A measure that would require parents to inform school authorities if their child has a contagious disease was proposed last night to the Prince George's County Board of Education.
The proposal comes while neighboring Anne Arundel County is embroiled in a controversy over a 3-year-old boy who has herpes. Parents of the boy's classmates have kept their children out of school for fear that the boy's disease would spread.
Similar situations exist elsewhere in the country and in Prince George's County where teachers recently complained about a special education student known to carry cytomegalovirus, a flu-like illness.
That student, who was scheduled for transfer to a different special education center, was eventually kept at her original school.
Board member Paul Shelby introduced the resolution, which could require the school superintendent to inquire of all parents whether their child has a contagious disease or has had such a disease in the past.
The resolution stipulates that no student will be expelled from school or denied service because of a contagious disease.
"This I see as a first step. There ought to be identification," Shelby said. "It's a protection for staff and students. So we're not lurching from crisis to crisis, we ought to have a comprehensive policy."
The board will vote on the proposal in the coming weeks.
In other business, the board agreed to hire a group of Washington consultants to conduct a $20,000 financial review and management audit to assess the administrative staffing of county schools.
The audit was proposed by Superintendent John A. Murphy and follows criticism from some quarters that the school administration is "top heavy."
Backers of TRIM, the county's property tax limit, have long argued that the school administration should be streamlined.
Murphy, however, has said that the county has the lowest ratio of administrators to students in the state.
The consultants include Michael D. Usdan, former commissioner of higher education in Connecticut and now president of the Institute for Educational Leadership, and Richard R. Strother, vice president of the Crosby International Group.
They are expected to take several months to complete their review, which is being funded from an account for an unfilled deputy superintendent's position.