Arlington students who have AIDS will be excluded from classes while a special health team reviews their cases, the School Board agreed last night.
Within five days after a case of the disease is reported to school officials, they will set up a health review team composed of the student's doctor, public health and school officials and the student's parents, according to a new policy on AIDS adopted by a 4-to-0 vote. Board member Margaret A. Bocek was absent.
There have been no cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome reported among Arlington students, school officials said. If one occurred, the health review team would evaluate it based on the student's behavior, neurological development, physicial condition and expected interaction with others and recommend the "proper instructional program" for that student, the policy says.
Although incidents of AIDS, which destroys the body's immune system, will be dealt with case by case, children with AIDS who can't control their bodily functions, bite others, have uncovered, oozing lesions or are preschoolers will not be allowed in school until the health review team determines they pose no risk to other students or staff, according to the new policy.
Fairfax School Superintendent Robert R. Spillane announced last fall that any pupils with AIDS would be excluded because Virginia law bars children with contagious diseases from school. Alexandria Superintendent Robert Peebles said officials there also would follow state policy, although the local health department may examine individual cases and recommend readmission.
In the District of Columbia, according to school spokeswoman Janis Cromer, new guidelines from a task force on AIDS propose case-by-case review of AIDS occurrences. Prince George's school spokesman Brian Porter said AIDS cases would also be evaluated individually.
In Montgomery County, students with AIDS may remain in school until they it is determined that they pose a risk to others or cannot function, said spokesman Bill Henry. That determination is made by an advisory committee of county health officials, the child's personal doctor, school personnel and parents, he said.