Communicable Disease Outbreak Plan

Policy Name:   Communicable Disease Outbreak Plan

Effective Date:  June, 2016

Revised: May 17, 2019, February 24, 2020

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock must be prepared to act in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease among our student and employee population. A communicable disease outbreak can potentially turn into an epidemic and threaten the health and well-being of the entire UA Little Rock campus community. Therefore, specific steps will be taken to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff at UA Little Rock are protected should an outbreak occur. Health Services will follow this policy on communicable disease outbreaks and will cooperate with all county, state, and federal authorities regarding the identification, treatment, and prevention of communicable diseases.

This policy is effective for, but not limited to, the reportable communicable diseases listed below:

  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis
  • Influenza
  • Measles (Rubella)
  • Meningitis*
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Rubella
  • Tuberculosis (TB) active
  • Tetanus

A confirmed diagnosis of any of these diseases will be reported to the Arkansas Disease Reporting System within 24 hours of diagnosis. Contact information:

Weekdays 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
501.537.8969

After hours, weekends, and holidays
1.800.554.5738

All OUTBREAKS (3 or more cases) of any of these communicable diseases  must be reported immediately.

*Suspected or confirmed cases of meningitis also are to be reported immediately.

The report should include:

  1. Reporters name, location and phone number
  2. Name of the disease reported and the onset date
  3. The patient’s name, address, phone number, age, sex, & race
  4. The attending physician’s name, location, and phone number
  5. Any pertinent clinical, laboratory, and treatment information

Responsibility for Campus Reporting

  1. In the event that a UA Little Rock student or employee is diagnosed with a reportable communicable disease, the Health Services Director or Assistant Director should be notified.
  2. The Health Services Director or Assistant Director will notify the Assistant Vice Chancellor | Wellness & Inclusion and the UA Little Rock Health Services Collaborating Physician.
  3. The Assistant Vice Chancellor | Wellness & Inclusion will notify the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs who in turn will notify the Chancellor.
  4. The Chancellor will notify the University System President and the Provost. In addition, the Chancellor will prepare a written notification for campus-wide distribution.
  5. If the student lives on campus or in campus housing, Campus Living will be notified by the Health Services Director or Assistant Director.
  6. It is up to the AR Department of Health, based on information provided by the diagnosing provider, to determine whether or not the student should return home, continue to be housed on campus, housed off campus, or transferred to another facility (i.e. a hospital). If the student cannot travel to their home, the AR Department of Health will work with the University to determine an appropriate solution.

Procedures for Managing the Outbreak

Health Services will be in charge of coordinating all healthcare during the outbreak. The Health Services medical team will follow the Policy on Communicable Disease Outbreaks and all additional recommendations from county, state, and federal authorities.

Health Services will:

  1. Immediately begin an investigation
  2. Verify the diagnosis
  3. Gather information to confirm an outbreak
  4. Identify contacts of the case and potential sites of transmission during the period of communicability
  5. Contact students, faculty, or staff who were possibly exposed
  6. Make appropriate recommendations to susceptible contacts
  7. Arrange for necessary vaccination (if appropriate) for susceptible contacts
  8. Pertinent information as to the nature of the disease outbreak and specific recommended preventative actions, medical monitoring/counseling, additional cleaning and disinfection of public spaces, etc. may be released to the UA Little Rock community of students, faculty, and staff by the Director and/or the UA Little Rock Health Services Collaborating Physician via the Health Services website or through UA Little Rock email if approved by the Chancellor.
  9. To ensure containment of the communicable disease, surfaces and objects will be disinfected per the AR Department of Health and/or CDC recommendations based on the specific disease.

Procedures for Campus Living

  • Should a student notify the Director of Campus Living, a Resident Advisor, or other Campus Living staff that they have a communicable disease, but haven’t been seen in Health Services, Campus Living personnel should call Health Services for guidance on how to proceed with precautions.
  • It is unlikely that a student will be quarantined in the residence halls. The Arkansas Department of Health will work with the University on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate quarantine measures.
  • If a student needs to be isolated and lives in other campus housing with roommates, the Arkansas Department of Health will work with the student to ensure he/she has limited contact with others in the apartment or house. The student may need his/her own bedroom with a private bathroom and someone who can leave food and water outside of the bedroom door.

