Health Services

Greetings from the Nurses of Homewood School District 153!

As your child’s school nurse, each of us enjoy the special privilege of caring for your child while they are at school. Homewood School District 153 has a full time registered nurse in every school building.  


Please take a few minutes to explore this page as it contains important information that will help us to provide the best care and service to your family. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your student or health & safety in our schools.



4/9/24: Updated exclusion dates for required health exams/immunization records approved by HSD 153 School Board. See section below: School Physical & Immunization Guidelines for details. 

3/4/2024: Updated COVID guidance - criteria for exclusion from school: for 24 hours until both are true: fever-free without using fever reducing medications AND symptoms are improving overall. Upon return and for the next 5 days, CDC recommends enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distance from others when indoors as much as possible. 

9/22/2023: COVID-19 guidance can be found at this link. Recommendations from IDPH have not changed: isolate for 5 days (day 0 is day of positive test or symptom onset, whichever came first), and mask through day 10. Classrooms will not be notified unless there is an outbreak/cluster within the cohort. Please notify the school if your student has tested positive so we can be on the lookout for outbreaks. 

8/30/2023: School physicals and Updated immunizations are due to the school by OCTOBER 1, 2023. Check your student's status on Parent Portal > More > Health > Immunizations. 

  • Provide a safe and healthy learning environment to ensure students are ready to learn.
  • Assess individual complaints.
    • Provide first aid and notify parent/guardians as needed
    • Contact parent/guardians if additional evaluation is recommended
    • Contact emergency personnel as needed
  • Develop and communicate Emergency Action Plans for students with severe health conditions like food allergies, seizure disorders, asthma, diabetes, etc.
  • Participate in Individualized Education Program development to ensure all students’ health needs are met while in school.
  • Maintain health files, physicals, and immunization records according to Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education mandates.

School nursing is a specialized division of public health nursing, and we are in a unique position to care for students, staff, and our community. Research has shown that healthy students are better learners, and academic achievement bears a lifetime of benefits for health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). The American Academy of Pediatrics goes on to say how “the role of the school nurse has expanded to include critical components, such as surveillance, chronic disease management, emergency preparedness, behavioral health assessment, ongoing health education, extensive case management, and much more” (AAP, 2016). We take our responsibility very seriously, and do our best to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students. 

Deadlines & Exclusion Dates

Homewood School District 153 has established the following exclusion dates in order for students to meet the requirements for health exams and immunization records as described by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Appointment cards will NOT be accepted.

    • Willow School – First day of student attendance
    • Churchill School – October 1
    • James Hart School – October 1

New students transferring into Willow School from out of state/country must submit their most recent required physical (see below) and complete immunization record within 30 days of registration to avoid exclusion from school.


New students transferring into Churchill or James Hart Schools from out of state/country must submit their most recent required physical (see below) and complete immunization record by October 1, or within 30 days if registered after the start of the school year (whichever is more lenient) to avoid exclusion from school.


Health Exams

A student must have a School Physical Exam within one year prior to entering:

    • First year of pre-school
    • Kindergarten
    • 6th Grade

7th and 8th graders who wish to participate in sports must have a new Sports Pre-Participation Physical Exam submitted each year. While the school physical form can be used in place of a sports physical, a sports physical will not qualify as a school physical. Please be sure to have the correct form completed by your student's practitioner.



According to the Illinois Department of Public Health Guidelines, students must show proof of basic immunization and required boosters for:

    • Diphtheria
    • Tetanus
    • Pertussis
    • Polio
    • Measles
    • Mumps
    • Rubella
    • Varicella
    • Haemophiluis Influenzae Type B (required for pre-school only)
    • Meningococcal (6th-8th graders)
    • Pneumococcal (24-59 months)
    • Hepatitis B (required for pre-school and 6th-8th graders)
    • Tdap (required for 6th-8th graders)


Additional Requirements

Lead Screening: Students entering pre-school and kindergarten must show proof of lead screening. 

Dental Exams: All Illinois children in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades are required to have an oral health exam by a licensed dentist prior to May 15 of the school year.


Eye Exams: All Illinois children enrolling in Kindergarten and any student enrolling for the first time in an Illinois public, private, or parochial school are required to have an eye exam before the first day of school. The exam must be completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. 


Waiver: The Department of Public Health shall establish a waiver for children who show an undue burden or lack of access to obtain either a dental or eye exam.


