OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY
1. Minimize the risk of students or employees acquiring or transmitting communicable diseases through an organized education program, which shall emphasize primary prevention.
2. Protect the confidentiality of students or employees with a communicable disease.
3. Provide for an annual review of the Communicable Disease Policy in light of current information.
4. Establish a Communicable Disease Committee, the purpose of which shall be to review any cases of communicable diseases that may be of public health concern as they arise.
GENERAL POLICY STATEMENT
South Plains College recognizes that students or employees with communicable diseases may wish to engage in as many of their normal pursuits as their condition and ability to perform their duties allows, including attending classes or working. As long as these students or employees 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, South Plains College has an obligation to provide a safe environment for all students and employees. A student or employee with a communicable disease is required to report the condition to his or her immediate supervisor or to the Student Services Office as appropriate. Failure to inform the college may result in dismissal of the student or employee from the college. Every precaution should be taken to ensure that student's or employee's condition does not present a health and/or safety threat to others. The fact that a student or employee has a communicable disease does not relieve that individual of the requirement to comply with performance standards as long as he or she is enrolled in classes or remains employed with the college. All reasonable efforts will be made to protect the student's or employees right to confidentiality.
The following general guidelines are adopted:
1. South Plains College will make information on the prevention of communicable diseases available to students and employees.
2. A student or employee's health condition is personal and confidential, and reasonable precautions should be taken to protect information regarding an individual's health condition. The Student Services Office should be contacted if it is believed that students need information about communicable diseases, or if further guidance is needed in managing a situation that involves a communicable disease. The appropriate Dean should be contacted for any situation involving a communicable disease.
3. The Dean and the Student Services Office should be contacted if there is concern about the possible contagious nature of any student's or employee's illness.
4. A student or employee with a communicable disease should be encouraged to provide current reports from his or her treating physician concerning the individual's condition, whether the student or employee should be in contact with other students or employees, and if current health status permits him or her to attend classes or to perform the essential functions of his or her job. South Plains College reserves the right, with the consent of the student or employee, to require a medical examination by a physician appointed by the college.
5. A student or employee with a communicable disease may attend classes or perform duties at South Plains College. If his or her presence does not pose a threat or danger to that individual or to others in the college, or to the academic process.
6. Temporary removal of a student or employee with a communicable disease may be made by the administration of the college. The removal may be made summarily pending receipt of documentation by a physician that the individual does not pose a substantial threat or danger to himself or herself or other persons at South Plains College.
7. The administration of South Plains College will determine whether a student or employee with a communicable disease may continue to attend classes or perform his or her duties at the college on a case-by-case basis, after hearing the recommendations of the Communicable Disease Committee.
8. Due process, including the issuance of recommendation by the Communicable Disease Committee, shall be afforded the individual.
9. Students or employees with communicable disease should be encouraged to seek assistance from established community support groups for medical treatment and counseling services. Information can be requested from the Student Services Office.
10. Any student or employee coming in contact with another person's body fluids should be encouraged to seek assistance from established institutional medical personnel or private medical facilities. As a minimum the individual should report to the Student Health Office.
ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR ALLIED HEALTH PROGRAM STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES
DEFINTION OF OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE
For purposes of this document, a student/instructor exposure (i.e., exposure that occurs during the performance of job duties) that may place a worker at risk of HBV or HIV infection is defined as some percutaneous injury (e.g., a needle stick or cut with a sharp object, especially when the exposed skin is chapped, abraded, or afflicted with dermatitis, or the contact is prolonged or involving and extensive area), with blood, tissue, or other body fluids to which universal precautions apply, including semen, vaginal secretions, blood or serum, urine, feces, vomitus, wound or tube drainage (tears and perspiration do NOT constitute an exposure). Human bites, patient nails that break the skin, and blood/body fluid exposed to mucous membrane such as eyes, mouth, nose, or open skin are considered exposures.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
1. Students/Instructors who are exposed to blood or body fluids by any route must report applicable to the instructor, supervisor or charge nurse and infection control nurse immediately. In addition, an occurrence report must be prepared and a copy given to the director of Allied Health at South Plains College. All records, documents and interactions resulting from the implementation of the plan of treatment for an exposed student/instructor will be afforded all confidentiality required by law.
