Important Notices

Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Resources  

All are encouraged to visit the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for information on Illinois' vaccination plan, access to a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions document (last updated 1/6/21 and available in Spanish, Polish, French, Chinese, and English), and to view the Vaccine Distribution Plan for Phases 1A and 1B.

 
Important Immunization Information
 

Immunizations, also known as vaccines, are one of our greatest defenses against many serious illnesses. However, as parents around the country and across Illinois canceled well-child checkups to avoid coronavirus exposure, public health and Medicaid health plans experts feared that inadvertently the seeds of another health crisis were being sown.  

According to the CDC, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been as much as a 50% decline in routine vaccinations for children aged 24 months or under. The alarming decline in routine childhood vaccinations could result in vaccine-preventable outbreaks. For example, if measles vaccination coverage of 90%–95% (the level needed to establish herd immunity) is not achieved, measles outbreaks can occur.
 

Illinois State Law

Illinois State law requires certain immunizations for children and adults enrolled in child care, school, or college. To learn more, see the right-hand column of the Fall 2020 School Immunization Requirements.

 
Certificate of Religious Exemption Form

Certificate of Child Health Examination

Certificate of Child Health Examination (En Español)

Certificate of Child Health Exam Memo

 

Laws & Rules

Public Act 099-0249 - Religious Exemption Amendment to School Code

K-12 Immunization Requirements

College Immunization Requirements

Mercury-Free Vaccine Act

Mercury-Free Vaccine Act Exemption Declaration (2019)

Healthcare Employee Vaccination Code

Illinois Guidelines for Needle Disposal

VFC Program Manual for Illinois VFC Providers

 

IAMHP Immunization and Well-Child Webinar Series

The Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans (IAMHP) put together a complimentary 3-part webinar series tackling issues and barriers to immunization that IAMHP and its member health plans were seeing. Click here to view the recorded series. 

Highlights of the Lessons Learned:

  • Tracking efforts, data, and outreach to providers and members are vital.
  • Contact families to schedule missed vaccinations. Use member electronic health records and immunization information to identify children who have missed recommended vaccinations and work with families to schedule in-person appointments.
  • Communicate your infection control practices with parents. Fear of crowded waiting rooms is a real concern for most, so make sure members know there are strict procedures and processes in place to ensure their safety.
  • Dedicate specific clinics, buildings, or rooms for sick and wellness visits. Separate sick and well members into different locations or areas of the clinic. For providers with limited space, consider collaborating with community organizations to identify separate locations.
  • Create mobile vaccination sites to limit in-person contact. Similar to many COVID-19 testing sites, allow members to check-in by phone but receive the vaccine in their vehicle. 


    COVID-19 Holiday Safety Campaign for ECE Providers



    The State of Illinois and its public health partners statewide are continuing their COVID-19 Holiday Safety Campaign for early care and education providers. Be on the lookout for regular communications from them that include downloadable materials for social media and/or print for you to share with staff and parents! You can also access all the downloadable materials and informational links that have been sent out as part of the campaign to date.

    These unprecedented times have disrupted so many of our usual outlets and coping methods for stress. This week, the campaign highlights mental health wellness to support frontline providers by sharing resources that can help with your self-care. The only way you can continue to care for others is if you also care for yourself.


    Well Child Visits - An Essential Part of a Child’s Care
    This year has brought so many challenges, including a decrease in the number of child well-visits. Well-visits are a chance for parents to speak with their child's health care provider about any concerns and to learn more about their child's development and health. If parents have concerns about visiting their child's pediatrician, encourage them to give them a call! The pediatrician will discuss with parents how they are keeping children and families safe when visiting the office for well-visits. 


    PN3 Coalition Opportunity

    The Illinois Prenatal to Three (PN3) Policy Agenda is a comprehensive, ambitious agenda to close the opportunity gap for our earliest learners. The PN3 Coalition is the state's collective effort to enact this Agenda.

    The Illinois GOECD is excited to share information about Illinois’ PN3 Agenda, Coalition, and an opportunity to participate in this critical effort to support Illinois’ expecting families, babies, and toddlers. 

    All who are interested should complete the PN3 Coalition Interest Form. The Coalition will hold a meeting for all who have expressed interest after the holidays to inform, engage, and seek input as they move forward. 

    If you have any questions, please contact the IL PN3 Team.


    NAEYC's Child Care Survey - We Need Your Input!

