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Guidance for HIV/AIDS for Nebraska Public Schools

Provided by the:
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
HIV/AIDS Prevention/Ryan White Programs
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
The purpose of this guidance is to simplify and help those who are revising HIV/AIDS existing policies and programs or creating new ones. This document was modified from the "Someone At School Has AIDS: A Complete Guide to Education Policies Concerning HIV Infection" created by the National Association of State Board of Education (NASBE).

INTRODUCTION

All communities are affected by the continuing spread of HIV and young people continue to be infected with HIV at alarming rates. Out of the 40,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, half occur in people under the age of 25. Twenty-five percent of new HIV infections are estimated to occur in people between 13-20 years of age. In Nebraska, 1,166 people have been diagnosed with AIDS and another 567 have been reported as having HIV. This growing problem and the serious issues raised by HIV infection in society and in schools demands a reaction from educators. With infection rates increasing in adolescents and young people, it is crucial for schools to develop policies that establish annual in-service training for school personnel on universal precautions; promotes age-appropriate, medically accurate HIV education for students; and protects schools from potential litigation as well as protects the rights of HIV infected individuals. The need to balance a number of complex factors — concerns of families, staff, and community members; the needs of children and adults with HIV infection; legal requirements; public health recommendations; and compassion — make policy making a challenge.

In the past, the prospect of students with HIV infection or AIDS attending schools has been sometimes controversial, causing some schools and communities to suffer public relations and legal nightmares, as well as causing some children and their families to be treated as outcasts out of concern for other children’s safety. These same things could still occur if school authorities do not understand the facts about HIV and AIDS, lack procedural guidelines, or are not prepared to deal with peoples’ concerns and fears. Here in Nebraska, a great many school districts have established HIV/AIDS policies. However, a vast number of these schools’ policies are outdated or incomplete, creating a potential atmosphere for the above scenarios to occur.

HIV/AIDS policies and programs need to be revised periodically to reflect the most current body of knowledge. Medical information expands, legislation changes, and court decisions are made at the federal, state, and local levels related to HIV/AIDS continually. Policies adopted just a few years ago might not be adequate to deal with today’s issues. Up-to-date policies and programs concerning infection with HIV and AIDS enable schools and districts to deal with complex issues that affect the school community. Keeping these policies and programs current can be difficult, especially in light of the vast amount of information on the topic. The purpose of this guidance is to simplify this task and help those who are revising already existing policies or creating new ones. This document was modified from the "Someone At School Has AIDS: A Complete Guide to Education Policies Concerning HIV Infection" created by the National Association of State Board of Education (NASBE).

January 2003

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs or activities. Inquiries concerning Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may be referred to
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Support for this material was provided under cooperative agreement #U87/CCU709001 with the Division of Adolescent and School Health, Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and ________________________________________________
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For additional information, contact the HIV/AIDS Prevention/Ryan White Programs, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, 3rd Floor, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, Nebraska 58509, (402) 471-9098.


Policy Workgroup Panel


Dr. Dan Ernst
Superintendent
Waverly Public Schools
Waverly, NE

Kathy Gosch
Program Coordinator, Nurse
ESU #10
Kearney, NE

Rose Ann L’Heureux, RN
School & Child Health Nursing Coordinator
Department of Health & Human Services
Lincoln, NE

Russ Wren
HIV/AIDS Prevention/Ryan White Program
Department of Health & Human Services
Lincoln, NE

Nancy Lee Rowch
Equity Services
Nebraska Department of Education
Lincoln, NE

Julane Hill
HIV/AIDS Prevention/Ryan White Program
Dept. of Health & Human Services
Lincoln, NE

Sharon Renter
HIV/AIDS Prevention/Ryan White Program
Department of Health & Human Services
Lincoln, NE

Jay Sears
Nebraska State Education Association
Lincoln, NE

Cathy Ryan
Safety Coordinator
American Red Cross – Lancaster Chapter
Lincoln, NE

Michael Shain
Career Guidance & Counseling
NE Department of Education
Lincoln, NE

Sue Scott
Health & Safety Coordinator
NE Parent/Teacher Association
Fremont, NE

Sue Bokenkamp
Family & Consumer Science Teacher
Kearney West High School
Kearney, NE

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