Fairfax County

The following were among the actions taken at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 691-2991.

AIDS EDUCATION -- School administrators proposed new sex and health education materials that would teach county students about AIDS as early as grade seven, instruct teachers how to answer questions about AIDS from fifth and sixth graders and would lift the present school ban on teaching about contraception and homosexuality to students below 10th grade.

The plan calls for teaching students in grades seven through nine about AIDS and teaching eighth- and ninth-graders about contraception, subjects now only discussed after students have reached 10th grade.

Administrators also recommended teaching fifth- and sixth-grade teachers how to answer questions asked frequently about AIDS.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne Lecos told the board that fifth- and sixth-grade teachers have been getting more questions about AIDS from their students than ever before. The teachers reported that young students falsely fear they may get the illness from cooking utensils or swimming pools. Lecos said the plan would allow specially trained teachers to give limited answers to those kinds of questions.

The board voted in February to teach sophomores in voluntary sex education courses about AIDS and to give high school principals discretion to include AIDS instruction in classes for other grades.

But some board members felt high school might be too late to provide the information, and the board asked for recommendations on teaching younger children about the disease.

Board members expect to vote on the recommendations on Dec. 3 after parents have a chance to study them and to see recommended filmstrips and videotapes on AIDS.

The proposed courses would emphasize that abstinence from sex and intravenous drugs is the best way to avoid AIDS, but also would teach that condoms or spermicides can reduce the risk of getting the disease for those who are sexually active.

Board member Laura McDowall (Annandale District) said the recommendations "seem very sound." The expanded health information programs also were endorsed by the board's student member Jason Hintz, who was on the advisory committee that made the recommendations. Hintz is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

BRADDOCK PARK SCHOOL SITE -- The board heard a staff recommendation on which students should attend the new, $23 million, 2,000-student high school to be opened next fall on Union Mill Road in Centreville.

Administrators recommended opening the school next fall with freshman and sophomores only. The staff proposed adding one group of seventh-graders in the fall of 1989, who probably would come from the Rocky Run and nearby Lanier intermediate school attendence areas. These classes would stay at Braddock Park through 12th grade. By the 1991-1992 school year, the school would be a regular high school with grades nine through 12.

The board will hold a public hearing on the school's grade structure on Nov. 17 and vote on it Nov. 19.

Last Saturday, administrators announced three school boundary proposals for Braddock Park attendence areas, which would be drawn from the areas now served by Fairfax and Chantilly high schools.

School Superintendent Robert Spillane will make a formal recommendation on the boundary proposals Dec. 17. After public hearings, the school board will make a final decision March 10.