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    SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT

    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109

     

     

    POLICY

     HIV INFECTION – STUDENTS

     

    The Board is committed to providing a safe, healthy environment for its students and employees. The purpose of this policy shall be to safeguard the health and well-being of students while protecting the rights of the individual.

     

    This policy is based on current evidence that the HIV virus is not transmissible by infected individuals within the school setting, except as noted in this policy.

     

    HIV – refers to the disease caused by the HIV or human immunodeficiency virus.

     

    AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

     

    CDC – United States Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control

     

    Infected students – refers to students diagnosed as having the HIV virus, including those who are asymptomatic.

     

    This policy shall apply to all students in all programs conducted by the school district.

     

    The Board establishes that the established school rules that relate to illnesses and other diseases among students shall also apply to infected students.

     

    The Board shall not require routine screening tests for HIV infection in the school setting, nor will such tests be a condition for school attendance.

     

    The Superintendent or a designee shall serve as the central contact for handling and releasing all information concerning infected students.

     

    All district employees shall strive to maintain a respectful school climate and to prohibit physical or verbal harassment of any individual or group, including infected students.

     

    All employees shall be required to consistently follow infection control/universal precautions in all settings and at all times, including playgrounds and school buses. Employees shall notify the:

     

    Superintendent or designated central contact;

     

    building principal; and

     

    school nurse

     

    Approved by the School Board – November 23, 1998

    of all incidents of exposure to bodily fluids and when a student’s health condition or behavior presents a reasonable risk of transmitting an infection.

     

    On an annual basis, building administrators shall notify students, parents and district employees about current Board policies concerning HIV infection and shall provide reasonable opportunities to discuss such policies and concerns.

     

    The Superintendent or a designee shall report periodically to the Board regarding the effectiveness of this policy and shall make recommendations for revision in accordance with developments in medical research and treatments.

     

    Attendance

     

    Infected students have the same right to attend school and receive services as any other students and shall be subject to the same policies and rules. HIV infection shall not factor into decisions concerning class assignments, privileges or participation in any school-sponsored activity.

     

    School authorities shall determine the educational placement of infected students on a case-by-case basis by following established policies and procedures for students with chronic health problems and students with disabilities.

     

    A Screening Team comprised of the:

     

    Superintendent or designated central contact;

     

     building principal;

     

    school nurse; and

     

    district physician

     

    and including the student’s parents or guardians and attending physician shall evaluate the educational placement of an infected student. Placement decisions shall be based on the infected student’s behavior, neurological development, physical condition and expected interaction with others in the school setting, and the criteria proposed by the CDC.

     

    First consideration must be given to maintaining the infected student in a regular assignment. Any decision for an alternative placement must be supported by specific facts and data.

     

    An infected student who is unable to attend school, as determined by a medical examination, shall be considered for homebound instruction or an alternative placement.

     

    An infected student may be excused from school attendance if the parent or guardian seeks such excuse, based on the advice of medical or psychological experts treating the student.

     

    An infected student’s placement shall be reassessed if there is a change in the student’s condition or the student’s need for accommodations.

    Confidentiality

     

    The Superintendent or a designee shall determine which school personnel will receive information about an infected student. The number of individuals informed of an infected student’s status shall be kept to the minimum required to assure proper care and supervision of the student as well as to protect the school population. Anonymity shall have high priority.

     

    All district employees have a duty to preserve the confidentiality of all information concerning an infected student. Discipline shall be imposed for a breach of confidentiality by an employee.

     

    Information about infected students in the school setting shall not be disclosed to the general public, other school employees or other groups without a court order or the informed, written, signed and dated consent of the infected student or his/her parent or guardian, if a legal minor.

     

    All health records, notes and other documents referring to a student’s HIV status shall be secured and kept confidential.

     

    Infection Control

     

    Universal precautions, as recommended by the CDC, shall be followed for exposure to blood, vaginal secretions, semen or any other body fluid contaminated with blood, such as nasal secretions, sputum, vomitus, urine and feces.

     

    Employees shall treat all body fluids as hazardous and follow universal precautions.

     

    The school district shall maintain and keep reasonably accessible all designated equipment and supplies necessary for infection control.

     

    Staff Development

     

    All district employees shall participate in a planned HIV education program that:

     

    conveys factual and current information;

     

    provides guidance on infection control procedures;

     

    informs about current law and district policies concerning HIV;

     

    assists staff to maintain productive parent and community relations; and

     

    includes annual review sessions.

     

    Designated district employees shall receive additional, specialized training appropriate to their positions and responsibilities.

     

     

     

    Physical Education

     

    The goals of HIV prevention education shall be to promote healthy living and discourage the behaviors that put people at risk of acquiring HIV. The educational program shall:

     

    be taught at both the elementary and secondary levels;

     

    use methods demonstrated by sound research to be effective;

     

    be consistent with community standards;

     

    follow content guidelines prepared by the Centers for Disease Control;

     

    be appropriate to students’ developmental levels, behaviors, and cultural backgrounds;

     

    build knowledge and skills from year to year;

     

    stress the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity, alcohol, and other drug use;

     

    include accurate information on reducing risk of HIV infection;

     

    address students’ own concerns;

     

    include means for evaluation;

     

    be an integral part of a coordinated school health program;

     

    be taught by well-prepared instructors with adequate support; and

     

    involve parents and families as partners in education.

     

    Parents and guardians shall be provided convenient opportunities to preview all HIV prevention curricula and materials, and shall be notified in advance of instruction.