Outbreaks Of Infectious or Communicable Diseases
Due to the nature of college life, emergency actions/responses regarding infectious or communicable disease rely on prevention and identification/containment/control strategies.
All College personnel should consider the following prevention “rules of thumb”:
- Basic hygiene measures, like frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol based hand gel, especially after using the restroom or changing diapers, should be practiced at all times.
- If you are sick, do not go to work or class, and minimize your contact with others. Seek appropriate medical intervention early on to protect both yourself, and others around you.
- If you exhibit signs of respiratory infection, practice cough etiquette. This means, covering your mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing, and using tissues to contain respiratory secretions (followed by tissue disposal in a waste basket and hand washing).
- Employees who are sick should stay away from work and seek diagnosis/treatment through their medical health care provider. Students who are sick should report their conditions to the Student Health Center for diagnosis/evaluation. Any immediately threatening health condition (like chest pains, acutely severe headaches, etc.), should be reported to Campus Safety (ext 4000) for 1st aid assessment and potential ambulatory transportation to a local hospital.
- Outbreaks of acutely infectious/communicable diseases will be assessed by the Director of the Health Center, in accordance with local, state and federal health guidelines, and under direction of the contracted physician. While specific actions/responses the College will take once such a disease has been identified tend to be disease-specific, three different containment/control strategies will be followed:
- Actions involving sick/symptomatic persons include—diagnostic testing, treatment, isolation, ambulatory transportation to a local hospital, and disease reporting through public health authorities/channels.
- Actions involving those who have been in contact with sick/symptomatic persons include—diagnostic testing, medical monitoring/counseling, and treatment/isolation/ambulatory transportation as needed.
- Actions involving the greater College community, (those not in direct contact with sick/symptomatic persons) include—information sharing as to the nature of the disease outbreak and specific recommended preventative actions, medical monitoring/counseling, additional cleaning and disinfection of public spaces, and others as needed.
- Outbreaks of less acute infectious/communicable diseases (like Pandemic Influenza) will principally be managed in accordance with local, state and federal health guidelines. This may result in the temporary suspension of all College functions, buildings and facilities.
- While it is highly unlikely that building evacuations (as traditionally defined) would occur following an outbreak of infectious/communicable diseases, it is critical for all employees/students to stay informed as an emergency unfolds. College officials will disseminate critical information as it becomes available to safeguard the greater College community.