Policy GBGAA: Staff with AIDS

POLICY

The Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committeesrecognize that employees with life-threatening illnesses, including, butnot limited to cancer, heart disease, and AIDS related viruses may wishto continue to work. As long as employees are able to meet acceptableperformance standards, and medical evidence indicates that theiremployment is not a threat to themselves or others, employees shall beassured of continued employment. Federal and State laws also mandate,pursuant to the laws protecting disabled individuals, that thoseindividuals not be discriminated against on the basis of theirhandicaps, and that if it becomes necessary, some reasonableaccommodations be made to enable qualified individuals to continue towork.

TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Medical studies show that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(hereinafter AIDS) is transmitted via sexual contact or blood to bloodcontact. To date, there is no record of transmission of the AIDSrelated viruses to co-workers or others in the workplace. Nor is thereevidence of casual transmission by sitting near, working in the samearea, sharing the same water fountain, telephones, toilets, eatingfacilities or office equipment with a person infected with an AIDSrelated virus.

Many of the problems which arise in the workplace when employees areconfronted with a colleague who suffers a life-threatening illness likeAIDS are caused by ignorance about the disease and misunderstanding ofthe ways in which it is transmitted. The only means of combating thisfear is education. The Superintendent will initiate and supportprograms to educate the staff as to the facts regarding AIDS relatedviruses and how they are not transmitted.

Employees with an AIDS related virus infection or other lifethreatening illness are encouraged to seek assistance through employeesassistance programs, established community support groups, or Departmentof Public Health (DPH) referral for medical treatment, as well ascounseling services.

CONFIDENTIALITY

An employee’s health condition is personal and confidential. Medicalinformation about employees is exempt from public disclosure by M.G.L.c.4, section 7(26). Thus, special precautions should be taken toprevent instances of disclosure that may invade the personal privacy ofemployees. Only those school officials with a clear need to know, asdetermined by the Superintendent of Schools, will be informed of anemployee’s health condition, particularly if it relates to the AIDSinfection status of an employee. Requests for information by unionrepresentatives will be referred to the Office of the Superintendent ofSchools for appropriate action.

EMPLOYEE’S PHYSICIAN

The employee’s physician is the primary health care provider for theemployee. The Superintendent, in consultation with the employee, maydesignate a physician to represent the school district. This physicianwill consult with the employee and, with his/her permission, theemployee’s physician. All communication between the school districtphysician, the employee, and the employee’s physician will respectphysician/patient confidentiality. If it is determined by the schooldistrict physician that a matter of public safety is present, the schooldistrict physician will so inform the Superintendent and advise him/herof any recommended course of action.

POLICY REVIEW

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Committees to insure implications of new research are addressed.

Region Voted to Approve:
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve:
Effective Date: