Chapter 2: Health and Safety

In this Chapter



School Health Requirements

Physical Examination Requirement

In order to comply with state legislation for school enrollment, all children entering early childhood, kindergarten, and 6th grade, along with transfer students, must present proof of a current physical exam prior to admission. Kindergarten and 6th grade physicals must have been administered within one year prior to entering the grade. All components of the Illinois Certificate of Child Health Examination including the system review, diabetes screening, lead risk questionnaire, and health history and developmental screening tool must be completed in order to be accepted by the school. Failure to comply with these requirements by the first day of the school year will result in a student’s exclusion from school until the required health forms are presented to the District.

Sports Physical at Central Middle School

All students trying out for a team sport must have an updated physical turned in to the nurse prior to tryouts. An IESA Pre-Participation Examination Form can be found in the main office or on the CMS website. All IESA Pre-participation Examination Forms signed by a Doctor, Physician’s Assistant, or Advanced Nurse Practitioner are valid for 395 days (13 months) from date of completion.

Immunization Requirements

All children without established contraindications must receive the following vaccines in accordance with recommended schedules: diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), polio (IPV or OPV), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), Varicella (chickenpox), and Hepatitis B Series. In addition, Haemophilus influenza type b (HIB), pneumococcal (PCV), and Hepatitis B series are required prior to entry to the Early Childhood program.

One dose of Tdap, one dose of Meningococcal conjugate vaccine, and the Hepatitis B series are required for all students entering Grade 6.

New students entering the District will be required to show proof that all vaccinations are current. 

Failure to comply with these requirements by October 15 will result in the student’s exclusion from school until the required proof of immunizations is presented to the District. Students who enter mid-year have 30 days from the first day of attendance to comply with physical exam and immunization requirements.

Dental Examination Requirement

According to Illinois law, all children in kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades are required to have an oral health examination. The examination must be performed by a licensed dentist. The completed form with the dentist’s signature must be returned to the school health office by May 15 of the school year.

Eye Examination Requirement

All children entering kindergarten and all students (grades 1-8) entering the Illinois school system for the first time are required to have a complete eye examination. Each child is to present proof of having been examined by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. The completed form, with an eye doctor’s signature, must be returned to the health office by October 15 of the school year. Physical, dental, and eye exams must have been administered within one year prior to the date they are due.

School Screenings

Hearing Screening

The purpose of a hearing screening and threshold testing is to identify students with hearing losses that may affect their educational, emotional, social, speech, and/or language development. Hearing screening will be done for children in the following mandated groups: early learning, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, special education students, teacher referrals, and students new to the District. Children determined to need further evaluation will be referred in a letter sent home to the parent.A hearing screening is not a substitute for a complete hearing evaluation by a physician or audiologist. Students are not required to undergo a hearing screening if a physician or audiologist has completed and signed a report form indicating that a hearing evaluation has been administered within the previous 12 months.

Vision Screening

The purpose of a vision screening is to identify students with visual impairments. Visual problems can affect the educational, social, and emotional development of children. Early detection of vision problems is vital. Vision screenings will be conducted for children in the following mandated groups: early learning, 2nd and 8th grade, special education students, teacher referrals, and students new to the District. Kindergarten students without an eye examination on file will also be screened. Referrals will be sent home to parents of children who need further evaluation based on the outcome of the screening.A vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye care professional. Students are not required to undergo a vision screening if an eye doctor has completed and signed a report that a vision evaluation or a complete eye exam has been administered within the previous 12 months.

Illness at School

If a child becomes ill or is injured at school, the school will make all reasonable efforts to notify the parent(s) or the parent-designated emergency phone contact about removing the child from school. It is expected that students will be picked up within 30 minutes of notification. In the event a student requires emergency medical attention outside of the usual nature, the school nurse or authorized staff member will call 911 for an ambulance and transport to the nearest hospital emergency department. School personnel will notify the parent(s) or guardian with the necessary information.Please remember, a child who is well should be in school, and one who is sick should be kept home. A child who has a fever at or above 100 degrees, and/or is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or an uncontrolled cough should be kept home and not return to school for 24 hours after symptoms subside and fever returns to normal (without the use of fever reducing medications). A child who has a diagnosed communicable disease, undiagnosed rash, or uncontrolled cough should also be kept home.Returning to school prematurely after illness may result in additional absences because the child is vulnerable to recurrence of the illness, and because of the potential cross infection with other students who may be in the beginning stages of an illness.

