As a result of the recent confirmed cases of measles in Illinois, schools should be aware ofthe Illinois Department of Public Health measles exclusion procedures. A copy of the applicable IDPH regulation may be found here. Additional guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education is available here.
Under Illinois law, students must show proof of immunization against communicable diseases to attend school. Immunization exemptions are allowed only for medical and religious reasons.
In the event a school receives notification that a student or employee is suspected of having the measles, the school district must notify the local health authority within 24 hours. In addition, on the same day that a report of a suspected case of measles is received, the school is required to conduct an inquiry into absenteeism to determine the existence of any other cases of measles in the school. The local health department will assist the school district in investigating measles cases and enforcing the IDPH measles exclusion procedures.
IDPH Exclusion procedures provide that upon notice of the presence of a measles case at school the school is required to exclude “susceptible contacts,” meaning any person—student, staff, or visitor—to the school who is unvaccinated or who has not presented proof of immunity or vaccination. All susceptible contacts must be excluded from school for 21 days after the onset of the last reported measles case or until acceptable proof of immunity is received by the school. Students and adults with measles must remain out of school for at least four days after the appearance of the rash. 77 Ill.Adm.Code 690.520(a)(2).
The school district must send home a notice 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. Homebound instruction for excluded students should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
All school districts should review the legal requirements and its protocols in case the school district must take such action.
Contact Jennifer Mueller with your inquiries about immunization requirements and the IDPH measles exclusion protocol.