Chapter III: Administration

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3.03: Communication (22.1-253.12)

This policy is established in compliance with the Standards of Quality for Public Schools in Virginia and is an expression of the board's commitment to maintain an efficient and effective procedure for communications between employees, the board, and its administrative staff.

Sound management principles dictate that the superintendent establish a system of communication which provides all employees the opportunity to voice their concerns and receive responses regarding the policies, rules, regulations, and conditions of employment. Such a system of communication shall provide for periodic meetings throughout the school year between representatives elected each year by the employees and the superintendent or designee. Written summaries of these meetings will be prepared by the administration and made available to the employees, administration, and the board.

Nothing in this policy will be construed to limit the authority of the board to make the final decision on all matters of school policy, or to deny any employee, or group of employees, the right to be heard by the board. The procedure established by the superintendent will not prohibit the employees or other groups from submitting recommendations to the board or the administration as deemed desirable or necessary.

System of Communication

The following procedures have been used in the past and are hereby adopted as policy by the Smyth County School Board to ensure a complete and open system of communication between the Smyth County School Board and the Smyth County school employees.

  1. The Smyth County School Board will meet with individual employees, committees, and groups of employees in order to receive their views and concerns.
  2. Principals and staff will meet with employees to discuss matters of concern.
  3. Each school principal will conduct surveys of the faculty and staff to secure suggestions and opinions on school matters.
  4. Members of the central office staff will meet as necessary with the executive committee of the local education association.
  5. Each employee will be provided a copy of school board policy decisions on matters of concern to them.
  6. News releases of school board actions will be published in the local newspapers after each meeting.
  7. School bulletins and newsletters concerning matters of importance to teachers and other employees will be published and distributed regularly.
  8. The school board will give careful and thoughtful consideration to all aspects of any matter and will attempt to reach conclusions or decisions satisfactory to all parties.
  9. A Superintendent's Advisory Committee shall be elected each year by the employees. (One representative for each twenty employees or major fraction). There shall be periodic meetings throughout the school year between these representatives and the superintendent or designee.

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3.06: Length of Term (22.1-98)

The length of the school term in Smyth County shall be 180 teaching days in each school year.

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3.10: Emergency Closing

Extreme inclement weather or hazardous driving conditions and/or other emergencies may deem it necessary for the superintendent to cancel the operation of schools for one or more days. The superintendent will consult with the local highway department, police, principals, and other appropriate authorities before making the decision to close schools. When such a decision is made, local radio stations and area television stations will be notified and requested to make periodic announcements. Each school principal is responsible for implementing a plan to notify appropriate school personnel. Schools will operate according to the official calendar unless an announcement is made to close schools. The Smyth County School Board will determine those changes in the official school calendar necessitated by school closings.

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3.13: Use of Buildings and Grounds (22.1-131, 22.1-132)

School facilities in Smyth County exist for the purpose of educational opportunities for public school children and no other use of the schools shall be permitted which interferes with this purpose. However, the school board does encourage the citizens of Smyth County to make appropriate use of the school facilities providing such use does not conflict with the education program. The board also encourages the use of school facilities by local organizations involved in civic, educational, and other similar endeavors. School facilities shall not be used for religious services or for meetings on controversial issues if such services or meetings are determined to be detrimental to school and community relations.

Applications for use of school facilities shall be made to the respective principal as far in advance as possible. The application must state the name of the group or organization requesting such facilities, the purpose to be served by such use, the nature of the meeting or function, and the date and time of such meeting or function. If the principal approves the application and satisfactory arrangements can be made, he/she shall notify the superintendent of schools accordingly. If there are any doubts as to whether the application shall be approved, the principal shall discuss the matter with the superintendent of schools prior to a decision being made on the approval or rejection of such application.

Charges and/or fees for use of school facilities shall not be designed to limit or prohibit use, but to prevent the inappropriate expenditure of public funds. Charges and/or fees shall be based upon the actual cost incurred by the school system in permitting the use of school facilities.

