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Hempfield offers free TB tests for school volunteers

By Michele Stewardson
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

Hempfield Area School District, which has adopted a new policy requiring all volunteers to obtain background clearances and a tuberculosis test, will offer free tests on Monday.

The deadline for all clearances is Feb 22. After that cut-off, volunteers will be unable to serve until all requirements are met.

Volunteers must now obtain a:

• Act 151 child abuse history clearance;

• Act 34 criminal history report from state police;

• Act 114 FBI clearance if a person has worked outside of Pennsylvania and is applying to be a volunteer coach or field trip chaperone;

• TB test.

On Monday, school nurses will administer TB tests for volunteers 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Stanwood Elementary School, 255 Arona Road, New Stanton, and West Point Elementary School, 533 St. Andrews Drive.

“This is something we're doing for our volunteers to make it easier for them,” said Barbara Marin, assistant superintendent for elementary education. “If they choose to go to their own physician to get one they will have to do it at their own cost.”

The district will use the Mantoux tuberculin skin test, according to its website, where a permission form to administer the test can be found at www.hasdpa.net.

A small amount of the testing material is placed just under the top layer of skin on the inside of a person's forearm with a small needle and syringe. The needle feels like a slight pinprick.

Two or three days later, the skin test reaction must be read by the school nurse.

The test cannot be given to a person with:

• illness; a temperature greater than 100 degrees.

• a severe skin rash.

• a viral infection, especially measles, mumps, chickenpox or an immunization with a live virus within one month for measles, mumps, rubella, oral polio or chickenpox.

• a weakened immune system.

• a regimen of corticosteroid or immunosuppressive agents.

• a history of cancer, AIDS or a nutrition deficiency.

District employees have always been required to receive TB tests.

“Seventy-five to 80percent of our volunteers already have had a TB test,” Marin said. “Our (policy) committee felt it wanted to be consistent and made it a requirement.”

The new policy applies to Parents in Education volunteers and Seniors Earning Rebates Volunteering in Schools, known as Servis volunteers, along with homeroom parents, volunteers who help with PTO fundraisers and chaperones at school dances.

It applies to independent volunteers, such as chaperones at the prom and field trips or volunteer nurses, and volunteer coaches and sponsors, including athletic trainers or equipment managers, musicians or technical directors, and instructors for students in the marching band.

Excluded are visitors such as guest speakers and people attending student performances, academic induction ceremonies or athletic events.

People associated with booster clubs, such as volunteers at concession stands and for ticket sales, are also exempt.

“We held off on the TB tests (until now) to make sure people coming in had all of their clearances,” Dr. Marin said. “This is the last step in the process.”

Michele Stewardson is a freelance writer.

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