A student who sustains an illness or injury which requires an absence of four or more days must present a physician’s statement in order to be readmitted to school.    

Encouraging hand washing and covering coughs will help limit the spread of germs.

Communicable Diseases

The prevention of communicable disease is important to maintain the health of students and staff and decrease school absenteeism. Examples of communicable disease include, but are not limited to, influenza, gastrointestinal illness (e.g., norovirus, enterovirus), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), strep throat, and COVID-19.

Steps to promote and maintain a prevention-oriented approach include the following:
  • Keep students home when sick and/or experiencing symptoms of infectious illness such as: fever greater than 100.0 F, malaise, fatigue, uncontrolled cough, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or signs of an upper respiratory infection.
  • Students should only return once all symptoms have improved/resolved, including at least 24 hours have passed since any vomiting, diarrhea, and/or fever without the use of fever-reducing medication.
Students who show signs of illness while at school will be assessed by the school nurse and may be sent home based on presenting symptoms. Medical diagnosis of communicable illness and/or known exposure to communicable disease are also reasons for exclusion from school.

Additional Preventative Measures

  • Receiving an annual flu vaccine is recommended, especially for those at risk for severe illness or complications of influenza.
  • Keeping up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination and boosters, which is currently the leading public health strategy to lower an individual’s risk of severe COVID-19 infection and hospitalization.
  • Teaching and promoting hand hygiene at home and school, including hand washing with soap and water and using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
  • Encouraging respiratory etiquette at home and school, including covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or bent arm.
  • Special protocols and exclusion of susceptible students and staff may be necessary when dealing with certain communicable diseases and outbreaks as directed by the Cook County Department of Public Health.

 

Head Lice

Head lice are a nuisance best avoided by common sense prevention measures, frequent inspection, and effective treatment when necessary. Head lice are often found in the hair around the ears and base of the neck, but may be present on other areas of the scalp. Children are often without symptoms, but may have an itchy scalp. If close contact results in the transferring of lice, eggs that are laid may hatch in 7-10 days. As long as live lice remain on an infested person’s clothing, linens, combs, or hair accessories, they can be transferred to another host. Transmission occurs by direct contact with an infested person, or by indirect contact with an object that has been contaminated with lice.

Although all incidences of students bringing head lice to school can’t be prevented, families and the District can control of the spread. Reminding students not to share hats, combs, clothing, or hair accessories are all preventive measures that can be implemented. If a child is identified to have live head lice or nits (eggs), the parents will be called to take him/her home for treatment. All household members should be checked for the presence of lice.

Instructions and guidance will be provided to assist in lice/nit removal and steps to be taken at home. The District does not recommend specific products to treat head lice, and urges parents to contact their health care professionals for advice. Students will be rechecked by health staff upon returning to school, and periodically as needed, and will be permitted to return to the classroom if no evidence of lice is found. When a case is identified at the elementary level, notices will be sent home with all students in the grade level. 

Parents who become aware that their child has head lice should alert the school health office as soon as possible. Parents must be active, ongoing partners in managing and preventing head lice outbreaks by checking their own children for head lice regularly and treating children promptly if lice are found.

Administration of Medication Policy

It is the policy of District 146 that the administration of medication to students during regular school hours and during school-related activities is the responsibility of the parent. The State of Illinois and School District 146 discourage the administration of medication during school hours unless it is absolutely necessary for the critical health and well-being of the student. All medication required for these reasons will be administered by the parent. If a parent is unable to administer medication during school hours, a School Medication Authorization form must be completed by the parent and the student’s physician before the child can receive any medication in school. Medication must be in the original, labeled prescription bottle (or in the original packaging in the case of over the counter medications) appropriately labeled by the pharmacist, clearly marked with the child’s name, prescription number, and description of medication and dose.

Over the counter medication also requires a signed consent form. Please contact the school nurse to obtain the form or with any questions regarding the form. Forms are also available on the District website. Pain and fever medications such as Tylenol and aspirin, as well as cough drops, are not school-supplied items.

