Illinois immunization deadline could exclude thousands of students from learning

COVID and the Classroom

CAHOKIA, Ill. – School districts in Illinois want to make sure parents know about an Oct. 15 deadline. Students who cannot show proof of state-required health examinations and immunizations by the deadline will be excluded from learning, according to a state mandate. School districts we checked with said the state mandate does not exempt remote learners.

“There’s no waiver on this exclusion date so we must have these things taken care of,” said Cahokia Superintendent Arnett Harvey, adding that approximately 800 students in the Cahokia United School District #187 are currently in jeopardy of being excluded.

“We don’t want to exclude any students,” said Harvey.

He said the district is planning a health fair to help families who have struggled to get the proper exams and immunizations in time. Harvey said even if parents schedule an appointment for after the deadline, students can show proof of the appointment to avoid exclusion.

An informational meeting for parents regarding the transition to back to school learning will be held Saturday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. at 800 Range Lane. The district will stream the meeting on its Facebook page.

The Oct. 15 deadline comes during an unprecedented school year. COVID-19 concerns have kept some families from seeing doctors. Some districts in the state have reported more than 1,000 students are currently in jeopardy of exclusion because their immunization and physical exam forms are not up to date.

The Collinsville School District sent reminders to parents during the start of the school and has added occasional reminders including a social media post shared Thursday.

The information includes what parents need to know about the deadline and what circumstances allow for exceptions.

The district told us through a statement, “The requirement is Illinois state law. We are expecting students to comply as stated unless we are told otherwise by the Illinois Department of Public Health or Illinois State Board of Education.”

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