Guideline 8-3: Communicable Disease For Students
These administrative guidelines apply to all communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, measles, influenza, viral hepatitis-A (infectious hepatitis), viral hepatitis-B (serum hepatitis), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection), AIDS, AIDS-Related Complex (ARC), meningitis, meningococcal infections, and tuberculosis. A complete list of the communicable diseases subject to these administrative guidelines is included as Attachment A to the policy Communicable Diseases-Students. For the purposes of these administrative guidelines, the term "HIV infection" shall include AIDS, AIDS-Related Complex (ARC), and a positive test for the antibody to human immunodeficiency virus.
Whenever any student of the college has, or suspects that he or she has a communicable disease, the student is encouraged to immediately report this information to the Vice President of Student Services, who can provide information, education, and counseling and testing referrals.
- As a general rule, those students diagnosed as having a communicable disease, and who are physically able, will be permitted to attend classes and utilize college facilities in an unrestricted manner.
- Each case will be handled on an individual basis with the input of the Vice President of Student Services, the student, the student's private physician, and/or appropriate personnel of the City Health Department. The Vice President of Student Services is responsible for gathering the input of this group. This may be done either through contact between individuals or a meeting of the group. In the case of a student with HIV infection, any discussions with the health department will be conducted without identifying the student unless the student gives written consent to release his/her name.
- The input of the persons in Subsection II.B. shall be used to consider whether the student diagnosed with a communicable disease might pose a risk of transmission to others in the classroom and/or college setting. This group shall provide information concerning the student's knowledge about the transmission of the communicable disease and his or her understanding of the need to attend to the disease through medical care, personal hygiene, educational counseling, and the avoidance of high risk behavior. Given the current state of medical knowledge, the group will provide information concerning (a) the nature of the risk (how the disease is transmitted); (b) the duration of the risk (how long is the student infectious); (c) the severity of the risk (what is the potential harm to third parties); and (d) the probability that the disease will be transmitted and will cause varying degrees of harm. In formulating decisions regarding the student's status, the Vice President of Student Services will attempt to reach a consensus. However, if no consensus can be reached, the decision of the Vice President of Student Services will control.
- Each case shall be reevaluated when deemed necessary, or at least on an annual basis, so long as the student has a communicable disease and remains enrolled.
- If the student wishes to contest decisions concerning exclusion or restriction from college facilities, programs and functions, the procedures relative to any such contest shall be those provided by applicable college policies and procedures.
- If the Vice President of Student Services receives information from any source that a student has a communicable disease, the Vice President of Student Services shall contact the student to confirm the accuracy of the information. If the student confirms that he or she has a communicable disease, these administrative guidelines will be followed by the college to determine the response by the college.
The Vice President of Student Services may act as the college's designee for purposes of reporting communicable diseases to the City Health Department.
- The Vice President of Student Services shall function as the liaison with the student's physician regarding the individual's health status, and the coordinator of services, if any, provided by other staff.
- The right to privacy of the individual shall be respected. Therefore, knowledge that a student has a communicable disease should be confined to those persons with a direct need to know, if any, as determined by the Vice President of Student Services with the input of the group specified in Subsection II.B.
- Factors to be considered in determining who, if anyone, has a need to know that a student has a communicable disease include the nature of the communicable disease, the modes of transmission of the disease, the student's schedule and activities, the risk of transmission, the possible need to respond to a medical emergency, the mental and/or physical condition of the student, whether the person has a legitimate need to know to provide for his or her protection and provide for the student's health and welfare, and any other factors relevant in a particular case. The Vice President of Student Services will attempt to obtain a consensus of the group in determining who has a need to know. If no consensus can be reached, the decision of the Vice President of Student Services will control. Those persons considered to have a need to know should be provided an appropriate educational program which should include information concerning such precautions as may be necessary with regard to the specific communicable disease, and directives concerning the necessity of maintaining the confidentiality of the information.
- With regard to a student who has HIV infection, the group of persons with a direct need to know, if any, may be informed of the student's HIV infection only if the student authorizes such disclosure. The Vice President of Student Services may seek authorization to disclose the information to the group of persons who have a need to know. Authorization to release information that a student has HIV infection shall follow the requirements of Subsection IV.C.
The Texas Legislature has enacted legislation that pertains to maintaining strict confidentiality regarding persons who have HIV infection. Section 81.101 of the Texas Health and Safety Code defines "test result" to mean any statement that indicates that an identifiable individual has or has not been tested for AIDS or HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS including a statement or assertion that the individual is positive, negative, at risk, or has or does not have a certain kind of antigen or antibody. Section 81.103 provides that a test result is confidential. Any person who possesses or has knowledge of the result may not release or disclose a test result or allow a test result to become known.
- A test result may be released to a local health authority if reporting is required under the Act. With regard to the college, the Vice President of Student Services should notify the local health authority when HIV infection is known or suspected in a student attending college. The Vice President of Student Services will report to the local health authority whatever information is deemed by the local health authority to be pertinent in a particular case.
- A test result may be released to a physician, nurse, or other health care personnel who has a legitimate need to know the test result in order to provide for his/her protection and to provide for the student's health and welfare.
- A test result may be released if the student, or person legally authorized to consent for the student, voluntarily releases or discloses the test result or authorizes the release or disclosure of the test result. The authorization must be in writing and signed by the student, or person legally authorized to consent for the student, and must state the persons or entities or classification of persons or entities to whom test results may be released or disclosed.
The Vice President of Student Services shall routinely monitor the medical status of all students identified as having a communicable disease. Changes in the student's medical status may warrant removal or restriction from the classroom and/or college setting. Before a student is removed or restricted from the classroom and/or college setting, the Vice President of Student Services may convene the group described in Subsection II.B. to consider any new circumstances which may warrant removal or restriction. A student may be removed temporarily or permanently whenever the student's condition constitutes a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Circumstances necessitating temporary removal shall be monitored as often as appropriate to determine whether the condition precipitating removal has changed. In formulating decisions regarding the student's status, the Vice President of Student Services will attempt to reach a consensus. However, if no consensus can be reached, the decision of the Vice President of Student Services will control.
The student who has a communicable disease may need to be removed from the college campus or program for his/her own protection when cases of acute or short-term communicable diseases, such as measles or chicken pox, are occurring in the campus or program population. The Vice President of Student Services will notify the student's physician and the student whenever his/her services becomes aware of such a situation. The student's physician and the student will be responsible for determining whether the student should be removed from the college campus or program.
Routine and standard procedures shall be used to clean up after a student has an accident or injury on campus or in any college program. Blood or bodily fluids emanating from ANY person shall be treated cautiously. Gloves shall be worn when cleaning up blood spills or other bodily fluid spills. These spills shall be disinfected with a ten percent bleach solution or an approved cleansing solution.
The college shall be prepared to refer students to sources of competent and confidential testing for HIV infection upon a request for such screening. All testing will be at the student's expense. In addition, the college shall be prepared to refer those desiring to be tested to qualified counselors outside of the college. Such counseling shall be at the student's expense.
The college will make available to all students upon request the educational pamphlet on AIDS developed by the Texas Department of Health.
The college recognizes that certain communicable diseases which students may contract, such as, but not limited to, influenza, are not serious. For communicable diseases which are not serious, the foregoing administrative guidelines are permissive rather than mandatory, at the discretion of the Vice President of Student Services, except for Subsections III and IV.A. relating to reporting requirements and Subsection VII relating to procedures for cleaning up bodily fluid spills.
(Re: Policy IV-B-4; Board of Regents Policy Manual)