Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Student Privacy

Good morning and welcome to the world where another virus with a scientific name is sweeping across the country and New York State. Yesterday I sent a letter home indicating that a child in our school community had been diagnosed with said virus. I came to learn shortly after the letter went home that a second confirmed case had been detected.

A virus can be picked up in a variety of ways. The most common include coughing, sneezing, or touching a contaminated surface. People cough, sneeze, and touch contaminated surfaces at the grocery store, church, home, school, the mall, sporting events, etc.

When we first sent our letter home, we were questioned by some as to why we would not identify the buildings the children attended or what grade level they were in. You know me as the person who communicates everything that I can. When I wrote the letter, I made sure to have a conversation with our legal counsel who is much more versed in student privacy than I am. They indicated that it would be best to stay away from any identifying information that might help to personally identify a child because they have a right to privacy.

I agree with this approach considering a virus can be picked up virtually anywhere.  We teach our students and staff about hand washing, proper ways to blow noses, sharing food and drink with others, and so on. We are also fortunate that our Director of Buildings and Grounds came from a hospital environment. He and his staff thoroughly clean and sanitize surfaces whether there is a virus going around or not.

This virus will pass through our school community just as others have, and we will remain vigilant with our cleaning and teaching of healthy habits along the way.

I have heard from many parents that "they" have determined that their child has or doesn't have the virus. I would advise against playing doctor. If your child has symptoms that are similar but more pronounced than the common cold, please get them to a doctor so they can be tested.  A positive test does not mean exile.  It means that your doctor can prescribe a treatment plan that will get your youngster back to health, school, and regular activities as soon as possible.

Thanks for your continued support.