten (or first grade if kindergarten is not offered), sixth grade, and ninth grade. 105 ILCS 5/27-8.1(1); 77 Ill.Adm.Code 663.210(a).
- Students must provide proof of immunization by October 15 of the current school year or by an earlier date as established by the school district, which is commonly the first day of school. 105 ILCS 5/27-8.1(5).
- If a student does not comply by October 15 or by the earlier date established by the school district, the student should be excluded from school until such time as proof of immunization is provided. 105 ILCS 5/27-8.1(5). It is worth noting that the statute contains exceptions to this general rule that are beyond the scope of this alert but should be discussed with your attorneys.
- Excusals from immunizations in Illinois are currently allowed for religious or medical grounds. Specifically, parents or legal guardians who object to immunizations on religious grounds must present to the appropriate local school authority a signed statement of objection, detailing the religious grounds for the objection.
- By November 15 of each year, schools districts are required to report to ISBE both the number of children who have received immunizations and the number of children who are exempt on religious or medical grounds. On or before December 1 of each year, school districts must make this immunization data available for public inspection.