Communicable Disease Policy

Definition

Communicable disease is defined as “an illness due to an infectious agent or its toxic products which is transmitted directly or indirectly to a person from an infected person or animal through the agency of an intermediate animal, host, or vector, or through the inanimate environment.” (NC G.S. 130A-2 Page 1 § 130A-2) Communicable diseases include but are not limited to: influenza; chicken pox; measles; tuberculosis; conjunctivitis; infectious mononucleosis; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); Hepatitis A, B, C, and D; meningitis; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); and Hemorrhagic Fevers (including Ebola). Communicable diseases can be categorized according to how they are transmitted:

  • Class A Communicable Diseases – can be transmitted through casual contact
    • Examples: influenza, tuberculosis, conjunctivitis, infectious mononucleosis, meningitis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, COVID-19
  • Class B Communicable Diseases – are transmitted through exposure to blood or bodily fluids
    • Examples: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis B or C, Hemorrhagic Fevers (including Ebola)

Purpose

Alamance Community College (ACC) recognizes that certain communicable diseases can have serious implications on the health and safety of all students and employees. The college does not discriminate, in policy or practice, against persons infected with a communicable disease. However, ACC does expect that individuals who have been exposed to or have symptoms of a communicable disease conduct themselves in an ethical and legal manner in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Alamance County Health Department policies and, in the event of a determined pandemic level, in accordance with applicable governmental directives and orders, emergency or otherwise.

Policy

Individuals exposed to or infected with a communicable disease are expected to seek prompt expert medical advice and implement recommended treatment in accordance with the policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Alamance County Health Department. Individuals exposed to or determined to be infected with Class A Communicable Diseases are encouraged to advise ACC of their medical status circumstances by notifying their course instructors or campus employers as appropriate, and providing documentation if requested. Instructors and campus employers will consult the Director of Public Safety for advice or instructions as needed. Individuals exposed to or infected with Class B Communicable Diseases are expected to advise ACC of their medical status and treatment so that the College can respond appropriately to their needs on a case by case basis. Written documentation may be required. Upon diagnosis, students should immediately contact the Vice President for Student Success or the Coordinator of Disability Services. Employees shall immediately contact the Director of Human Resources.

Information relating to the communicable disease of a student/employee/contracted employee of ACC will be disclosed only to responsible college officials on a strictly need-to-know basis and will be kept confidential in accordance with applicable governmental privacy and health regulations and subject to applicability, if any, of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and Americans with Disabilities Act. Unauthorized disclosure of an individual’s identity and medical information by an employee of ACC is prohibited. Violation of this prohibition may result in disciplinary action, including suspension from, or termination of an individual’s employment with ACC.

Persons determined to be infected with a Communicable Disease, who qualify as an individual with a disability pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, will not be excluded from participation in or denied benefits of ACC’s services, programs or educational activities or from employment unless individually based medical judgments indicate that exclusion from classes or other restricted activities, or work, is necessary for the health and safety of the individual or members of the college community.

ACC will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Alamance County Health Department standards for monitoring and tracking individuals with exposure to communicable diseases. ACC will refer symptomatic students or employees to an appropriate medical facility and require documentation from this medical facility stating that the student or employee is medically safe to return to the campus or engage in ACC programs. Decisions in individual cases that restrict access to employment or to educational programs/activities will be made by the Executive Vice President in consultation with the appropriate Vice President/Dean/ Director, and in consultation with the Director of Public Safety, local public health officials, and, if available, the individual’s physician/health care provider. As required by applicable law, ACC will endeavor to provide the individual with reasonable accommodation(s) given consideration as to the circumstances.

In public health and/or pandemic level communicable disease situations, the President will implement the College’s Emergency Response Plan and “Communicable Disease and Pandemic Threat Response Procedures.” Actions that may be taken by the President to prevent the spread of communicable disease include but are not limited to:

1. Modify campus-based instruction and/or College services to other delivery systems such as online.
2. Limit or prohibit employee travel and/or student field trips/site visits.
3. Close or limit access to certain College buildings or programs temporarily.
4. Prohibit those infected with a communicable disease from coming onto the College’s campuses or attending ACC sponsored functions or programs.
5. Control entry to campus facilities and screen visitors and community members for relevant symptoms and/or exposure.
6. Close the College temporarily.

ACC may require immunizations, prior to admission or employment, for specified communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, Class A Communicable Diseases. In lieu of proof of vaccination an individual may provide a licensed medical professional’s statement of
immunity or of contraindication to a vaccine; a lab blood test/titer documenting immunity; or a statement of religious exemption. ACC may apply more restrictive requirements for employment or participation in a specific ACC program or class, such as child care, clinical programs and certain health services programs on a case by case basis.

ACC will promote a healthy and safe environment for both students and employees through minimizing risk of transmission of diseases that are blood or body fluid borne. ACC will comply with federal regulations and state statutes regarding bloodborne pathogens as set forth in the Federal Register, 29 CFR §1910.1030 and the North Carolina Administrative Code, 10A NCAC 41A, by attempting to limit/prevent occupational exposure of employees to blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids and materials that may transmit bloodborne pathogens that can lead to disease or death.

An employee who could “reasonably anticipate”, as a result of performing required job duties, to face contact with blood, bodily fluids or other potentially infectious materials is covered by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, the North Carolina Administrative Code, and this Policy. “Occupational Exposure” includes any reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane or parenteral (brought into the body through some way other than the digestive tract) contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties. “Good Samaritan” acts, such as assisting a co-worker or student with a nosebleed would not be considered “reasonably anticipated occupational exposure.”

An employee who suspects that s/he has had exposure to blood or bodily fluid may request to be tested, at ACC’s expense, provided that the suspected exposure poses a significant risk of transmission, as defined in the rules of the Commission for Health Services. The HIV and HBV testing of a person who is the source of an exposure that poses a significant risk of transmission will be conducted in accordance with 10A NC Administrative Code 41A .0202 (4) (HIV) and 41A .0203(b)(3) (HBV). ACC will strictly adhere to existing confidentiality rules and laws regarding employees with communicable diseases, including HIV or HIV-associated conditions.

Any actions undertaken pursuant to this policy will be in accordance with applicable federal and state laws, ACC’s policies, and in the best interest of all ACC stakeholders.

April 9, 2020