Policy GBGAA: Staff with AIDS

POLICY

The Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees recognize that employees with life-threatening illnesses, including, but not limited to cancer, heart disease, and AIDS related viruses may wish to continue to work. As long as employees are able to meet acceptable performance standards, and medical evidence indicates that their employment is not a threat to themselves or others, employees shall be assured of continued employment. Federal and State laws also mandate, pursuant to the laws protecting disabled individuals, that those individuals not be discriminated against on the basis of their handicaps, and that if it becomes necessary, some reasonable accommodations be made to enable qualified individuals to continue to work.

TRAINING AND EDUCATION

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

Many of the problems which arise in the workplace when employees are confronted with a colleague who suffers a life-threatening illness like AIDS are caused by ignorance about the disease and misunderstanding of the ways in which it is transmitted. The only means of combating this fear is education. The Superintendent will initiate and support programs to educate the staff as to the facts regarding AIDS related viruses and how they are not transmitted.

Employees with an AIDS related virus infection or other life threatening illness are encouraged to seek assistance through employees assistance programs, established community support groups, or Department of Public Health (DPH) referral for medical treatment, as well as counseling services.

CONFIDENTIALITY

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

EMPLOYEE’S PHYSICIAN

The employee’s physician is the primary health care provider for the employee. The Superintendent, in consultation with the employee, may designate a physician to represent the school district. This physician will consult with the employee and, with his/her permission, the employee’s physician. All communication between the school district physician, the employee, and the employee’s physician will respect physician/patient confidentiality. If it is determined by the school district physician that a matter of public safety is present, the school district physician will so inform the Superintendent and advise him/her of 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:
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