    Every proposed federal relief package has included funding for child care because of your feedback and input. Your voice matters! Regardless of your role, what kind of child care program you work in, or whether your program is currently open, closed, or somewhere in between, it is critical for you to take the NAEYC Child Care Survey now! The survey closes this Sunday, November 22nd and is available in both Spanish and English.

    Please share your experiences so policymakers and the public can understand the ongoing urgency of the challenges child care providers are facing. As an added "thank you!" for your time and expertise, NAEYC will randomly select 10 survey respondents to receive a $50 gift card.

    NAEYC's Child Care Survey | Encuesta sobre el cuidado infantil de la NAEYC


    COVID-19 Safety Reminder Campaign for Providers, Staff & Parents

    ​The Illinois Governor's office of Early Childood Development (GOECD) and their State agency partners have launched a messaging campaign to give child care providers, staff, and parents timely and useful safety reminders, current and emerging public health data, and suggestions for how to prepare for the upcoming holidays as the pandemic persists.

    With the holiday season coming up, we will collectively have to continue to take a proactive approach to reimagining our festivities in order to stay safe. Child care providers and staff have been doing an amazing job at keeping our children and families healthy. This campaign aims to remind us all to stay strong and keep going!

    Check out the GOECD's website for more information on this campaign and how you can get involved.


    Resources for Child Care Providers  

    On 10/14/2020, GOECD, IDPH, DCFS, and IDHS hosted a Child Care Provider Town Hall Meeting for child care providers currently caring for children, CCR&R staff, and advocates. The following resources were made available following the meeting and have been posted to the GOECD website:

     UPCOMING: Q&A based on the chat box from the 10/14/20 Town Hall and the 9/24/20 webinar “The Early Learning Landscape Six Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic” in English and Spanish. 


    School-Aged Children Who Need Full-Time Care During Remote Learning
    Important Update on School-Aged Children in Remote Learning

    CCAP will pay a full-time day for school age children in remote learning if the parent’s work/school schedule does not allow them to be home with their child and the child is in the provider’s care for five or more hours during that time.

    Parents and child care providers can inform us of a need for full-time care in the following ways:

    • Child care providers can change any part-time days on their child care certificates to full days, and write the reason for the change as "remote learning."
    • Parents can call, e-mail, or text us and let us know they need full-time care for their school-aged children due to remote learning. If you e-mail or text us, please include your 15 digit Child Care Management System case number.

    Opportunity for Home Visiting Collaboratives to Implement IRIS

    As a part of the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal
    grant, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) seeks to
    implement the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) in up to five established
    home visiting collaboratives, including those in rural communities that are practicing
    some form of coordinated intake processes and are in need of adequate support and
    technology to fully develop into coordinated intake communities.

    While direct funding is not provided through this pilot, each pilot collaborative will receive access to IRIS and technical assistance support. Click here for more information on the pilot project and here for the application template. Please send any questions or concerns to Deborah Hwang at Deborah.Hwang@Illinois.gov.


    Holiday Season Safety Protocols

    As we head into the holiday season, health experts across the country say what happens during our upcoming celebrations could be essential for containing COVID-19. Mawlid, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve/Day are times when we typically gather with our families and friends. However, this year is different. 

    Each of us has a personal responsibility to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Don’t let your guard down. Reimagine your holiday celebrations. Continue social (physical) distancing, handwashing, and wearing face coverings. Be mindful there are individuals who don’t exhibit symptoms but may still infect others. In these unprecedented times, we must exercise caution to keep ourselves, family members, and the community-at-large safe.  

    The day will come when we can remove the “distance” from our social gatherings and “reconnect” with our larger family and community circles. Until then, please continue to be mindful of the safety protocols.


    New Yale Study - COVID-19 Cases in Child Care

    On 10/14/20, researchers from Yale University released the findings of a survey of over 57,000 child care providers regarding community transmission of COVID-19 within the child care system. The survey is one of the largest epidemiological studies on a workforce ever conducted. The Yale study can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. The full study and an Executive Summary can be found on the Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) website.  

    Key findings: The study found that exposure to child care was not associated with an elevated risk of spreading COVID-19 to providers, as long as programs continue to follow core health and safety practices. The study also identifies that community spread matters, and child care programs will need to be responsive to localized transmission of COVID-19, which may result in ongoing closures or other challenges. The study did not investigate the effects of COVID-19 on children in child care. It focused solely on adults working in child care settings.


