Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County School Board at its Jan. 14 meeting. For more information, call 246-2991.

AIDS POLICY -- The board postponed deciding on a policy on whether children and employees with AIDS or its related virus may remain in school, following criticism by the president of Fairfax County's major teacher's union of a policy proposed by Superintendent Robert Spillane.

Spillane recommended that principals who have reason to believe a student has AIDS or its related virus exclude those students from classes while a panel of school and health department officials reviews the child's medical and school records.

Under Spillane's proposed policy, the panel would recommend action to the superintendent, who would then recommend action to the School Board. The School Board would make any final decision on whether to allow the child to remain in school or to provide instruction elsewhere.

Under Spillane's proposed policy for school employees, if a principal has reason to believe an employee has AIDS or its related virus, he or she must inform the assistant superintendent for personnel. If the assistant superintendent concurs, he must place the employee on administrative leave while a panel of school and health department officials reviews the case. After the review, the superintendent would decide whether to allow the employee to continue working. Employees who are asked not to report to work because of AIDS or the AIDS related virus would get routine disability benefits.

Fairfax Education Association President Mimi Dash said Spillane's proposal should have set a limit on how long the medical review could take. She also suggested that the doctor of the student or employee being reviewed be on the review panel, and that the school system pay for AIDS tests it requires.

Dash also said that if a child is excluded from classes because of infection, teachers should not be required to work with him outside of school.

The board is to vote on a schedule for public hearings and a schedule for adopting a policy at its Jan. 28 meeting.

DRIVER EDUCATION -- The board voted 6 to 3 to adopt a compromise version of a policy on school-sponsored driving lessons that would allow lessons on roads during the school day, but require that lessons on school parking lots be held on Saturdays and after classes during the week.

School officials had recommended that driving lessons in driver education classes no longer be held during school, because students were missing other classes to take the lessons and because some lessons were held in school parking lots, tying up needed parking space.

But officials also noted that if lessons were held after school, they might be more dangerous because of darkness and rush-hour traffic, and evening lessons might force some students to take commercial driving classes.

Officials therefore suggested, and the board adopted, the alternative policy.