Studnets 144 HIV/AIDS POLICY

Also Instruction 110 & Personnel

 

Preamble

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a disease in which the body's immune system is impaired by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus leaves an individual unable to fight off infections. As a result, individuals with HIV/AIDS are susceptible to serious secondary infections, such as pneumonia and certain malignancies. Some, but not all, individuals infected with HIV develop AIDS. To assist the District and infected individuals, the District has developed the following policy.

 

I.        General Principles:

  1. HIV is not spread by casual, everyday contact. Therefore, absent a serious secondary infection that may be transmitted to others or a significant health problem that restricts the infected individual's ability to attend school, a student who is infected with HIV/AIDS shall attend the school and classroom to which s/he would be assigned, and shall receive the rights, privileges and services to which s/he would be entitled if not infected. Decisions about any changes in the educational program of a student who is infected with HIV/AIDS shall be made on a case-by-case basis.

  1. There shall be no discrimination in employment against an individual infected with HIV/AIDS based solely upon said infection. No District employee shall be terminated, non-renewed, demoted, suspended, transferred or subjected to adverse action based solely upon his/her infection with HIV/AIDS, or the perception that s/he is so infected, provided the employee can safely perform his/her duties.

  1. Employees and students (and their parent/guardian) are encouraged to report their HIV status to the Superintendent in order that the evaluation process set forth in Section II may be initiated.

  1. The School District shall establish and follow infection control procedures for handling bodily fluids, pursuant to Section V.

  1. The District shall administer a program of education about HIV/AIDS for students and School District employees to ensure that they are informed about the following:

  1. The nature of HIV/AIDS, including how HIV/AIDS is transmitted, according to current scientific and medical evidence;

  1. District policies and procedures relating to employees and students with diseases such as HIV/AIDS;

  1. Resources within the School District and elsewhere for obtaining additional information or assistance; and

  1. Procedures to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens at school.

II.   Evaluation of Infected Students and Staff

  1. HIV/AIDS is not transmitted casually. Accordingly, being infected with HIV/AIDS is not, by itself, sufficient reason to remove a student or staff member from the school. When the Superintendent has been informed that a student or staff member is infected with HIV/AIDS, the Superintendent shall act appropriately to ensure the safety of persons in the school setting.

  1. When informed that a staff member or student is infected with HIV/AIDS, the Superintendent shall determine whether the infected individual has a secondary infection (e.g. tuberculosis) that poses a medically recognized risk of transmission of disease or has a significant health problem that may restrict his/her ability to work or attend school.

  1. The Superintendent shall make this determination by consulting with the infected individual's physician, the infected individual and his/her parents. The Superintendent may also consult with public health officials and other persons, subject to the confidentiality provisions in this policy. The Superintendent shall consider methods by which the District may anticipate and meet the needs of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS.

  1. Absent a secondary infection which creates a medically recognized risk of transmission of disease, or a significant health problem which restricts the infected individual's ability to work or attend school, the Superintendent shall not alter the job assignment or class assignment of the infected individual. However, the Superintendent shall periodically review the case with the persons described in Section 11(B)(2).

  1. If the Superintendent determines that a secondary infection poses a medically recognized risk of transmission of disease in the school setting or that a significant health problem restricts the infected individual's ability to work or attend school, the Superintendent shall consult with the persons described in Section II(B)(2) to determine whether there are reasonable accommodations which can be implemented to allow the staff member or student to safely remain in the school setting. After said consultation, the Superintendent shall, if appropriate, develop an individually tailored plan to accommodate the staff member or student.

   

III.  Confidentiality

 

  1. The identity of a student or staff member who is infected with HIV/AIDS may be disclosed to those persons who are responsible for determining whether the infected individual has a secondary infection that poses a medically recognized risk of transmission of disease in the school setting or whether a significant health problem may restrict the infected individual's ability to work or attend class. These persons include:

  1. The Superintendent or a person designated by the Superintendent to be responsible for the determination.

  1. In the case of a student who is identified as educationally handicapped or who is claimed or believed to be educationally handicapped, the special services team.

