Teaching on AIDS Slated
Saying that students should know more about acquired immune deficiency syndrome and its transmission, New York City Schools Chancellor Nathan Quinones announced in a press conference late last month that the city's teachers would soon begin teaching about aids
Two high-school superintendents are developing the aids curriculum for students in grades 9 through 12 in the city's 111 high schools; it could be in place as early as February, according to Joseph Mancini, spokesman for the school board.
The aids information will be integrated into family-living and sex-education classes. The chancellor also said he may recommend that aids information also become part of the middle-school curriculum.
In related developments:
The Pershing Humanities Academy, an elementary school in Chicago, will include information about aids in its curriculum, following the death last month of one of its teachers from an aids-related illness.
Parents and teachers met after a 35-year-old 4th-grade teacher collapsed in his classroom. He subsequently died of a heart attack, caused in part by aids, according to Bob Saigh, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Education, which approved the new curriculum.
Parents and teachers requested that the school distribute information on aids, Mr. Saigh said, and the board's staff is considering introducing the option of an aids curriculum for other Chicago schools.
The Virginia Board of Health has recommended that, in general, school-age children with aids be allowed to remain in school unless a medical opinion suggests that they pose a risk to other children.
But the policy suggests that infants and toddlers with the syndrome not be allowed to attend a day-care facility unless a medical determination can be made that the child will not pose a threat to the other children, according to A. Martin Cader, director of communicable-disease control for the state.
Dr. Cader said the latter decision was not based on a belief that aids may be transmitted through casual contact, but on the uncertainty that exists over the degree to which infants and toddlers may be at risk for infection through the exchange of such body fluids as saliva.
A teachers' union in Maryland plans to bargain to give teachers the right to refuse to teach students with communicable diseases. According to Daniel Collins, president of the Howard County Education Association, the provision the union would like to see included in teacher contracts was not designed specifically for students with aids, but could be applied to them.
The provision reads: "No teacher should be required to perform tasks that endanger his or her safety or health or the safety of his/her immediate family, including that of an unborn child."
In a Plainfield, N.J., case, the state board of education ruled last month that a 5-year-old with aids who has been receiving home instruction should be admitted to school. The school district appealed the decision to a state appellate court, which has granted a delay in implementation until the case can be heard on Jan. 7.--er