Confidentiality of public school students with H1N1?

At the public high school my wife and I work at they have been sending any kid home with a fever, many every day. A few of those those kids actually turn out to have H1N1, or swine flu. BUT due to “laws”, “policy”, or something else, the kids names must stay anonymous and nobody can ever know who has the sickness.

They said if a teacher ever got it, that would be different; but finally one did and they are keeping it under wraps anyways.

What do you all think about this? I can understand keeping it confidential if a student is pregnant, or has nail fungus or gum disease, those aren’t really super contagious and life threatening. But shouldn’t everybody know if a person has swine flu, just in case they shared a chapstick or sneezed on each other somehow? If they knew, maybe then they could get proper treatment and at least stay at home to prevent the spread of possible disease.

This is a small high school, about 300 students in all. Everybody knows everyone, so nothing really stays anonymous. Why not just put the info out there? I can’t imagine that there is a stigma with having H1N1- it’s like saying that elementary students with chicken pox will be labeled as sluts and drunks for the rest of their lives, so never mention who has chicken pox. If anything, knowing who has it may reduce the “outbreak”. Or is there a reason for keeping them a secret?

One thing that it does is keep the cranks calm. If you start releasing names, parents are going to start freaking out and keeping their kids home even when there is no reason whatsoever to do so.

Schools are very guarded about releasing any information about specific students. They’re all minors.

America is very guarded about releasing anyone’s personal health information. There are laws.

Health information about specific minors seems unfathomable to me.

I’m not your lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice.

I think the school may be protecting the student medical information as secret because of federal privacy laws, e.g., HIPAA and FERPA. Cite.

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