EBCG/JHCC – Communicable and Infectious Diseases

Students and employees of the District are expected to attend the schools of the district without being infected with serious communicable diseases. Nonetheless, the Board recognizes that staff, students, volunteers and others may come in contact with bloodborne pathogens, viruses and other communicable diseases during the school day or school sponsored activities, or may carry those pathogens, viruses and diseases unknowingly into the school community. The Board adopts this policy as a means to minimize risk and respond to these health concerns while respecting the rights of all students and employees, including those who are infected.

As described in Board policy JLCG, RSA 200:39 permits the exclusion from school of students who exhibit symptoms of contagion, or are a hazard to him/herself or others. As provided in this policy, determinations as to inclusion or exclusion of students or employees with communicable diseases from school will take into account the educational implications for the student and others with whom he or she comes into contact, recommendations from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (“NHDHHS”), the New Hampshire Department of Education, and the United States Public Health Services Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”). Diseases which will implicate this policy, include, but are not necessarily limited to, HSV related diseases such as Chickenpox, Shingles, Hepatitis B, and Infectious Mononucleosis, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), or Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and other diseases which are from time-to-time identified by public health agencies such as the CDC and NHDHHS.

1. Students.

It is the policy of the District that students with communicable diseases should not be excluded from attending school in their regular classrooms so long as their attendance results in a situation where the risk of transmission of illness to students or employees of the School District, or hazard to themselves, is negligible. All decisions regarding inclusion or exclusion shall be made consistent with this section and the procedures set forth in section B of this policy.

2. Employees.

It is the policy of the School Board that employees (which for the purposes of this policy will include individual consultants/contractors, and volunteers) with communicable diseases not be excluded from attending to their customary employment and duties so long as they are physically able to perform tasks assigned to them and so long as their employment results in a situation where the risk of transmission of illness to students or other employees of the District, or hazard to themselves, is negligible.

3. Special Circumstances and Conditions.

The School Board recognizes that some students or employees, because of age, disability or other special conditions, may pose greater risks for the transmission of communicable diseases than other persons infected with the same illness. Examples include children who display biting behavior and students and employees who are unable to control their body fluids or have uncovered wounds. These conditions need to be taken into account and considered in assessing the risk of transmission of the disease and the resulting effect upon the educational program of the student or employment of the employee.
In the instance of diseases causing suppressed immunity, attendance may be denied to a child with suppressed immunity in order to protect the welfare of the child with suppressed immunity when others in the school have an infectious disease which, although not normally life threatening, could be life threatening to the child with suppressed immunity.


1. Reporting. School District employees, including contracted individuals and/or agencies who are performing contracted responsibilities for the School District, and who become aware of a communicable disease or other potentially serious health problem regarding themselves, or of students or other employees, unless prohibited by statutory confidentiality, they will report it to the school nurse, or building Principal/designee.

2. Response. The health risk to others in the school district environment from the presence of a student or employee with a communicable disease shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. In all cases in which the school nurse, or other person designated by the Superintendent, becomes aware that a student or employee of the School District has contracted a communicable disease of the kind in section A of this policy, s/he will take the following steps:

a. The parent/guardian(s) of a student will be contacted in order to discuss the situation and determine whatever facts are available; the same information will be communicated promptly among the Superintendent/designee, school nurse and Principal/designee.

b. Upon receiving written consent from the parent(s) or guardian of a student or, in the case of an employee, the employee or his/her health care agent (i.e., adult to whom authority to make health care decisions is delegated under an advance directive meeting the requirements of RSA 137-J:20), the school nurse/Superintendent’s designee will attempt to confer with the treating physician, if any, in order to determine any significant medical facts concerning the diagnosis of the disease or factors affecting the possible transmission of the disease.

c. Notify and consult with the health care professionals knowledgeable about the particular disease. Following such consultation, the school nurse, Superintendent or his/her designee, shall determine the immediate, short-term action to be taken relative to educational placement of the student or work assignment for the employee.

d. When a communicable disease of the kind identified in section A of this policy is suspected or confirmed in an individual, the school nurse shall consult with the Superintendent or designee and appropriate public health officials, to determine whether a student or employee shall be excluded from school or from attending to their customary employment, and whether additional measures are required to protect other members of the school population. Factors specific to individuals, such as biting behaviors, lack of control of body fluids, existence of uncovered wounds or other medically identifiable conditions may also be considered. Recommendations regarding the least restrictive educational placement for a student or continued attendance at work for an employee may be sought on a case by case basis.
In addition to the information obtained in steps a-c, decisions to exclude shall consider criteria from NHDHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease included in its publication “When Children Should be Excluded or Dismissed from a Childcare Setting”, or the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Red Book: Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases”, or other general or specific guidance from the NHDHHS or the United States Centers for Disease Control.

i. Decisions regarding students. Unless the school nurse is unavailable, the ultimate decision to exclude a child from school under this Policy due to a contagious or communicable illness shall be made by the school nurse after consulting with the Superintendent/designee and Principal/designee.
If the school nurse is unavailable, a decision to exclude shall be made by the Superintendent/designee.
If the student is a student with an IEP, 504 Plan, or other such individualized learning plan, then decisions regarding alternative settings shall be made according to the applicable laws, regulations and policies.
Students who are aggrieved by the education plan determinations may appeal said determinations pursuant to state and federal special education law if the infected student is eligible for or claims that s/he is eligible for special education or special education and related services. Excluded students who do not claim that they are eligible for special education or special education and related services, but who are aggrieved by the Superintendent’s determinations, may appeal said determinations to the Board.

