Communication Protocol for Contagious Diseases
In accordance with School Board Policy 5012, if a school board employee has reason to believe that a student or employee has a communicable disease (Except HIV/AIDS, refer to HIV Policy), he/she shall immediately report the information to his or her principal or designee.
The purpose of this protocol is to establish a clearly defined set of steps to be instituted upon the initial report of any and all contagious disease cases involving students and/or employees of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). The protocol involves both internal and external notifications and communications specifically related to these incidents, including coordination with the Broward County Department of Health. The aim of this protocol is to facilitate notifications of select internal and external individuals and groups about specific contagious disease-related incidents, while safeguarding personal identification information pertaining to individual cases. The protocol is as follows:
- Case/incident involving a contagious disease or condition related to BCPS surfaces.
- Case/incident is immediately reported to the Coordinated Student Health Services Department by the individual/group/agency that initially comes into knowledge of the case.
- Coordinated Student Health Services Department immediately reports the incident to the Executive Director, Superintendent, Area Superintendent (as appropriate), and the Broward County Department of Health (unless the incident is reported to BCPS by the Health Department). Note: Only need-to-know information should be included in these communiqués. All efforts should be undertaken to limit specific information such as age, gender, demographics, or status of the medical condition about individual cases to protect identification and confidentiality of the involved student and/or employee.
- Public Relations and Governmental Affairs will provide communications support and counsel to the administrators of the school or area associated with the incident, including but not necessarily limited to the principal, guidance counselor and the Coordinated Student Health Services Department. This communications support will be provided in close collaboration with the Coordinated Student Health Services Department and the Broward County Department of Health. Public Relations and Governmental Affairs will handle any and all media relations inquiries related to specific school district-related incidents, while deferring inquiries about the nature and mitigation of the specific disease or condition to the Broward County Department of Health.
In instances where the case is associated with a school, Public Relations and Governmental Affairs, in collaboration with Coordinated Student Health Services Department, will assist the principal and/or his/her designee with communications to students, parents and staff about the situation, including letters, Parent Link messages and flyers, as needed.
It is important that communications related to specific contagious disease or condition cases be carried out swiftly, in a coordinated fashion with the Broward County Department of Health. Communications with an emphasis on providing accurate information mitigates fear and speculation and, at the same time, protects the identity of the involved student and/or employee. Regarding the latter, in most instances specific information relating to age, gender and grade level will not be included in external and internal communications about specific cases or released to the news media.