AP 166 - Control of Communicable and Contagious Diseases
Communicable diseases as defined by the Ministry of Health include: eye infections, impetigo, lice, ringworm, scabies, scarlet fever, strep throat, measles, mumps, chicken pox, fifth disease and whooping cough. These diseases are of great concern to the health of the Division’s students and staff.
The Division also recognizes that serious contagious diseases are a concern for the operation of public schools. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), SARS and other serious diseases with the potential to endanger the lives of the general public require policy and procedure for dealing with risk. Accordingly, it believes that a high standard of care and responsibility must be associated with any actions concerning students or employees who contact the condition. Significant efforts must be directed toward education and communication concerning AIDS, SARS and any other serious contagious diseases.
The Division recognizes, further, that present medical knowledge is limited with regard to some contagious situations, while other knowledge is relatively comprehensive. The type of disease will have a risk factor and the risk factor will drive many of the decisions made by the Division. Finally, the Division recognizes its duty to respect the inherent worth and dignity of each individual involved in any relevant discussions or decisions.
Staff members at risk due to the presence of a communicable and contagious disease should refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Under this Act employers have the responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.
Based on the understandings stated above, administrators shall adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Contagious diseases are a health issue; this principle is to guide all actions taken.
2. Education is the key to curtailing and understanding the communicable disease.
3. Each individual situation where a student contracts a communicable disease should be evaluated carefully:
3.1. Consultation with public health officials should occur prior to making any decision for the exclusion of a student;
3.2. The principal shall be entitled, under Section 157 of The Education Act, to exclude a student from attending school;
3.3. The principal shall consult with Procedure AP 319 Notice of Exclusion for a sample letter to be used when a student is to be excluded due to a health concern; and
3.4. The principal shall only re-admit a student who has been excluded upon the production of a written certificate from the medical health official indicating that it is safe for the student to return, as per Section 157(g) of The Education Act.
4. A student who has been infected by the HIV, or who has developed AIDS, SARS, West Nile or other diseases will be allowed to continue at school provided: (see The Education Act section 157)
4.1. That she/he displays no aberrant behavior which could place other individuals in danger; and
4.2. That a committee consisting of the Medical Health Officer, the student’s personal physician and the Director (or designate) believes that the student and her/his parent(s)/guardian(s) understand what must be done to protect other students and the infected person, and are prepared to take the necessary precautions.
5. Administrators will allow the student to be absent from school for reasons related to the individual’s health, especially remembering that the person infected by the contagious disease may have an increased risk of acquiring every other infection that commonly runs its course in schools.
6. An employee who tests positive for infection by the Human Immune-Deficiency Virus (the cause of AIDS) and who develops AIDS, SARS, West Nile or other diseases may continue in her/his position as long as:
6.1. The/he displays no aberrant behavior which could place other individuals in danger;
6.2. A committee consisting of the individual’s personal physician, the Medical Health Officer, and the Director (or designate) believes that the person is adequately informed about the disease and what needs to be done to protect his or her own life and that of others, and that he or she is prepared to take all the precautions advised by the committee; and
6.3. The person remains healthy enough to carry out the duties assigned.
7. The right to privacy and confidentially will be respected. No information shall be released to staff, the media or the public unless done by the Director after consulting with the other committee members cited. It is understood that the safety of other students and staff will be an important consideration in any decision to share information.
Reference: Occupational Health and Safety Act
Section 157, Education Act
April 5, 2011