3.14: Use of Facilities - General Liability Coverage

Organized groups such as clubs or recreation departments using school facilities on a regular basis should provide general liability coverage for limits no less than those carried by the Smyth County School Board. All such organizations should submit a current certificate of insurance be maintained on file.

Organized groups holding special events on school property shall be required to submit a certificate of insurance indicating general liability coverage for limits no less than those carried by the Smyth County School Board. Such certificate must be filed with the appropriate school principal at least two weeks prior to the date of the scheduled activity.

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3.18: Eye Safety

All Smyth County students, board personnel, and visitors participating in any of the following courses shall be required to wear industrial quality eye protective devices at all times.

    Vocational or industrial arts shops or laboratories involving experience with:
    1. Hot molten metals:
    2. Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding, or stamping of any solid materials;
    3. Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;
    4. Gas or electric arc welding;
    5. Repair of any vehicle; or
    6. Caustic or explosive materials.
  1. Chemical or combined chemical-physical laboratories involving caustic or explosive chemicals or hot liquids or solids. The school board shall provide required eye protective devices at public expense. For the purpose of this policy section, industrial quality eye protective devices shall mean devices providing side protection and meeting the standards of the American Standards Association Safety Code for Head, Eye, and Respiratory Protection, 22.1-1959, promulgated by the American Standards Association, Inc. (1966, C. 69.)

3.19: Hazard Communication Program (Virginia Safety and Health Codes SIC 20-39)

Smyth County Public Schools Hazard Communication Program operations manual is available in the offices of principals and designees for review by any interested party. Material Safety Data sheets for all hazardous chemicals to which building occupants may be exposed will be kept with the operations manual.

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3.22: Selling, Soliciting, Advertising

Selling, soliciting, or advertising on school grounds and/or at any other place where the business of the school board is conducted, without the express written permission of the superintendent of schools or other authorized school board office personnel, and without the knowledge of appropriate school administrators, is prohibited. Any such selling, soliciting, or advertising, once approved, must be conducted before or after normal working hours and must not interfere with the educational process or the work of school board employees.

Any materials to be distributed must first be approved by the superintendent's office, and distributed only by the school principal or site supervisor, or other designated employee.

All selling, soliciting, or advertising conducted on school grounds must be monetarily advantageous for students and the school operation in general. Individuals or companies involved in selling and soliciting of products that profit the seller and/or company will pay the school a fee of $25.00 per visit, or will provide compensation comparable to this amount through products, services, etc. The acceptance of any benefit as payment other than the $25.00 fee will be left to the discretion of the building principal or designee. Also, any additional building charges that may be incurred due to the selling, soliciting, or advertising will be paid by the seller and/or company. Non-profit organization fundraisers and or collections will be left to the discretion of the building principal or designee. Fundraisers conducted by the school for the benefit of the school/school clubs and athletic teams/and or students are exempt from the $25.00 fee.

All individuals/companies/organizations (profit and non-profit) must have a "Permission to Sell, Solicit, and Advertise Form" approved by the superintendent on file before building visitation. A master list containing the name of approved individuals/companies/organizations will be updated periodically and e-mailed to principals. The building principal reserves the right to deny any approved parties access to his/her building.

Any rewards given to students for participation in sales activities are to be of a monetary (real/actual) value, not of a special privilege nature.

Any individual, company, or agency violating this policy may be banned from selling, soliciting, or advertising on school grounds.

3.23: Marketing of Products/Insurance Plans/Investment Options

The policy of the Smyth County School Board concerning the addition of payroll deduction plans is set for the convenience and savings of employees and for the reasonable and efficient management by the administrative staff and payroll office.