2. The student/instructor should report the following routes of exposure:
A. A contaminated (dirty) needle stick or puncture of the skin with a needle or sharp
instrument/object soiled with blood or body fluids.
B. Splash or aerosolization of blood or body fluids onto the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes.
C. Human bite.
D. Open wound that is soiled with blood or body fluids.
E. Non-protected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
3. It is the policy of South Plains College Allied Health Department that all students/instructors provide written proof of immunizations against Rubeola, Rubella, Mumps, Tetanus, and Hepatitis B. A PPD Manuoux test is also required on a yearly basis.
4. Students/Instructors should determine if the needle was clean or dirty. A clean needle is one that has NOT met blood or body fluids. The Allied Health Department requires tetanus boosters; therefore the only treatment would be to cleanse the wound with an antiseptic and cover with a dressing if needed.
A dirty needle is a needle that has been in contact with blood or body fluids or a patient’s used equipment such as a piggyback needle from the intravenous tubing or a needle used for an injection or an intravenous sty let needle. If student/instructor is exposed to a contaminated (dirty) needle/sharp, they must report the occurrence as soon as possible so the appropriate treatment can be taken. Reporting the injury promptly would also document the occurrence as an occupational exposure and would be evidence of how the student/faculty was infected if the student/instructor seroconverted later.
5. The student/instructor should follow the exposure policy and procedure of the clinical facility where the exposure occurred. Usually, the student/instructor will report to the emergency room for initiation of treatment.
6. The following steps outline recommended treatment for occupational exposure to blood or body fluids:
A. If the blood or body fluid source is known, the student/instructor can request
the patient/source be tested for Hepatitis B surface antigen and HIV antibodies.
B. Whether or not the source is known, the student/instructor should be tested for Hepatitis B and HIV antibodies. With this method, there will be baseline tests to compare with all future tests.
C. Counseling should be initiated concerning the treatment and the follow-up care that will be done. The student/instructor will learn about the risk of infection and follow-up laboratory testing
STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES
1. All Allied Health programs will be required to integrate an instructional unit on communicable diseases into their curricula, and students will be required to complete the unit before they may be assigned to clinical training facilities. The unit should emphasize primary prevention and precautionary measures for the protection of staff, students, and their patients as outlined in current Center for Disease Control guidelines. The instructor and each student in the program will sign a certification statement that such training has been successfully completed and the student understands the risk involved in caring for patients with communicable diseases before the student begins clinical training.
2. Students and employees of the college should routinely follow precautionary measures for the protection of themselves and patients as outlined in current Center for Disease Control guidelines.
3. A student or employee with a communicable disease should provide current reports from his or her treating physician concerning whether the student or employee should be in contact with patients, and whether he or she can perform the functions of his or her job or training site without exposing patients or other students or employees to an unreasonable risk in light of current medical knowledge.
4. Students placed in a clinical affiliate are expected to follow the affiliate's guidelines governing caring for patients with communicable disease provided that the care is within the student's level of training and consistent with the Center for Disease Control guidelines. The supervising staff in clinical affiliates should see that students assigned to the affiliate are familiar with the health status of all patients under the students' care.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE REVIEW COMMITTEE
A Communicable Disease Committee is to be established, and will be composed of a physician appointed by the college, a public health official, administrative representatives of South Plains College, and one or more representatives from South Plains College health care programs. The individual who has a communicable disease and his or her representatives, which may include a physician appointed by the individual, are encouraged to consult with the committee.
The purpose of the Communicable Disease Committee shall be to review any case of communicable disease that may be of public health concern on a continuing basis. The committee will issue recommendations to the administration on the individual's potential threat or danger to himself or herself and others in South Plains College or its clinical affiliates. Final disposition and action rests solely with the Board of Regents of South Plains College or its designated representatives.
When considering recommending the dismissal of a student or the discharge of an employee with a communicable disease, the Committee will consider the interests of the affected individual, other students and employees, patients in clinical affiliates, and the college.