Contagious Disease Policy :: Northern Virginia Community College

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Contagious Disease Policy

Policy Number: 111

Categorized: General Policies

Responsible Office: Vice President of Finance and Administration

Subject: Prevention of the spread of communicable/contagious diseases

Related Policies:

Forms:

Additional Information: Emergency Management and Safety

Effective Date: 03/02/2015

Last Reviewed Date: 09/18/2017


1.0 Scope

The policy applies to all members of the College community, including students, employees, contractors, vendors and visitors.

2.0 Policy Statement

Northern Virginia Community College is committed to providing, to the extent possible, a healthy and safe educational environment for all students and employees (the “College community”). The purpose of this policy is to help prevent the spread of communicable/contagious diseases through measures that focus on safety, prevention and education. NOVA will make available to its College community information about the transmission of diseases and precautions that infected persons should take to prevent the spread of disease.

3.0 Definitions

Contagious disease of public health significance: an illness caused by a specific or suspected infectious agent that may be transmitted directly or indirectly from one individual to another.

Contagious disease: an infectious disease that is spread from person to person through casual contact or respiratory droplets, which may lead to an epidemic or pandemic situation and threaten the health of the campus community. These diseases include but are not limited to: tuberculosis (TB), measles or German measles (rubella), certain strains of hepatitis and meningitis, as well as SARS and certain strains of influenza. Other potentially less serious infectious diseases, such as chicken pox and pneumonia will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Epidemic: the occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness clearly in excess of normal expectancy.

4.0 Procedures

Persons who know or have reason to believe they are infected with a contagious disease should seek expert medical advice and are encouraged to advise local health authorities of a possible public health threat. They must follow the directions of local health authorities in order to prevent the spread of infection and to protect their own health. The Directors of Operations may serve as the points of contact between the health department and the college as it relates to the campuses. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) should be immediately made aware of any reported contagious diseases as reported by the health department or others. EHS will provide guidance and direction as necessary. All public communications as it pertains to Contagious Diseases must be approved by the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement through the Emergency Management and Safety, Director.

4.1. Students

  • Students who know or suspect they are infected with a contagious disease must notify the Dean of Students on their campus and/or their instructor(s).
  • The Deans of Students have the authority to send students home if they fail to follow the Dean’s instructions. This will be considered a violation of the student code of conduct and will result in disciplinary action.
  • Before returning to NOVA, students who have been diagnosed as having a contagious disease as listed above must present written documentation from his/her treating physician or primary care provider documenting that the individual is medically cleared (i.e., is no longer infectious to others) and is able to return as of a specified date. This information must be presented to the Dean of Students. All records regarding this medical information must remain confidential and be filed separately from all other general student records and/or personnel files.
  • Students are encouraged to stay in touch with faculty regarding class assignments and progress as appropriate.

4.2. Employees

  • Employees who know they are infected with a contagious disease must notify their supervisor and Human Resources (Employee Services).
  • Before returning to NOVA, employees who have been diagnosed as having a contagious disease as listed above must present written documentation from his/her treating physician or primary care provider documenting that the individual is medically cleared (i.e., is no longer infectious to others) and is able to return to work as of a specified date. This information must be presented to Human Resources (Employee Services) and their supervisor.
  • As per NOVA policy, employees need to follow all policies and procedures pertaining to sick leave and supervisor notification with regard to their status.
  • Supervisors have the authority to send employees home if they do not comply with this policy. Employees will be charged sick or annual leave if sent home. Failure to follow a supervisor’s directive is considered insubordination and is subject to formal disciplinary action under the DHRM Standards of Conduct.
  • When the State Health Commissioner and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia declare a Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat as defined in Section 31.1-48.06, et. Sec. Code of Virginia, NOVA employees, as per DHRM Public Health Emergency Leave policy (policy 4.52), are permitted or required to attend to the medical needs of themselves and immediate family members and provided up to 80 hours of paid leave per leave year for this purpose.

4.3. College

  • Should any disease reach a pandemic stage, the College will monitor the situation by communicating with local and state health officials and review media sources in order to provide appropriate information to the College community. College officials may temporarily close the College or a campus, if such closure serves the best interest of the College community.
  • NOVA will inform the College community of plans to provide continuity of operations that will minimize educational and social disruption.
  • NOVA may require infected persons to isolate themselves from the College community until the danger of infection is no longer present.
  • NOVA will consult with local and state health officials to provide any specific instructions for individuals returning to the College following infection of a contagious disease.

4.4. Confidentiality

No person, group, agency, insurer, employer, or institution should be provided any medical information without the prior specific written consent of the student, employee, or other College community member unless required by state and/or federal law. Furthermore, all medical information relating to contagious diseases of students, employees, or other College community members will be kept confidential, according to applicable state and federal law. Medical information relating to contagious diseases of persons within the College community will only be disclosed to responsible college officials on a need-to-know basis.

4.5. Sanctions

  • Sanctions will be applied, as appropriate, through the NOVA Student Code of Conduct and applicable state and federal laws.
  • Employees who fail to follow all applicable NOVA, VCCS, and DHRM policies and procedures, and applicable state and federal laws may be subject to formal disciplinary action.

5.0 Authority

VCCS Policy 6.0.7.1 Contagious Diseases

Code of Virginia Section 32.1-48.01 et. Sec.

DHRM Policy 4.52 Public Health Emergency Leave

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