The School Board authorizes payroll deduction for insurance, tax sheltered annuities, and other employee benefit services, if twenty or more employees opt for any of one or more plans marketed by any licensed agent/agency, provided that one common remittance is submitted, and it is demonstrated that fiduciary safeguards are in place if a common remittance is made to other than an insurance carrier.

On October 1 of each year, enrollment under each common remittance will be reviewed. If the number of employees enrolled is less than twenty (20), marketing representatives will be notified that unless at least twenty (20) employees are enrolled by October 1 of the next year, payroll deductions for that plan will be terminated as of January 1 of the ensuing calendar year.

The Smyth County School Board does not recommend nor endorse any individual plan proposed for payroll deduction. This disclaimer must be displayed on all company information provided for school board employees in an enrollment campaign.

All marketing and/or promotional information which a company agent or marketing representative wishes to distribute to school board employees must be provided for review and approval to the superintendentís office no less than thirty (30) days prior to distribution. Upon written notification from the superintendentís office, school principals and site supervisors may distribute information to employees through internal mail.

Upon receipt of the express written permission of the superintendent of schools or other authorized school board office personnel, school principals and site supervisors may arrange for marketing representatives to meet with groups of employees, provided employee attendance is voluntary and any such meetings are held during other than normal working hours. Principals and site supervisors are required to take such steps as are necessary to preclude marketing representatives having access to school board employees during normal working hours.

Any individual, company, or agency violating this policy, the provisions of 3.22, Selling, Soliciting, Advertising, or 3.21, Visitors, may be banned by the school board from further marketing activities, and the school board may authorize the discontinuance of payroll deductions for plans marketed by the agent/agency in violation of school board policy.

3.24: Distribution of Outside Communications/Materials (Secs. 22.1-70, 22.1-78, 22.1-293(B-D))

Students and employees of the school division are to be protected from intrusions on their time by announcements, posters, bulletins, and communications of any kind from individuals and organizations not directly connected with the schools.

Communications to parents and other citizens sent home by students as a means of mass communication carry the implication of endorsement by school personnel and the school board. Such communications shall be carefully reviewed by the principal and/or superintendent before permission is granted for distribution.

The school board prohibits the distribution of materials or information which publicly endorses or supports groups, organizations, and individuals involved in a commercial endeavor for profit or political campaigns.

Materials shall be distributed or made available in the schools, or on school property at reasonable times and locations and shall be made in a reasonable manner as determined by the administrator at each school.

The principals and the superintendent are expected to interpret this policy strictly. Each principal is to review carefully requests to distribute materials, pamphlets, notices, and other communications; and if in doubt, shall seek permission from the superintendent of schools or his designated agent. If doubt exists at this level as to whether distribution should be made, permission shall be denied until disposition of the matter is made by the school board.

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3.26: Substance Abuse

Statement of Purpose

Schools are responsible for providing and maintaining an environment in which students are protected from drugs and drug-related activities. This environment must be conducive to wholesome living and effective learning. Schools are aiding and assisting parents in seeking a solution for this problem, but the parents have the first and ultimate responsibility for governing the actions of their children.

Reporting Substance Abuse by Teachers and Staff

All teachers and other staff members shall be responsible for reporting to the principal any evidence of substance abuse. Immunity from liability for school personnel who investigate or report drug abuse is provided in section 8.01-47 of the Code of Virginia. When a teacher or staff member suspects the misuse of drugs because of a student's behavior or marked difference in his daily functioning, the principal shall be notified.

Faculty Briefing on Drug Abuse Policy

Each school faculty shall be briefed on the problem of substance abuse and the implementation of this policy.

Personnel Responsibility

It is expected that all teachers and employees of Smyth County schools convey by their actions and teachings, that they do not condone or encourage substance abuse by students. The result of any proven illegal action relative to substance abuse by any Smyth County School Board employee will be grounds for immediate dismissal.

Publications

Any publication or other printed matter which advocates the illegal use of drugs or portrays the use of drugs as acceptable behavior are prohibited from distribution on school property.

