Staff Health and Safety - Communicable Diseases

Section G: Personnel

Policy Title: Staff Health and Safety - Communicable Diseases
Policy Code: GBGCB
Lead Department: Health Services

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It is the policy of the Tucson Unified School District to take reasonable and lawful measures to protect the school community from the transmission of communicable diseases (see GBGCB-E1). The Superintendent is authorized to adopt such procedures as are necessary to implement this policy in a manner consistent with state and federal laws.  Communicable disease response will follow currently established guidelines by public health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and/or the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), and/or the Pima County Health Department (PCHD).  Guidance for communicable disease response may change based on the guidance of these entities.

Exclusion from School
A staff member who has a communicable disease shall be excluded from school only if the staff member presents a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the school workplace. The outbreak control measures and other directives of the Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health agencies shall be acted upon as the best medical knowledge and judgments with regard to the exclusion of a staff member who has a communicable disease that is addressed by DHS regulations. The communicable diseases specifically addressed by DHS regulations are listed at A.A.C. R9-6-301 et seq.

A staff member who has a chronic communicable disease, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, shall not be excluded unless a significant risk is presented to the health and safety of others which cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation. The Superintendent shall consult with legal counsel and health professionals, as necessary, to ensure that exclusion of a staff member with a chronic communicable disease will not violate the staff member's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The site Administrator designated by the Superintendent must reassess a staff member who is excluded from school because of a communicable disease before the staff member returns to work. The District may require a physician's written medical release as a condition for the staff member's return to work.

Reporting and Notification
The District shall report to its local health agency each diagnosed and suspected case of a communicable disease that must be reported under state or local law. A listing of disease outbreaks that the District must report by telephone within twenty-four (24) hours, pursuant to A.C.C. R9-6-202(C), is available on the Arizona Department of Health Services website (School/Childcare Reportable Disease List).

If an outbreak of a communicable disease occurs in a school setting, the site Administrator or the school nurse shall promptly inform staff members who are known to have special vulnerability to infection (see GBGCB-E2). The District does not assume any duty to notify an employee of health risks caused by the presence of a communicable disease in the school setting unless the at-risk employee has notified the District of the conditions when notification is needed.

Confidentiality and Privacy
The District shall make reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of staff members' medical conditions. All medical information relating to employees is confidential. The identity of a staff member who has a communicable disease and/or the nature of the communicable disease may be disclosed only to:

  • Staff members who must have such information to carry out their duties under this policy; or
  • Staff members or students (or their parents/guardians) who must have such information to protect themselves from direct threat to their health or safety.

Inquiries or concerns by staff members or others regarding communicable diseases or a staff member who is known or believed to have a communicable disease shall be directed to the site Administrator or the school nurse.

Universal Precautions
The District shall follow the "Universal Precautions Standard" set forth in Exhibit GBGCB-E to protect employees who are at risk of being exposed to blood and body fluids in the course of their work.

Food Service Workers
The District shall follow the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerning infectious and communicable diseases transmitted through the handling of food, and special precautions required for food services workers.

Current medical information indicates that HIV can be transmitted by sexual intercourse with the infected partner, by injection of infected blood products, and by transmission from an infected mother to her child in utero or during the birth process. None of the identified cases of HIV infection in the United States are known to have been transmitted in a school setting or through any other casual person-to-person contact. There is no evidence that HIV is spread by sneezing, coughing, shaking hands, hugging, or sharing toilets, food, water, or utensils. According to best medical knowledge and judgments, the use of the "universal precautions" and other procedures that implement this policy are sufficient to protect staff members and students from transmission of HIV at school.

Serious outbreaks of disease
In the event that a school has a serious outbreak of disease to the extent that a significant number of the staff is reported to be sick, to ensure the continued health of and the safety of the students, the District may cancel school for that day and the instructional day will be rescheduled at a later date. The Superintendent will establish procedures to ensure prompt notification to the public of the necessity of this action.

Adopted: April 8, 2008
Revised: December 12, 2012 (cross reference correction only)
Reviewed: May 28, 2013
Revised: July 11, 2023
Revised: June 4, 2024

LEGAL REF.: A.R.S. § 36-621, 36-624
A.A.C R9-6-202 et seq. (Reporting and Control Measures for Communicable Diseases)
29 U.S.C. 794 et seq. Rehabilitation Act, (Section 504)
42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. (Americans with Disabilities Act)
29 C.F.R. 1630.1 et seq. (ADA guidelines)
29.C.F.R. 1910.10 et seq. (OSHA Universal Precautions Standard)

CROSS REF: GBGC – Staff Health & Safety
GBGCA – Proof of Immunizations
JLCB – Immunizations of Students