The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is not transmitted through casual contact and, therefore, is not reason in itself to treat individuals having or perceived as having HIV differently from other members of the school community. Accordingly, with respect to HIV disease, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District recognize:
- the rights of students and employees with HIV,
- the importance of maintaining confidentiality regarding the medical condition of any individual,
- the importance of an educational environment free of significant risks to health, and
- the necessity for HIV education and training for the school community and the community-at-large.
A. General Provisions:
- The school district shall not discriminate against or tolerate discrimination against any individual who has or is perceived as having HIV.
- A student who has or is perceived as having HIV is entitled to maintain his/her attendance in current educational setting, unless otherwise provided by law, and shall be afforded opportunities on an equal basis with all students.
- No applicant shall be denied employment and no employee shall be prevented from continued employment on the basis of having or being perceived as having HIV. Such an employee is entitled to the rights, privileges, and services accorded to employees generally, including benefits provided school employees with long-term diseases or disabling conditions.
B. Confidentiality, Disclosure, and Testing:
- A student or student's parent/guardian, or an applicant/employee, may, but is not required to, report HIV status to any school personnel.
- Except as otherwise permitted by law, no school personnel including school board members and volunteers, shall disclose any HIV-related information, as it relates to prospective or current school personnel or students, to anyone except in accordance with the terms of a written consent. The superintendent shall develop a written consent form (see Appendix A) which details the information the signatory permits to be disclosed, to whom it may be disclosed, its specified time limitation, and the specific purpose for the disclosure. The school district shall not discriminate against any individual who does not provide written consent.
- No school official shall require any applicant, employee, or prospective or current student to have any HIV-related test.
C. Education and Instruction:
- HIV is not, in itself, a disabling condition, but it may result in conditions that are disabling. To the extent that a student who has HIV is determined to meet the criteria for eligibility for accommodations under state and federal non-discrimination laws or for special education services, the school district shall meet all procedural and substantive requirements.
- The school district shall provide systematic and extensive elementary and secondary comprehensive health education which includes education on HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases as well as other communicable diseases, and the prevention of disease, as required by state law.
D. Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens and Universal Precautions:
- The school district shall comply with applicable Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) rules in order to protect employees who are reasonably anticipated to be exposed to bloodborne pathogens as part of their regular job duties.
- In the event that the school nurse determines that a student has had a significant exposure to blood (as defined in the district's VOSHA Exposure Plan), the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified immediately and advised to consult the child's physician at once.
- The superintendent or his/her designee shall determine those employees (by job class and possibly by task or procedure) who are reasonably anticipated to have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials as part of their duties. These employees will be protected in strict accordance with the positions of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
- Students and all staff not covered by the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard shall be instructed to avoid contact with potentially infectious materials and blood and shall immediately contact a member of the staff who is covered by the exposure control plan. When this is not possible, any person providing assistance shall follow universal precautions.
- Universal Precautions shall be posted in key area(s) in each school.
- A person who violates this policy may be subject to remedial and/or disciplinary action in accordance with applicable laws, collective bargaining agreements, policies, and/or disciplinary codes.
1 V.S.A. §317(b)(7) and (11)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
18 V.S.A. §1127
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and as amended by the Equal Employment Act of 1972
American with Disabilities Act, P.L. 101-335 (1990)
16 V.S.A. §131 et seq., §906
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 C.F.R. §1910.1030)
21 V.S.A. §201(c)(2) and §224.
ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS, Policy #5411
PROCEDURES FOR MAINTAINING CONFIDENTIALITY - FOR PERSONS WITH HIV
To maintain an atmosphere of trust with staff members, students, families, and the community, a policy that encourages confidentiality is essential. It is important that people who have the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and their families feel certain that their names will not be released against their wishes to others without a need to know. A policy on confidentiality that is strictly enforced will also provide protection to the school district from legal action and from potentially adverse reactions that might result.
To promote confidentiality and to avoid the violation of state and federal laws that protect the confidentiality of medical records, the following procedures are suggested:
Sample Written Consent Form for Each Release of Confidential HIV*-Related Information
- All medical information in any way relating to the HIV status of any member of the school community, including written documentation of discussions, telephone conversations, proceedings, and meetings shall be kept in a locked file. Access to this file shall be granted only to those persons identified in writing by the student or student's parent/guardian, or the employee, as having a direct need to know. Filing and photocopying of related documents may be performed only by persons named in the written consent.
- No record referring to HIV status medical information shall ever be faxed.
- Medically-related documents that are to be mailed shall be marked "Confidential." Names of persons mailing documents and those receiving the documents shall be identified on the written consent form by the student or student's parent/guardian, or the applicant/employee.
- A written consent form shall be completed prior to each disclosure and release of HIV-related information. (Sample attached.)
- Each disclosure made shall be noted in the student or employee's personal file. The list of such disclosures shall be made available to student, parent/guardian, or employee upon request.
- Schools shall comply with Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) rule §1910.20 which concerns maintenance of and access to employee medical records. [Note: §1910.20 is incorporated by reference into §1910.1030 (h).]