Communicable Illness / Pandemic Outbreak
Upon learning that a member of the university community has contracted a severe communicable disease, the Crisis Management team will coordinate with other University teams and areas to inform local Public Health Officials and comply with any corresponding directives.
The Chair of the Crisis Management Team will be the Incident Commander. The Incident Commander in conjunction with the Executive Emergency Response Team will have absolute authority over the campus in the event of a communicable illness outbreak.
The Director of Public Safety will be responsible for all security related issues and will report directly to the Incident Commander during a communicable illness outbreak. If an order is given to evacuate the campus, the Director of Public Safety will have authority over the campus evacuation activities.
The Dean of Students and the VP of Student Affairs will work with Sage Medical Group and will be responsible for managing the health facet of the communicable illness response plan. They will be in charge of providing timely ongoing safety and health information to the Incident Commander and Crisis Management Team lead. The Dean of Students, the VP of Student Affairs and Sage Medical Group will work with the city and state authorities and help develop education and training materials for use by staff and students.
Timely and accurate communication with the campus population during a communicable illness/pandemic outbreak is critical.
The university community will be alerted through the voice mail and e-mail systems and possibly university message boards as described in Communications Annex 2.2. The Interim Assistant Vice President for Public Relations or his/her designee is responsible for coordinating all emergency communications.
Emergency/update information will be recorded on the main university number (312-362-8000). When the nature of the emergency suggests there will be an influx of telephone inquiries concerning the well-being of students, faculty and staff, an off-site “hotline” phone service will be employed to handle the volume of in-coming calls and ensure that phones are answered by a human operator.
For Resident Hall Students:
Typically, the Dean of Students office will inform the Department of Housing Services or the Department of Residential Education when they have received information from Sage Medical or any other health services provider regarding a resident that may be a public health concern.
When a Housing Services or Residential Education staff member learns of a student potentially infected with a contagious disease, the staff member will follow their approved university and/or departmental protocol. The Departments of Housing Services and Residential Education will then communicate with others in their areas of the University, to include the Dean of Students, Student Affairs, Facility Operations, Student Centers, Public Safety, etc.
The most ideal scenario for a resident who has been infected with a contagious disease is for the resident to return to his/her primary off-campus residence or assume residence off campus for an appropriate time period, if possible. If returning to a primary off-campus residence or assuming residence off-campus is not an option, the Department of Housing Services has identified spaces where contagious resident(s), or roommates of contagious residents could be temporarily housed for the duration of the contagious period. Only residents with the same illness will be housed together in the isolated housing space. There are a very limited number of vacant spaces on campus that can be used to house students who are ill and if the number of contagious students is higher than the number of spaces available, other housing provisions will need to be considered. The university will follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control wherever possible. For less severe contagious disease cases, the university is recommending self-isolation. Many spaces on campus already have a private or semi-private bathroom and as a result, a student staying in their own room until they are symptom free might be the best option. Potential alternate housing options may also exist for seemingly healthy students who may want to be relocated away from an contagious roommate for a short period of time.
Other plans to isolate contagious persons will be enacted based on factors including the number of other cases of contagious persons with the same disease, recommendations or orders from local public health officials. Current residential housing assignments of contagious and non-contagious persons degree of risk of exposure in other places that may be used to isolate individuals, etc.
Housing Services and Residential Education will partner with Student Centers to provide meals and fluids to students who have reported their contagious disease. The Department of Housing Services and Facility Operations will work with any displaced residents to thoroughly clean and sanitize their living quarters when necessary.
Hazardous Chemical Spill
In the event of a chemical spill or any other accident or emergency involving hazardous materials, individuals should be advised to:
- Call Public Safety and/or 9-1-1 from the nearest telephone;
- Evacuate the area immediately;
- Do not attempt to mop up or contain the spill; and
- Do not re-enter the contaminated area until given the all-clear by Public Safety personnel.
If possible, personnel should be prepared to provide the following information when coordinating with emergency personnel:
- Name and quantity of the chemical/material spilled;
- Location of the spill (building name and room number)
- Information regarding anyone injured or otherwise contacted by the material; and
- A description of any fire or explosion caused by or occurring nearby the spill.
In addition to Public Safety, the Office of Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety should be promptly notified of all chemical and other toxic substance incidents, even if no injury or damage of facilities has occurred or is apparent at the time.
If a student, employee or visitor experiences a medical emergency while on campus, University staff and faculty are advised to call 9-1-1 immediately, and then contact Public Safety. All accidents or injuries that occur on University property, whether life threatening or not, must be promptly reported to Public Safety so that an accident report can be issued.
Mental Health Crisis
If there is reason to believe that a University student or employee is experiencing a mental health emergency and may present a danger to him/herself or others, Public Safety should be contacted immediately.
If there are general concerns regarding the mental health or well being of a University student, the Dean of Students Office should be contacted. The Dean of Students Office has a wide variety of resources available and is prepared to provide assistance to troubled students through counseling, interventions and referrals.
If there is general concern regarding the mental health or well being of a University faculty or staff member, the Employee Relations Office of Human Resources should be contacted.
Counseling Services Available for Students
University Counseling Services offers individual, group, and couples counseling to currently enrolled students. University Counseling Services can also provide assessments and referrals to other appropriate healthcare providers and services.
Counseling Services Available for Faculty and Staff
The Employee Assistance Program is available to provide assistance to University faculty and staff who may be experiencing difficult personal problems. Employee Assistance Program services include individual and family counseling, psychological evaluations and referrals, substance abuse treatment and similar services.
If there is a significant decline in an employee’s work performance or a specific on-the-job incident indicating that an employee may benefit from the Employee Assistance Program’s services, the employee’s supervisor, in consultation with Employee Relations, may make a formal referral that requires the employee’s participation.