Illinois law (Public Act 97-0361) allows students to carry and self-administer both asthma inhaler medication and allergy epinephrine auto-injector medication at school. In order for students to self-administer an asthma inhaler, written authorization from the parent/guardian and a copy of the prescription must be on file in the office of the school nurse. For self-administration of epinephrine auto-injector, written authorization from the parent/guardian and physician/advanced practice registered nurse must be on file in the office of the school nurse. The written authorization must include the name of the student. Please contact the school nurse to discuss these special circumstances.

Community Consolidated School District 146 and its employees will not be responsible for injury or illness of any student resulting from ingestion of prescribed medication.

Reduced Physical Activity

If a parent wishes to limit a child’s physical education and/or recess activity, or have the child excused from these activities, the parent must submit a written request to the school nurse. In such cases, the activity will be limited for no longer than three calendar days. If a child must not participate in physical education classes and/or recess for medical reasons for more than three days, a note from the physician must be provided, specifying the limitations. 

Special Health Factors

Emergency Action Plans

Students with asthma, significant allergies, and/or seizure disorders must submit a completed Emergency Action Plan signed by their doctor, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant. Nurses follow these plans at school and school-sponsored activities in the event of an emergency. Without an appropriate plan on file, Emergency Medical Services (911) will be called with possible transport to the nearest emergency department.

Federal law affords students with chronic illnesses and disabilities specific rights and protections. One such law is the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Parents may request a meeting to discuss the need for a 504 Plan if their child requires more accommodations than are written in their Emergency Action Plan.

Food Allergies

District 146 recognizes the increasing prevalence of severe food allergies among students and staff. Every food-related allergic reaction has the possibility of developing into a life-threatening reaction. Even with proper treatment, complications can occur. Anaphylaxis can occur within minutes or hours after exposure to the allergen. Some individuals may react to just touching the substance, while for others, consumption of a tiny amount of that food can cause a reaction. Parents should notify the school nurse if their child has a serious food allergy so the appropriate precautions can be taken and an appropriate care plan can be in place in the student’s classroom.

The eight major food allergens are milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, and soybeans. Teachers will be notified of students in their class with any serious food allergies.

The following precautions will be taken in classrooms with children with known peanut/tree nut allergies:
  • All known peanuts/tree nuts and their products will be eliminated from the classroom curriculum. Food labels will be read and consideration given to the possible presence of allergenic substances that must be eliminated from teacher-directed classroom activities.  
  • Parents should not send peanuts/tree nuts and their products to the classroom for snack time, field trips, classroom celebrations or times when lunch is eaten in the classroom (peanut residue could pose a problem for a highly sensitive child).
  • Children may continue to bring lunches with nut products (such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) to school, unless lunch will be eaten in the classroom.
Allergy-aware tables are available for children with food allergies who must abstain from common food allergens. Friends who order school-supplied hot lunches may join them at this table. Students at allergy-aware tables will be reminded to never trade or share food with other students.

Students with Diabetes

If a student has diabetes and requires assistance with managing this condition while at school and school functions, a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP), must be submitted to the school health office. The form must be completed and signed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches, or authorized advanced practice nurse (APN), or a physician assistant (PA) delegated to work with a supervising physician.

Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder

Epilepsy (also known as a seizure disorder) is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States. Any student with a diagnosis of seizure disorder must submit a Seizure Emergency Action Plan. The form must be completed and signed by a physician, or authorized advanced practice nurse (APN), or a physician assistant (PA) delegated to work with a supervising physician.

Concussion Management

State Law requires every school to have a signed concussion form on file for every student athlete competing. Students who sustain a concussion injury are subject to established return-to-play and return-to-learn concussion care protocols established by the School Board.

Wellness

Student wellness, including good nutrition, physical activity, and social-emotional health, shall be promoted in the District’s educational program, school activities, and meal programs. This policy shall be interpreted consistently with Section 204 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.

In 2010, District 146 established an initiative called “District 146 Gets Fit.” This was in response to the development of Illinois School Code policy that requires the State Board of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health, to develop guidelines for school boards to assist students with life-threatening food allergies and to promote healthy practices among students. The District 146 Wellness Committee is made up of stakeholders from across the District including administrators, parents, students, nurses, teachers, and staff. The Committee regularly informs families and staff about healthy habits.
 