Monitoring School Buildings and Grounds

Principals and such staff members as the principal may designate shall routinely monitor all areas of buildings and grounds, including parking lots, and any adjacent areas. Any trespassing or other suspicious activity shall be reported to law enforcement authorities.

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3.28: Displaying the Flags (22.1-133, 22.1-202)

It shall be the duty of the principal of each school to ensure the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia are flown from the flagstaff or pole during school hours of each day in the year, except upon such days as injury to the flag would be likely due to inclement weather conditions.

3.29: Communicable Disease Policy

The school board is committed to providing a healthful environment for all students and employees. In fulfilling that commitment, the school board recognizes its responsibility to protect the health of its students and employees as well as to uphold their individual rights. The school board, in compliance with Virginia Code 22.1-272, shall exclude from school or work any person with an infectious or communicable disease. Persons with transmittable diseases will also be excluded.

Such exclusion shall be contingent upon an evaluation of each case. The evaluation of each case will be conducted in accordance with administrative regulations and shall include a written statement from the student's or employee's physician, from a physician chosen by the division and from a physician from the local health department that the individual undergoing evaluation does or does not have an infectious, communicable or transmittable disease.

If the evaluation indicates that the individual cannot be returned to his or her regular assignment, an alternative assignment may be considered.

All parties involved shall respect the rights of the individual regarding confidentiality and their rights to privacy as defined in P.L. 93-380.

The school board believes it has a responsibility to fully investigate the consequences of admitting or excluding an individual with an infectious, communicable or transmittable disease and, as new facts from leading authorities become known, shall re-examine the above policy.

Attachments A, B, and C further define this policy and provide guidelines in reference to the communicable disease policy.

ATTACHMENT A: Administrative Regulation Communicable Disease

The following procedures have been developed as a guideline for school and departmental administrators who identify or suspect communicable disease in the school or work setting.

  1. Contact the public health department to obtain guidance and to assist in making decisions regarding exclusion.
  2. If it is the judgment of the public health department, after consultation with private physicians or other public health officials, that an infectious or communicable disease is present in the school division and that there is a significant risk of transmission thereof or that the risk of transmission is unknown, the administrator shall contact the superintendent and the student or employee will be excluded from school or the work place, until the Communicable Disease Review Panel is convened.
  3. The superintendent shall establish a Communicable Disease Review Panel consisting of a physician, a public health department representative, school nurse, visiting teacher, and a school division representative to review all pertinent information and make recommendations to the superintendent. The committee shall meet within fourteen (14) calendar days of being established.

    Persons contributing information to the panel shall include the attending physician, principal, teacher(s) and parents of the student. In the case of an employee, contributing persons include attending physician, immediate supervisor and employee.

  4. A medical evaluation of the student or employee shall be obtained and the results submitted to the school division, for use by the panel in making its recommendations.
  5. The panel will meet and review all pertinent information and make recommendations to the superintendent within five (5) school days following the exclusion of the affected student or employee. The recommendation shall include, but not be limited to, review of a timetable regarding future school presence.
  6. Within five (5) school days following his receipt of the report of the panel, the superintendent shall notify the affected employee or the parents of the affected student of the decision to re-admit or to continue to exclude such employee or student from the school or workplace.
  7. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the superintendent may appeal to the school board. The request for such an appeal must be submitted to the division superintendent in writing within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the superintendent's decision. Failure to request an appeal within the specified time will constitute a waiver of the right to an appeal to the school board.
  8. Confidentiality and the right to privacy regarding the affected student or employee will be maintained by all persons involved.
  9. Communication regarding students or employees suspected of or diagnosed as having infectious, communicable, or transmittable diseases shall be through the office of the superintendent.
  10. The school board shall re-examine the regulations and policies as new facts become known.