Religious Objection: Children whose parents or legal guardians object to health or dental examinations, or to the required immunizations, may submit and Illinois Certificate of Religious Exemption from their doctor’s office. In the case of an outbreak, any student without proof of immunization on file will be excluded from school according to IDPH Communicable Disease School Nurse Guidance


These required health examinations, immunization and lead screening may be obtained at the doctor’s office or clinic of your choice. If you need information on other local resources, please call the nurse at your student’s school.


Communicable Disease School Nurse Guidance


Please keep your student at home if he/she exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Any COVID-19 symptom: fever (100.4 or higher) new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new or worsening cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste or smell, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches. The recommendation is 5 days of isolation, and 5 additional days of masking if around others. 
  • Red, inflamed or discharge from the eye(s). This can be a form of conjunctivitis or pink eye which is highly contagious. Your child should be seen by a physician and begin medication as soon as possible. The student may return to school 24hrs after treatment begins. 
  • Acute rashes or any skin lesion that is "weeping." With any of these conditions, your child will need to be examined by a physician and appropriate creams or oral medications prescribed. Medication that needs to be taken at school will require a Medication Administration or a duplicate prescription provided by the physician.
  • If your child did not have a good night’s sleep and appears very tired. He/she cannot concentrate and usually puts his/her head down on their desks. You can bring them in late, just notify the office of the situation.
  • Students that are absent for more than three days require a note from his/her physician indicating that he/she may return to school.
Illinois Department of Public Health mandates hearing and vision screening for all Illinois students at specific age and grade levels. The following is an excerpt from the Hearing and Vision page on IDPH's website:
"Hearing loss can happen anytime during life (from before birth to adulthood).  There are many causes of hearing loss, including genetics, infections, noise, aging, trauma and some medications.  Hearing loss seriously affects a child’s ability to communicate because it interferes with the development of normal language and learning.  It may affect a child’s ability to develop normal speech and serves to isolate the child from everyday surroundings, including parents, other family members and playmates."
"Vision loss can also happen anytime during life.  Babies can be born unable to see, and vision loss can occur anytime during a person’s life.  Vision loss can be caused by damage to the eye itself, by the eye being shaped incorrectly or even by a problem in the brain.  In the United States, the most prevalent disabling childhood conditions are vision disorders, including amblyopia, strabismus and significant refractive errors. Early detection increases the likelihood of effective treatment."


Vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision examination by an eye doctor. Your student is not required to undergo the vision screening if an optometrist or ophthalmologist has completed and signed a report indicating that an eye examination has been administered within the previous 12 months. 
If you have any questions about these screenings, please do not hesitate to contact the nurse at your student's school. 
  • Childhood Immunizations         

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that diseases are becoming rare due to childhood vaccinations. Please explore the CDC Website for more information on vaccines and why it is important to immunize (CDC, 2018).

Vaccine Schedule 0-6yrs - Spanish

Vaccine Schedule 7-18yrs - Spanish

  • Communicable diseases

We must provide for the health and well-being of every student and staff member in our school, by preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Contagious illnesses can spread very easily within a school setting. We encourage good hand washing and the covering of sneezes and coughs to help contain some of these diseases.  When you call the school to report your child ill, please state what symptoms your child is displaying. Students must be fever free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours before returning to school. It is through this knowledge and action that we can try to control the spread of various contagious illnesses. 

  • Concussion

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild bump to the head can be serious. Concussions can have a more serious effect on a young, developing brain and need to be addressed correctly.

  • Flu Shot

Influenza (flu) is a contagious, viral respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms. The best and most important step to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. This helps to reduce flu illness, doctor's visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations (CDC, 2016).

Parents: Help Children Fight Flu

“Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and can be deadly. They include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia)... Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against Meningococcal disease” (CDC, 2020).   

Meningococcal Fact Sheet - Spanish

  • Head lice

Head lice are a common community and school problem. An estimated 6 to 12 million lice infestations occur each year in the United States, most commonly among children ages 3 to 11 years old. Live lice feed on human blood and live close to the human scalp. They are not dangerous and do not transmit disease, but they do spread easily.


The following is an excerpt from the National Association of School Nurses regarding head lice: "Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC advocate for the following practices to be discontinued:

      • whole classroom screening,
      • exclusion for nits or live lice,
      • notification to others except for parents/guardians of students with head lice infestations (Devore et , 2015; CDC, 2015b, para. 3)."


If you suspect your child has head lice, call the doctor! Physician involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of head lice from the start often saves time and money for affected families.

Additional Resources for Parents:

Kattia Soto, RN
Willow School
Fax: 708-798-4336
Claudia Marcano, RN
Churchill School
Fax: 708-798-0417
James Hart School
Fax: 708-799-8360