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Procedure 8-3: Communicable Disease

Introduction

The following procedures involve the college’s response to a communicable disease incident involving a student, employee, or other individual who attends a college function, event, program, activity, or meeting.

San Jacinto College recognizes that students, employees, and other individuals with communicable diseases may wish to engage in as many of their regular pursuits as their condition and ability to perform their duties allows, including attending classes or working. As long as these individuals are able to meet acceptable performance standards, and medical evidence indicates that their conditions are not a threat to themselves or others, the Administration of the college should be sensitive to their condition and ensure that they are treated consistently and equally with other students and employees. At the same time, San Jacinto College has an obligation to provide a safe environment for all students, employees, and others.

Procedure

  1. These administrative procedures apply to all communicable diseases listed on the NOTIFIABLE CONDITIONS list.  If an individual has, or suspects that he or she has, a communicable disease, they should consult with their physician to receive reporting requirements.  If instructed by their physician the individual should  immediately report the matter to one of the following college officials:
    1. Dean of Student Development (for students)
    2. Director of Benefits (for employees)
    3. Director of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM), or
    4. Director of Emergency Management (contractors and vendors).

These individuals may provide information, education, counseling, and testing referrals.

  1. As a general rule, those individuals who are diagnosed with a communicable disease and who have been cleared by a physician not to be infectious to others, will be permitted to attend classes/work and utilize college facilities in an unrestricted manner.
  2. Each case will be handled on an individual basis with the input of the Health Response Team (HRT).  The HRT may consist of the following college roles:  Dean of Student Development, Director of SHERM, Director of Emergency Management, Director of Employee Relations, the individual, the individual’s private physician, and/or appropriate personnel of the local health jurisdiction. The Director of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management is the chair and responsible for gathering the input of this group. The input of the HRT shall be used to consider whether the individual diagnosed with a communicable disease might pose a risk of transmission to others in the classroom and/or college setting. Each case shall be reevaluated at reasonable intervals, so long as the individual has a communicable disease and remains enrolled or employed or continues to perform service for the college.
  3. A student, employee or other individual (including an independent contractor) who has a communicable disease and who desires to participate in college activities should be encouraged to provide current reports from his or her treating physician concerning their condition, whether they should be in contact with others, and if current health status permits him or her to attend classes or college functions, or perform the essential functions of his or her job.  San Jacinto College reserves the right to require a medical examination of an employee by a physician appointed by the college to determine fitness for duty and to ensure that the illness does not pose a direct threat to others.
  4. If a HRT member receives information from any source that an individual has a communicable disease, they are to immediately report the information to the Director of SHERM.
  5. The Director of SHERM shall contact the individual to confirm the accuracy of the information.
  6. The Director of SHERM will convene the HRT to review the incident and develop an action plan.
  7. Should any disease reach an epidemic or pandemic state, the college will monitor the situation by communicating with local and/or state health officials in order to provide appropriate information to the college community and develop plans to minimize exposure which may include the temporary closure of facilities or campuses if, after consulting with local and/or state health officials, such closures are in the best interest of the college and community.
  8. An individual’s health condition is personal and confidential, and reasonable precautions should be taken to protect information regarding an individual's health condition.  All college personnel will respect the medical privacy rights of all individuals and shall comply with all laws regulating the confidentiality of medical information, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and the Texas Health & Safety Code.  Information shall not be shared, published, or redisclosed except as permitted by law.
  9. The HRT shall monitor the medical status of all individuals identified as having a communicable disease. Changes in the individual’s medical status may warrant re-evaluation of the HRT’s previous recommendations and/or consultation with medical personnel. These circumstances will be reviewed on a case by case basis and will serve to provide the protection of the individual and the college population.
  10. The Director of SHERM shall serve as the point of contact between local and state health jurisdiction and the college as it relates to the campuses and shall expeditiously make local health jurisdiction aware of any contagious diseases as allowed or required by law.
  11. Recommendations for notification and decontamination will be provided by the local health jurisdiction.  The college will comply with these recommendations.
  12. Revisions and/or updates to the policy and/or procedures must be reviewed and approved by the HRT.
  13. Students and employees in allied health programs are subject to additional requirements in the event of exposure to a communicable disease.  These protocols are maintained at the department level.

Procedure #:

 8-3

Procedure Name:

 Communicable Disease

Pages:

 3

Adopted Date:

 February 3, 1992

Revision/Reviewed Date:

 February 5, 2016

Effective Date:

 March 8, 2016

Associated Policy:

 IV-B-4