ii. Decisions regarding employees. Determinations regarding exclusion or reassignment of employees shall be made by the Superintendent/designee. Absent significant risk to the employee or risk of transmission to students or other employees, the Superintendent shall not alter the job assignment of the infected person. Volunteers are subject to any directives issued by the administration, as are contractors and consultants, subject to the terms of their respective agreements.
If the Superintendent/designee, after taking the steps above, determines that there is a medically recognized risk of transmission of disease in the School setting or that a significant health problem restricts the infected person’s ability to work, or presents a substantial hazard to the employee, the Superintendent/designee shall, if necessary, develop an individually tailored plan to accommodate the staff member if possible. Additional persons may be consulted if necessary for gaining additional information, but the infected person must approve of the notification of any additional persons who are informed of the infected person’s identity. The Superintendent/designee may consult with legal counsel to ensure that any official action is consistent with state and federal law. If an individually tailored plan is necessary, said plan should be medically, legally, educationally and ethically sound.

iii. Testing, Social Distancing and Other Extraordinary Measures. Some infectious diseases, viruses, etc., may be so dangerous and or the risk of casual transmission so great, that effective response will require broader measures. Based upon specific recommendations of local, state and/or federal health authorities, the Superintendent is authorized to implement such additional, extraordinary emergency measures as may be necessary and appropriate to address the health risk: e.g., school closure, population exclusion (stay-at-home type instructions), mandatory screenings, mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE’s), social distancing orders, administrative leaves or temporary adjustments in duties. These provisions are intended to complement, not replace any provisions of Board policy Pandemic/Epidemic Emergencies. Such measures should be taken with prior notice to the Board, if practicable, or as soon as possible thereafter. The Board Chair may determine that the circumstances, or the measures implemented by the Superintendent, warrant a special or an emergency meeting of the School Board.

3. Practices to Minimize Contamination in Schools.

Good hygiene practices as recommended by local, county and state health authorities are to be followed at all times when handling blood or other body fluids of any student or employee. Parents and employees are not generally required to advise the school if their child has a communicable disease. (Some exception may exist under specific legislation or Executive/emergency orders, in which, such legislation or Executive orders shall supersede this policy to the extent necessary to remove any conflict.) Because the District may not rely on self-reporting, it is appropriate to adopt procedures for the handling of body fluids from any child or employee. This also eliminates the need to notify all maintenance, transportation and building personnel if the District becomes aware of a student or employee with communicable diseases. It is recommended the following procedures be used on a routine basis when blood or any other body fluids including vomitus and fecal or urinary incontinence are involved.

a. Gloves should be worn when cleaning up any body fluids.
b. Spills should be cleaned up, the affected area washed with soap and water and disinfected with bleach (one-part bleach to ten parts water), or another disinfectant.
c. All disposable materials, including gloves and diapers, should be discarded into a plastic bag before discarding in a conventional trash system. The mop should also be disinfected with the bleach solution described in B above.
d. Toys and other personal non-disposable items should be cleaned with soap and water followed by disinfection with the bleach solution before passing to another person. A normal laundry cycle is adequate for other non-disposable items.
e. Persons involved in the clean-up should wash their hands afterward.
Additional precautions may be recommended or required in certain instances (e.g., social distancing, masks, etc.).

4. Confidentiality and Data Privacy.

Public concern regarding communicable diseases is neither an excuse nor defense for the violation of data privacy rights of students or employees who have or are rumored to have such illnesses.

A. Personally identifiable health information regarding students is private data and is not to be disseminated to the public or to staff without the strict observance of student privacy rights.
B. Personally identifiable health data and information regarding employees is private data and may not be released to the public nor to fellow employees without strict observance of privacy rights of public employees.
C. Parents of other children attending the school, or other school employees, may only be notified of a possible exposure to a communicable disease to the extent permitted, or required, under applicable law, regulations or Executive order. In general, such information will not identify the particular student or employee who has the disease.
D. Any District employee who violates the confidentiality provisions of this policy shall be subject to discipline. A confidentiality breached by an independent contractor/consultant, could result in termination of the contract for cause.

5. Staff and Student Education.
The School Board recognizes that the education of its residents, staff, and students regarding the risks involved in the spread of infectious diseases in the school setting will help to minimize the risk of transmission to other students and employees while protecting the rights of infected students and employees.

A. All school district employees should receive instruction regarding appropriate hygienic practices for use in school settings, precautions to be employed where contagious diseases may be encountered and community resources for referral and information.
B. Any information provided as part of a student’s instruction pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases shall comply with Board policy IHAM.

6. Implementation
The Superintendent is authorized to implement this policy through and procedures, or administrative directives which s/he deems necessary or appropriate. The Contoocook Valley School District will work cooperatively with the Division of Public Health Services of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to enforce and adhere to the Public Health Code (Chapter He-P 300 Diseases) for the prevention, control, and containment of communicable disease in schools. To ensure adherence to current law and medical practices, these policies and administrative regulations will be reviewed annually by the school nurses.

Legal References:
RSA 189:1-a, Duty to Provide Education
RSA 189:31, Removal of Teacher
RSA 186-C, Special Education
RSA 193:1, Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil
RSA 193:3, Change of School or Assignment, Manifest Educational Hardship or Best
Interest, Excusing Attendance
RSA 200:32, Physical Examination of Student
RSA 200:36, Medical Examination of School Personnel
RSA 200:39, Exclusion from School
Statutory Authority: RSA 141-C:6
NHDHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease’s: “When Children Should be Excluded or Dismissed from a Childcare Setting,” may be found at: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/documents/childrendismissed.pdf

1st Read: September 6, 2022
2nd Read: September 20, 2022
Adopted: September 20, 2022