    Supplemental Mitigation Guidance for Home Visiting, Coordinated Intake & Doula Programs

    Supplemental Restore Illinois guidance on mitigation is now available for home visiting, doula, and coordinated intake programs. As of October 26, 2020, this guidance has been approved by MIECHV, DHS, IHSA, and the City of Chicago DFSS (and is under review by ISBE). This is a supplement to the Restore Illinois Guidance for Home Visiting, Doula, and Coordinated Intake Programs issued on August 31, 2020. 


    New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document for Home Visiting

    MIECHV, DHS, and DFSS (City of Chicago) have released an FAQ document to address questions that funders have received from home visiting programs regarding Restore Illinois. This document will be updated periodically to incorporate new questions from the field.


    Guidance for Early Care & Learning Providers

    For EI Providers & Families of Children with Special Needs

    The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse has issued A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Document for Families About Resuming In-Person Early Intervention (EI) During Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.


    For Early Care and Education Providers 


    For Child Care Providers


    As of August 17, 2020, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has released the most recent guidelines for Illinois Licensed Child Care and License Exempt School Age Guidance.

    RESTORE ILLINOIS Licensed Child Care Guidance & License Exempt School-Age Guidance


    For Child Care Providers Participating in the Child Care Assistance Program

    Instructions from the Illinois Department of Human Services on Child Care Assistance Program billing for July, August and September 2020.

    Read the Memo


    For Early Intervention Providers

    IDHS has issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Early Intervention (EI) Plan for Resuming In-Person Services (8/6/2020). Questions submitted to DHS.EIQuestions@illinois.gov informed the content in the FAQs and will inform revisions to EI Guidance and additional resource development as Illinois continues to move through the phases of Restore Illinois.


    For Home Visiting, Doula, & CI Programs 

    MIECHV & IDHS released Revised Restore Illinois Guidance for Home Visiting, Doula, and Coordinated Intake Programs (8/7/2020). This updated guidance was developed by GOECD in consultation with the major funders of home visiting and the Executive Committee of the Home Visiting Task Force.


    For All Illinoisans

    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recent urgent warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. All are being advised to check the FDA webpage (which now lists 75 products to avoid) on a regular basis to stay fully informed regarding this important health issue.

    For Child Care Providers

    The FAQs: Reopening Licensed Child Care Homes and FAQs: Reopening Licensed Child Care Centers were updated on 7/29/2020 to include clarifying language on when face shields can be used as an alternative to face masks in child care settings. 


    For All Early Care & Education Providers


    IDHS Updates for Early Intervention Providers 


    Updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance (6.24.20)

    The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) have issued updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance for child care homes and centers to be able to safely reopen.

    Additionally, DCFS has filed emergency rule making, effective 6.24.20, for a maximum of 150 days. Additions to the rules include:

    • Centers may choose to staff classrooms with a qualified early childhood assistant for up to 3 hours of their program day and should document such in the program's Enhanced Staffing Plan.
    • Staff qualified to work as Early Childhood Teachers in an Emergency Day Care (EDC) and who served in the role from March-May 2020 can continue to work as an Early Childhood Teacher through 7.31.20, at the same program which has since reverted to their normal child care license.
    • Click here to read this full emergency rule making document

    Child Care Re-Opening Guidance Update

    The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has released standards and guidance for re-opening child care centers and homes. These enhanced health and safety protocols were informed by the experts at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and represent the best known practices to keep children, staff, and families safe during the ongoing pandemic. As children come back to child care, you can expect to see many changes. For example, to limit exposure, programs will have smaller group sizes and will be restricting interaction among groups of children and staff.

    In the coming days, Illinois Action for Children will be sharing a checklist to help parents know what other health and safety practices to look for in your child care program as it reopens.


    Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Billing Certificates for May and June

    In order to be paid for May and June CCAP services you will need to complete an attendance exemption form and return it with your May and June certificates. If your program has received federal funds, you will be asked to certify that you are not billing the state (CCAP) for the same expenses that are covered by federal relief funds. The certification statement will be on the exemption form. Please read the full memo from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) for detailed instructions.

    Read the English Memo | Spanish Memo

    The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development has created a web page that serves as a comprehensive repository for the numerous documents from both state and national agencies. Visit the web page. The links provided below are the updates and resources from the past seven days.

    Restore Illinois Child Care Guidelines

    Overview of the requirements and recommended practices for child care programs in Phases 3 and 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. (05/22/2020)

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