In order to safeguard the school community from the spread of certain communicable diseases, Bellingham Public Schools will implement procedures assuring that all school buildings are in compliance with State Board of Health rules and regulations regarding the presence of persons who have or have been exposed to infectious diseases deemed dangerous to the public health. Such procedures will also prescribe the steps to remove the danger to others.
The district will require that parents/guardians complete a medical history form at the beginning of each school year. The school nurse may use this information to advise the parent/guardian of the need for further medical attention and to plan for potential health problems in school.
The district authorizes the school principal to exclude a student who has been diagnosed by a licensed health care provider (LHP) or is suspected of having an infectious disease in accordance with the regulations within the most current, Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The principal or designee will report the presence of suspected case or cases of reportable communicable disease to the appropriate local health authority as required by the State Board of Health. The district and its staff will treat all information concerning a student’s present and past health condition as confidential. The principal will cooperate with the local health officials in the investigation of the source of the disease.
The fact that a student has been tested for a sexually transmitted disease, the test result, any information relating to the diagnosis or treatment of a sexually transmitted disease, and any information regarding drug or alcohol treatment for a student must be kept strictly confidential. If the district receives authorization to release information, the district may disclose information pursuant to the restrictions in the release.
A school principal or designee has the authority to send an ill student home without the concurrence of the local health officer, but if the disease is notifiable, the district must notify the local health officer. The local health officer is the primary resource in the identification and control of infectious disease in the community and school. The local health officer, in consultation with the superintendent can take whatever action deemed necessary to control or eliminate the spread of disease, including closing a school.
Chapter 70.02 RCW Medical records — health care information access and disclosure
RCW 28A.210.010 Contagious diseases, limiting contact — Rules
Chapter 246-110 WAC Contagious diseases –School districts and day care centers
Policy News-Policy Alert, September 2020 COVID-19 and Infectious Disease Management
Policy News August 2018 School nurses: assuring a safe and healthy school environment
Policy News February 2013 Updates notifiable conditions as required by WAC 246-101-101