Avoidance and Control of Serious Communicable Diseases


(a)        Purpose

This Policy Statement is intended to guide institutional actions and provide direction for further improvements to methods and systems of administration. This Policy Statement is not intended nor should it be construed as a revocation or modification of any pre-existing policy statement of this Board of Regents. This Policy Statement may be revised as necessary to meet changing circumstances.

(b)        General statement of policy

It is the general policy of the Board of Regents that activities of higher education institutions under its governance should always proceed with reasoned effort, and sometimes with circumspect caution, where health risks associated with serious communicable medical conditions are involved. It is the general policy of the Board of Regents that applicable state and federal laws pertaining to contagious or infectious diseases, all matters of public health, as well as those governing discrimination and privacy shall be appropriately observed and followed in the operation of all institutions under its jurisdiction. Institutional personnel are expected to properly cooperate with authorized public health officials in resolving threatening situations which may arise.

(c)        Need

(1)       The Board of Regents is aware of the difficult circumstances which may unavoidably arise for institutional personnel, students, and others when confronted with serious human health problems. In recognition of this fact, it is the policy of the Board of Regents that institutional actions taken in response to these conditions shall be balanced and even—handed with regard to questions or ordinary institutional needs, concerns of public health, and the humane treatment of the individual victims of accidents, infections, and diseases. Recognizing also that no single policy statement can govern every situation which may arise, individual cases shall be considered on their own needs and merits. Special requested accommodations may be considered by appropriate institutional administrators.

(2)       Institutional policy and procedure statements approved by the Board of Regents shall identify an administrator who shall be responsible for maintaining a current awareness of public health problems which may present a threat to the general welfare of institutional interests. This administrator shall consult with appropriate public or private health science professionals when necessary and inform the president of the institution of known or emerging problems as well as propose programs of action which should ameliorate probable risks without jeopardizing other values central to a free and open society.

(3)       All institutional administrators shall base their actions on sound medical advice and reasonable policy considerations. Recognized sources for guidelines include city, county, state and national health agencies/departments/organizations federal disease control authorities, informed staff physicians, informed private physicians, advisory publications from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education as well as relevant policies and guidelines of the governing Board.

(d)        Required institutional policy and procedure statements

(1)       Formal institutional policy and procedure statements pertaining to avoidance and control of contagious or infectious diseases on each campus shall be developed by the administration of each constituent institution governed by this Board of Regents and shall be formulated with the advice and counsel of representative student and employee groups and the Board of Regents Office of Legal Counsel. These statements of policy and procedure shall be presented to the Board of Regents for consideration and approval prior to implementation.

(2)       The policy and procedure statement for the institution should be drafted in easily understood language and address:

(A)     various concerns for confidentiality of sensitive medical information of students and employees;

(B)      designation of administrator for release of information to public;

(C)      relevant issues of student and employee health and safety;

(D)     any appropriate academic program policy issues, such as attendance requirements;

(E)     any special policies which may be needed pertaining to continued employment or possible reassignment of persons who work in sensitive public areas such as health or food services;

(F) establishment of cooperative channels of communications within the institution, between each campus (where more than one), and applicable public health agencies;

(G)     establishment of voluntary and confidential systems for referring students to public agencies for assistance in obtaining supportive services;

(H)     establishment of a representative advisory group which will continuously support and advise on the effective implementation of the institutional policy and procedure statement;

(I)      methods for the dissemination of educational information relating to the avoidance and control of infectious or contagious diseases to all members of the college and university community; and

(J)      other topics believed beneficial to effective and humane institutional governance in this area.

(e)        All approved institutional policy and procedure statements developed under the authority of this directive shall be printed in the faculty and staff and student handbooks and shall be available to all students, faculty, staff, and interested members of the general public.