Prince William County
The following actions were taken at the Dec. 2 meeting of the Prince William County School Board. For more information, call 791-7200.
SIX-YEAR PLAN -- Superintendent Edward L. Kelly presented the School Board with a three-volume, "Six-Year Plan" and an accompanying $225 million Capital Improvements Program for the county school system. He called the improvements ambitious, but not "unattainable."
Described as the most detailed long-range planning document ever produced by county school officials, the plan calls for the construction of 14 new schools to handle student population increases in the 1990s.
It also proposes longer school days next year, stiffer graduation requirements by 1992 and increased autonomy for school prinicipals.
The first phase of the plan is expected to come before the board for approval early next year. However, the board took initial steps to cut back Kelly's proposed construction program, trimming the $20 million request for next year to $8 million.
To accomodate an estimated increase of 1,300 students in each of the next six years, the capital improvement program calls for construction of 10 elementary schools, three middle schools and an eighth high school, all scheduled to open between 1991 and 1995. No new schools are currently under construction.
About 100 trailers are already in use at crowded schools in the county, where 39,000 students are enrolled.
Under the plan to upgrade county academic standards, stiffer graduation requirements would be phased in over the next five years. Students would need 22 units to graduate instead of 20. For an honors diploma, they would need 24 units instead of 22.
In addition, a seventh period would be added next fall to the current six-period high school day. The cost of hiring additional teachers to implement the expanded school day is estimated at $3.3 million annually.
AIR CONDITIONING -- The board unanimously approved the installation of air conditioning and heating improvements at seven county elementary schools next year at a cost of $5 million. The funds would be requested from next spring's Virginia Public School Authority bond sale.
Originally an information item only, the resolution was changed to an action item at the request of several board members, who urged that the issue be resolved as soon as possible.
Air conditioning will be added to Brentsville, Coles, Nokesville, Sinclair Tyler, Woodbine and Yorkshire elementary schools and heating improvements will be made at Nokesville, Woodbine and Yorkshire.
AIDS EXPOSURE -- Acting in executive session, the board voted to allow a secondary school student exposed to the AIDS virus to return to school after medical experts determined that there were no basis for excluding the student from school. The student, whose identity is protected under state and federal laws, was asked to leave this fall under the school system's existing AIDS policy.
It is the first such case encountered by the county school system.
The decision was announced by Board Chairman Gerard P. Cleary, who told parents in the audience that the student was exposed to an AIDS virus but does not have AIDS, a fatal disease that breaks down the body's immune system.
"I would like to stress that according to most current medical information, there is no basis for excluding this student from school," Superintendent Edward L. Kelly wrote in a memo to the board.
The memo outlines steps being taken with the readmission of the student.
"I believe that the public and our employees have the right to know what steps are taken if students with the AIDS virus are readmitted to school," Kelly stated.
Some of the steps include a twice a year review of the student's case by a medical team and alerting the principal, teachers and guidance counselors in the student's school so they can take appropriate action in case of an emergency. The student's physical and educational activities will be limited in areas where the student would be vulnerable to injuries that could cause bleeding, the memo also noted.