Procedure Should the Individual be an International Student

If the student diagnosed with a communicable disease is an International student, the Office of International Student Services will be notified and advised of the needs of the student. If isolation is necessary, the AR Department of Health will work with the University to determine appropriate housing.

Procedure for an Infected Student Returning to Classes and Campus Activities

  1. Before a student is discharged from isolation and before returning to classes at the University, he/she must be examined by a medical professional (UA Little Rock Health Services Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or by their own personal physician). The medical professional should certify that the student is no longer infectious to others and that he/she presents no risk to the University community.
  2. The Health Services Director shall notify appropriate departments that the student has been released from care and may return to full campus activity.

Procedure for Establishing STUDENT Awareness Regarding a Communicable Disease Outbreak

Health Services shall oversee general campus awareness regarding any communicable disease outbreak. Awareness shall include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Information on protecting yourself against disease transmission (handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette) will be posted across campus in strategic locations and on the Health Services website.
  • Health promotion activities that stress infection control measurements will be offered.
  • Education on disease symptoms and where to seek help will be provided.
  • The Communicable Disease Outbreak policy will be available on the Health Services website.

Procedures for Managing University Employees with Exposure to or Confirmation of a Communicable Disease

  1. Employees who have been exposed to or have confirmation of a communicable disease should:
    • contact their immediate supervisor
    • stay away from work
    • seek advice/diagnosis/treatment through their personal physician
  2. DO NOT come to Health Services for a diagnosis
  3. The employee’s immediate supervisor shall inform the Health Services Director or Assistant Director.
  4. The Director or his/her designee will gather more information including verification of the exposure or confirmed diagnosis and will notify University personnel as per this policy.
  5. The employee is expected to remain off work until the risk of infecting others has ended, and until he/she can return to full duties.
  6. Any employee who has a communicable disease and calls in sick as result of the disease, shall be required to present a letter from his/her Primary Care Physician to his/her supervisor before being permitted to return to work. The letter must certify that the employee poses no risk to the University community as a result of the communicable disease.
  7. The employee’s supervisor shall share the letter with Human Resources and Health Services.

Procedures for Establishing EMPLOYEE Awareness about the Communicable Disease Outbreak Policy

The Environmental Health and Safety Office and Health Services shall oversee employee awareness regarding the communicable disease outbreak. Awareness may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Formal training which provides an overview of the University’s Emergency Management Plan (Pandemic) complete with a Q & A session.
  • Information regarding the location of the written policy and contact information    related to the policy.
  • Information on “protecting yourself” against disease transmission (handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette) will be posted across campus in strategic locations and on the Health Services website.
  • Health promotion activities that stress infection control measurements will be offered.
  • Education on disease symptoms and where to seek help will be provided.

Procedures for Managing an Outbreak among Participants in University Programs, Camps, or Conferences

  1. Responsible adults working with participants enrolled in University-sponsored programs, camps, or conferences shall contact the Health Services Director or Assistant Director when an occurrence of a communicable disease is suspected or has been confirmed.
  2. The Director or his/her designee will gather more information including verification of the exposure or confirmed diagnosis and will notify University personnel as per this policy.
  3. The Director or his/her designee shall consult with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs to determine the involvement of other campus departments in the management of the communicable disease.
  4. Prior to returning to the event, the participant shall be required to present a letter from a medical professional certifying that the participant is no longer contagious to others and presents no risk to the University community.
  5. The decision to terminate any event will be made, with guidance from the AR Department of Health, by the event director in consultation with the Health Services Director and the appropriate Vice Chancellor.

For reference, use:  the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, The Red Book, Arkansas State Health Department 501-661-2169, and Beneson, Abram S. (ed), 1995.  Control of Communicable Diseases in Man, 16th edition, American Public Health Association. Washington, D.C.