Sunday, November 30, 2014

Making Sure North Carolina Teachers Didn't Have Tuberculosis, 1919

When I started teaching school in 1970, teachers had to be screened for tuberculosis. This was a new practice in 1919. Requiring screening for TB was a new practice, begun in 1919. From the November, 1919, issue of The Health Bulletin, published by the North Carolina State Board of Health

Taking effect October 1, 1919, the law now requires a teacher to file with the county superintendent of schools a health certificate stating freedom from tuberculosis or other contagious disease. Below we are publishing the proper form upon which this certificate may be written. The signature of any reputable physician should be accepted by the superintendent. In preparing the form to be used we have not undertaken to prescribe how a physician may reach his conclusions, but properly leave that for each physician to decide for himself. The law requires that when a teacher presents himself or herself to the county physician or county health officer, whether a whole-time official or not, he must make the examination without charge to the teacher. This is fair because the law is primarily devised to protect the public. The Attorney-General has ruled that the county commissioners must provide the compensation to be paid the county physician for the work, when not a whole-time official, and if not covered in the regular contract to perform the duties of county physician. Of course, when a teacher prefers the examination by a private physician the compensation is a matter entirely between the teacher and the physician.

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