6 States Approve Guidelines for Students With AIDS
In recent weeks, at least six more states have adopted guidelines for dealing with students with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, bringing to 17 the number of states with aids policies for schools.
Education officials in Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, have recommended that local school officials decide on a case-by-case basis whether to allow pupils with the disease to attend classes.
In Maryland and Rhode Island, health and education officials have distributed guidelines similar to those issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control in August. (See Education Week, Sept. 11, 1985.)
In addition, last week the cdc issued new national guidelines covering situations in the workplace. The agency advised against both the routine testing of employees to determine whether they carry the aids virus and restrictions on those known to have the disease. The guidelines are based, said the cdc, on medical evidence indicating that aids "is a blood-borne, sexually transmitted disease that is not spread through casual contact."
And the executive council of the American Federation of Teachers, last week, decided to delay issuing a policy resolution on the aids question, pending further review.
In state action this month:
The Colorado Board of Education took no statewide position on the issue of classroom admission, endorsing instead a proposal that the state's 178 school districts be allowed to make those decisions on a case-by-case basis.
A recommendation by Commissioner of Education Calvin M. Frazier that districts be required to bar from school for the rest of the year pupils who have aids or carry the aids virus was not voted on.
Maryland's guidelines would allow most public-school students with aids to remain in the classroom but suggest nonclassroom instruction for preschoolers and students who lack control of bodily functions, are prone to biting, or have open lesions.
Under the guidelines, drafted by the state's department of health and mental hygiene, a team of medical and education officials will evaluate cases on an individual basis, with
decisions then reviewed by the local school board.
Although no students with aids are currently enrolled in New Hampshire's public schools, the state board of education adopted a policy recommending that decisions regarding the admission of such students be made on a case-by-case basis by a planning and placement team at the district level.
In Pennsylvania, the department of education, in issuing general aids guidelines, advised districts to handle classroom-admission decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The department also said that districts should review policies on communicable diseases, identify one administrator to act as "central contact person" for handling information regarding aids, and discuss any school-board decision on aids policies with legal counsel.
In Rhode Island, Commissioner of Education J. Troy Earhart last week forwarded aids guidelines to all superintendents in the state. The advisory, developed in conjunction with state health officials, recommends that in most cases children with aids attend regular classes, according to Lorraine Webber, special assistant to the commissioner.
The final decision on a child's educational arrangements, according to the quidelines, will be made by the state director of health after consulting with the child's personal physician, the school physician, and a medical member of the state's aids advisory panel.
Wyoming's chief state school offi-cer, Lynn Simons, has recommended that individual aids cases be evaluated by a panel at the school-district level.
The Wyoming guidelines, developed by the state department of education in conjunction with the state department of health and social services, also direct the health department's "sexually transmitted diseases program" to provide available educational materials to schools.
There are no known cases of aids in Wyoming schools.
The aft council vote last week delayed until February a final decision on the group's aids policy, according to Scott Widmeyer, a spokesman for the union.
The council's action, he said, came after officials said they needed more medical information about the disease and its public-health aspects and additional advice from local affiliates, Mr. Widmeyer said.
The final resolution, he said, will address the treatment of both students and teachers with the disease.
In the meantime, said Mr. Widmeyer, aft affiliates will operate under the cdc guidelines, which the union distributed in September.
The National Education Association distributed aids guidelines to its members last month. They suggest that school officials who have reasonable cause to believe a teacher or student has aids or is a carrier of the virus be allowed to require a medical evaluation of that individual. (See Education Week, Oct. 16, 1985.)
And in two other developments:
A vote of the New Jersey Board of Education this month confirmed that Commissioner of Education Saul Cooperman has the authority to direct a district to allow a student with aids to attend regular classes, as state guidelines recommend.
The action followed a state judge's ruling that school officials, not the court, should decide whether to allow a 5-year-old girl to attend kindergarten in the Plainfield district. Mr. Cooperman turned to the court after local officials rejected his order to admit the girl.
The state was scheduled to seek an court order last week directing the district to admit the girl. Meanwhile, the Plainfield school board last week said it would again fight the order in court.
State Board Hearing
Lawyers for Ryan White, the Kokomo, Ind., 7th grader with aids who has been barred from school, argued this month in a hearing before the state board of education that the boy should be allowed to attend classes.
U.S. District Judge James Noland had ruled that administrative remedies set forth under state law must be pursued before bringing the case to court.
Since then, the case has been reviewed by a district-level team and by the school board; both recommended that Ryan not be admitted to the Western Middle Corporation school district.
But the boy's lawyers have appealed the decisions. The state board is expected to hand down a final decision on Nov. 27, according to Charles R. Vaughan Jr., one of Ryan's lawyers.