  1. The physician of the infected individual.

  1. Public health officials, to the extent that their knowledge of the infected individual's identity is necessary.

 

  1. The persons listed in Section Ill (A)(1)-(2) and the infected individual (or his/her parent or guardian) shall determine whether additional persons need to know the identity of an infected individual. The identity of an infected individual shall not be disclosed to persons who are not listed in Section III (A) without the consent of the infected individual, or the infected individual's parent or guardian. The persons to whom the infected individual's identity may be disclosed with the aforementioned consent include the school nurse, the school principal or other persons necessary to protect the health of the infected individual or to evaluate and monitor the case.

  1. All staff members who know the identity of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS shall treat said information as confidential. No information shall be divulged directly or indirectly to any persons or groups, except as noted in Section III(A)-(B). All medical information and written documentation of discussions, telephone conversations, proceedings, and meetings concerning the infected individual shall be maintained in a locked file. Access to said file shall be granted only to those persons who have the written consent of the infected individual or his/her parent or guardian. Except when essential, the names of infected individuals shall not be used in documents. No document containing the name or other information which reveals the identity of an infected individual may be shared with any person for any purposes without the consent of the infected individual or the infected individual's parent or guardian.

  1. Any school staff member who violates the confidentiality provisions of Section III shall be subject to discipline up to and including discharge.

 

  1. An exception to this confidentiality requirement occurs when an employee has information not previously disclosed concerning an individual who is infected with HIV/AIDS. It is incumbent upon him/her to immediately report this information to the appropriate administrator.

 

IV.  Testing

 

Mandatory testing for communicable diseases that are not spread by casual, everyday contact (e.g., HIV/AIDS) shall not be a condition for school entry or attendance, or for employment or continued employment

 

V.   Infection Control

 

  1. HIV/AIDS cannot penetrate unbroken skin, and there is no evidence that HIV/AIDS has been transmitted through contact with vomit, nasal discharge, saliva, urine, or feces. However, said body fluids commonly transmit infections such as Hepatitis, colds and flu. Accordingly, direct skin contact with body fluids should be avoided whenever possible.

  1. Staff members in the schools shall follow the UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS in handling body fluids.

  1. The. District shall cooperate with local, state and federal health agencies in controlling infections.

 

VI.  Enforcement of Policies

 

Since HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, unless there are unusual circumstances (e.g. a non-infected staff member or student has a weakened immune system), staff members and students shall not refuse to work or attend class with other staff members or students whom they know or suspect to be infected with HIV/AIDS. A refusal to perform assigned duties will subject a staff member to discipline up to and including discharge, in accordance with applicable District policies or collective bargaining agreement procedures. Exceptions due to unusual circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis. The staff member or student requesting an exception shall present medical evidence to support his/her request. The Superintendent shall ascertain whether or not there is a substantial risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS or secondary infections in the particular case and whether any modification in the staff member's duties or the student's placement is appropriate.

 

VII.           Appeal Procedures

 

  1. If an infected staff member does not agree with a decision made by the Superintendent under this policy, s/he may appeal the decision in accordance with the grievance procedures of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. For non-unionized employees, the appeal shall be to the Board of School Committee.

  1. If the parent/guardian of an infected student-does not agree with the decision made by the Superintendent under this policy, s/he may appeal the decision to the Board of School Committee.

  1. The infected staff member/student shall comply with the decision of the Superintendent pending final disposition of the appeal.

  1. The decision of the Board of School Committee (or the final step of the applicable grievance procedure) shall be final and binding upon the staff member or student.

 

 

 

Statutory References:

RSA 189:1-a (Duty to Provide Education)

RSA 186-C:2, I (Definitions)

RSA 193:1 (Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil)

RSA 193:3 (Change of School or Assignment; Excusing Attendance)

 

First Reading Coordination: 10/16/02

Second Reading and Approval BOSC: 11/12/02