District 146, recognizes its responsibility to help students acquire the knowledge and skills to make informed choices necessary to establish and maintain healthy habits for a lifetime. The District is committed to providing a learning environment that supports and promotes wellness, good nutrition, and an active lifestyle. It also recognizes it cannot eliminate all allergic reactions due to food, and cannot eliminate obesity or other health conditions associated with poor nutrition and lack of activity. However, in accordance with the School Code, the Wellness Policy developed will take the necessary steps to create a school environment that does not contribute to these conditions.

The following nutrition policies were created with the safety of students in mind, are aligned with best practices, and are responsive to changes to the Illinois School Code governing public schools in Illinois.

Nutrition Education

The goals for addressing nutrition education include the following:
  • Schools will support and promote good nutrition for students.
  • Schools will foster the positive relationship between good nutrition, physical activity, and the capacity of students to develop and learn.
Nutrition education will be part of the District’s comprehensive health education curriculum.

Physical Activity

The goals for addressing physical activity include the following:
  • Schools will support and promote an active lifestyle for students.
  • Physical education will be taught in all grades and shall include a developmentally planned and sequential curriculum that fosters the development of movement skills, enhances health-related fitness, increases students’ knowledge, offers direct opportunities to learn how to work cooperatively in a group setting, and encourages 
    healthy habits and attitudes for a healthy lifestyle.
  • During the school day, all students will be required to engage in a daily physical education course, unless otherwise exempt.
The curriculum will be consistent with and incorporate relevant Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health as established by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Nutrition Guidelines 

Students will be offered, and schools will promote, nutritious food and beverage choices consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Food Guidance System published jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. In addition, in order to promote student health and reduce childhood obesity, the Superintendent or designee shall control food sales that compete with the District’s non-profit food service in compliance with the Child Nutrition Act. Food service rules shall restrict the sale of foods of minimal nutritional value, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the food service areas during the meal periods and comply with all applicable rules of the Illinois State Board of Education.

Community Input

The Superintendent or designee will invite suggestions and comments concerning the development, implementation, and improvement of the school wellness policy from community members including parents, students, representatives of the school food authority, school administrators, and the public.

Guidelines for Reimbursable School Meals

Reimbursable school meals served shall meet, at a minimum, the nutrition requirements and regulations for the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program.

Monitoring

The Superintendent or designee shall provide periodic implementation data and/or reports to the Board concerning this policy’s implementation sufficient to allow the Board to monitor and adjust the policy.

Nutritional Snack Breaks

Elementary Schools

Snack breaks may be provided for students to eat a nutritional snack brought from home. (Candy, gum, and cookies are some examples of inappropriate snacks for this time.) Fruit or vegetables are great nutritional boosters.

Drinks are not part of snack breaks. Disposable and non-disposable water bottles are allowed and may be kept at student desks. Water bottles may be refilled as needed at water fountains or bottle filling stations when available.

Celebration Treats

Elementary School Treats

Only non-food items such as stickers, bookmarks, stencils, trading cards, etc. may be distributed to classmates. A list with other suggestions may be found on the District website. 

Central Middle School Treats

The distribution of birthday treats or food is prohibited.  

Holiday Parties

Classroom parties are held in October, December, and February in the elementary schools. Any food and drink items brought in for distribution must be individually packaged and labeled by the manufacturer and approved by the classroom teacher no less than one week prior to the party. A list of recommended food and beverage options may be found on the District website. Please take note of the prohibited foods. Non-food items are encouraged. 

Student Rewards from Staff

Staff members are encouraged to reward students with non-food items. Food or drink items used as rewards will be from the recommended list of food and beverage options.

Physical Activity

Movement Breaks

Recognizing that students need a break from sitting for extended periods of time, every effort will be made to have a daily organized movement break. Students in elementary schools will have a 20-minute supervised recess period.

Physical Activity and Discipline

Staff will choose disciplinary consequences that do not interfere with recess, PE, or movement breaks. Additionally, staff may not use physical activity as a form of consequence. 