ATTACHMENT B: Communicable Disease Policy Supplement - AIDS

  1. The names of school employees who are identified as infected with the AIDS virus (HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus) should be brought to the confidential attention of the superintendent.
  2. The superintendent will convene the Communicable Disease Review Panel as soon as possible for recommendations on school admission or work setting.
  3. Employees under review by the panel will be placed on sick leave pending the superintendent's decision on an acceptable work setting.
  4. The decision of the superintendent may be appealed to the school board by the infected school employee.
  5. All decisions regarding employee work status should be reviewed monthly or sooner as changing medical conditions may warrant.
  6. Current information on the AIDS disease will be provided to all school employees, and it will be updated as needed as new facts become known.
  7. Each school will be aware of and will utilize safe, standard hygienic procedures in cleaning up blood or other body fluid spills that occur in school or occur during periods of school supervision (sporting events, field trips, school dances, etc.).
  8. All spills of blood or other body fluids will be considered potentially infectious regardless of whether students or employees with HIV infection are present. Latex gloves, soap, disinfectant, disposable paper towels, and leak-proof bags will be readily accessible in all schools and should be employed by any staff coming in contact with spills of body fluids such as blood, urine, or feces. All staff should be familiar with routine hygienic practices to prevent the transmission of infectious disease via contaminated body secretions.
  9. An HIV-infected employee initially approved for school attendance may have to be excluded for their own safety should certain infectious diseases such as chickenpox or measles be occurring in the school setting. Monitoring of school infectious diseases occurs normally and any exclusions should be discussed with the HIV-infected individual's personal physician.
  10. The employee's right to privacy and the confidentiality of all medical records will be strictly maintained.

Attachment C: School Attendance for Children with Human Immunodeficiency Virus - Policy

The Smyth County Public School Division will work cooperatively with the Smyth County Health Department to ensure compliance with Virginia Code 22.1-271.3 for school attendance of children infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

  1. Students are expected to be in compliance with an immunization schedule (Article 2, 22.1-271.2); however, some required immunizations may be harmful to the health of the student who is HIV infected or has AIDS. Students who are HIV infected or have AIDS may get an exemption from complying with the requirements (Virginia Code 22.1-271.2C). School personnel will cooperate with public health personnel in completing and coordinating immunization data, exemptions, and exclusions, including immunization forms.
  2. Mandatory screening for HIV infection is not warranted as a condition for school entry. Upon learning a student is HIV-infected or has AIDS, the superintendent will consult with the individualís family and physician or a health official from the local health department to determine whether the student is well enough to stay in school. Since it is known that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact, any student who is HIV-infected will continue education in a regular classroom assignment unless the health status interferes significantly with performance. If a change in the student's program is necessary, the superintendent or designee, family, and physician or health official will develop an individual plan which is medically, legally, and educationally sound. If the HIV student is receiving special education services, the services will be in agreement with established policies.
  3. Parents/guardians may appeal decisions for restriction or exclusion as determined by the school divisionís established procedures.
  4. All persons privileged with any medical information about HIV infected students shall be required to treat all proceedings, discussions, and documents as confidential information. Individuals will be informed of the situation on a ďNeed to KnowĒ basis with written consent of the parent/guardian.
  5. Universal precautions for handling blood will be implemented within the school setting and on buses. To ensure implementation of the proper standard operating procedures for all body fluids, the guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health will be followed. In-service training will be provided to all school personnel. Training will include local division policies; etiology, transmission, prevention, and risk reduction of HIV; standard operating procedures for handling blood and body fluids; and community resources available for information and referral. Periodic updates will be supplied through in-service or memoranda.
  6. Comprehensive and age-appropriate instruction on the principal modes by which HIV is spread and the best methods for the reduction and prevention of AIDS are required to encourage the support and protection of the HIV infected student. To enhance school attendance, the school division will collaborate with public and private organizations in the provision of support services to HIV infected students.
  7. Reference: Code of Virginia 22.1-271.3. Guidelines for school attendance for children infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

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