 

Social Emotional/Mental Health 

School District 146 believes social emotional/mental health is just as important as physical health. The District is committed to providing education, screening, and individualized support to students. Social workers and Family Support Specialists are available on a daily basis to all students. Students may be referred to a social worker for temporary, intermittent, or ongoing support. Parents/guardians and staff may make a student referral at any time. 

The District also maintains a list of mental health providers and other outside resources available to students and families. Please contact the school office or visit the District 146 Community Resource Page for more information on outside resources available in the community. 

Suicide and Depression Awareness 

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death amongst youth. It impacts the safety of the school environment and impacts the school community. Suicide awareness units are completed annually at each grade level in a developmentally appropriate manner (AnnMarie’s Law).

The school district maintains student and parent resources on suicide and depression awareness and prevention. Much of this information, including a copy of the school district’s policy, is posted on the school district website.

Resources


Volunteers/Parent Involvement/Background Checks 

District 146 welcomes and encourages volunteer participation and recognizes the importance of volunteers. Involvement from outside volunteers and parents increases individual attention to students and student enrichment as a whole.

Per District policy, volunteers, including field trip chaperones, must complete and clear a criminal background check prior to serving as a volunteer at any school event. The Safety Clerk in each building has a Criminal Background Check Form volunteers need to complete to initiate this process. The required background check is not meant to discourage participation in school activities. However, the District takes every precaution to be sure students are safe and secure in all school-related activities.

Elementary School

Parents can volunteer for a variety of activities. The PTA/PTO offers additional opportunities for volunteers. Preschoolers and young children should not accompany parents while they are volunteering.

Middle School

Teams may generate volunteer lists for classroom activities. For special events, such as the annual Graduation Party and Luncheon, a committee from the PACT group will solicit additional volunteers.

Crisis Plan

School District 146 is committed to providing safe environments at all facilities for all students and staff. The District 146 Crisis Plan is designated as an all-hazard approach to emergencies and crises that may occur during the school day. The plan is developed and maintained through a collaborative committee approach. The District School Safety Team meets annually, at a minimum, to review procedures and ensure compliance with the Illinois School Safety Drill Act (Public Act 094-0600) and the policies of the Board of Education. The District 146 Crisis Plan is an internal document and is not available to the public due the confidentiality of the content. 

Each school has a building-level Crisis/Incident Response Team that includes administration, teachers, social workers, the school nurse, the secretary, and other staff as indicated in the plan. Building-level Crisis/Incident Response Teams meet regularly throughout the school year to review protocols, plan necessary drills, and provide professional development to staff.

Emergency Shelter Plan

The District has an emergency plan to provide safe shelter to students and staff. The plan is implemented in situations that prevent students and staff from waiting inside or outside the building during an emergency/disaster. Each school has a designated emergency housing/evacuation site. 

Drills

Fire, disaster, and intruder drills are held at various intervals throughout the school year. Teachers routinely review drill plans with students. When a safety/security drill is in progress, a sign is posted at the main entrance doors to notify visitors of the drill and the need to remain outside of the building until the conclusion of the drill.

Emergency School Closings

The Superintendent is authorized to close the schools in the event of hazardous weather or other emergencies that threaten the safety of students, staff members, or school property. School closings due to weather and other emergencies are posted on the District’s website, on school and district Facebook pages, and at emergencyclosingcenter.com. They are also broadcast on most local TV and radio stations. District 146 will also call all homes with a recorded message when a decision to cancel school is made.

It is important that all emergency/contact information be kept current in the school’s main office. If the school needs to be closed for any reason, the District will call the phone number provided at registration with a message about the school closing.

E-Learning Days

District 146 may utilize e-Learning Days in lieu of Emergency Days (snow days, etc.). When an e-Learning Day is implemented, all Early Learning through 8th Grade students will engage in 5 hours of synchronous and asynchronous learning and instruction.

More information on the District’s e-Learning Plan can be found on the District and school websites.

Emergency Warning System

A storm warning system to help protect students and others is in place at each school. When a school is under emergency procedures, such as those when a tornado warning is in effect, a strobe light outside the front entrance of the school will be activated. The system is to notify waiting parents that no one is permitted to leave the building at that time and also that they can seek shelter if necessary.
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