Policy on Communicable Diseases
Wittenberg University, as a church-related school in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, supports and defends the church’s position that discrimination in any form is destructive to God’s gift of personhood. In the Christian perspective, the ill should be aided with compassion. No communicable disease should be used as a reason to judge or dehumanize the person afflicted. Wittenberg recognizes the tension between the rights of the afflicted individual and the safety of all members of the campus community. It strives to balance the concern for well-being of the total community and the rights of the individual in making policy decisions.
Wittenberg University has a commitment to treat all faculty, students, and staff fairly and openly. This policy represents the intention to inform all people of the Wittenberg community about the risk of exposure to communicable diseases. This policy also represents a commitment to strive to preserve and protect the confidentiality of faculty, staff, or students who have developed a communicable disease. The University protects those affected from discriminatory or imposed isolation from the community if possible. Wittenberg assumes that informed community members take necessary steps to protect themselves from infection. This policy applies to contagious (measles, mumps, chicken pox) and infectious (AIDS, STDs, hepatitis) diseases.
The major focus for protection from disease is to educate all personnel and students. Education efforts may include alert messages, informational brochures, invited speakers, films, and class discussion. Students are informed of methods to avoid contracting the disease and are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions.
When a communicable disease approaches epidemic proportions or is judged to be a threat to the University community, Wittenberg initiates a program of education on that disease. Information alerts both students and staff to incidence rates of the disease, methods of transmission, known methods of prevention and/or cure, and the employment of universal precautions.
II. Administrative Response
When a disease is identified by the University Physician to be a threat to the community, Health and Counseling Center reviews all of its procedures for education on prevention and treatment of the disease. The University Physician notify the Dean of Students and Director of Human Resources of the dimensions of the disease and of any recommended changes in the University procedures pursuant to managing the disease. The administration may at any time request the University Physician for an opinion on the danger of a disease and recommendations for containment. Students are informed of incidence rates on the college campus but are not told whether a given individual carries the disease.
Reasonable accommodation is made on a case by case basis by the Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Students in consultation with health officials.
All contract services are expected to adhere to the policy and guidelines established on communicable diseases by Wittenberg University.
All applicable federal, state, and local laws apply, and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control are followed.
The Dean of Students is charged to appoint a Communicable Disease Team which meets when necessary to ascertain the seriousness of a communicable disease outbreak and to recommend to the President the necessary appropriate action to be taken.
Communicable disease-related diagnostic information reported to the University is treated as confidential, privileged information. Faculty, student, and staff confidentiality is protected to the best of our ability. Public health reporting requirements for the State of Ohio are observed by Health and Counseling Center.
The HIV antibody test is not used for employment-retention decisions.
The HIV antibody test is not used for student-retention decisions unless the student’s behavior endangers the community.
Students requesting information regarding testing for AIDS or other infectious diseases are counseled by the professional student health services staff. Students are informed about confidential testing, anonymous testing, and locations available. The student is advised of the limitations of the test.
V. Medical Follow-Up
To receive better protection and appropriate medical care, the student with an infection should inform the professional student health services personnel.
Medical follow-up for the student with AIDS is urged by the college. Medical services are provided by Health and Counseling Center within the limitations of staff expertise and resources.
The student with AIDS who desires treatment at Health and Counseling Center must identify his or her private health care provider to the professional student health services personnel. Upon request, professional health services personnel refer an individual to health care providers and/or agencies with expertise in AIDS.
A student with AIDS is exempt from the requirement to take live virus vaccinations, e.g., measles, rubella.
VI. Residential/Academic/Work Considerations for the Student with AIDS
A student who has AIDS is invited to discuss his or her condition with another appropriate campus official, e.g., the Dean of Students. This is not mandatory. Those offices have information about resources within the community.
The student’s knowledge about transmission of HIV is assessed by professional student health services personnel. Detailed information is given to the student regarding high-risk behaviors and appropriate self-care.
The student must properly govern his or her behavior in light of known risks of transmission of AIDS based on current medical knowledge. A student whose behavior endangers others, through appropriate procedures, is isolated or removed from the campus. The decision to restrict or exclude is rendered on a case-by-case basis with medically based judgments to assure the welfare of the college community and the individual.
- Residential housing issues are considered on a case-by-case basis.
- The student is allowed regular classroom attendance unless physically unable.
- The student is allowed to perform regular duties unless physically unable.
- The student has access to all facilities.
The student may participate in inter-collegiate athletic programs and intramural sports following individual assessment by the University Physician or the Health and Counseling Center staff.
Special consideration is afforded to the student with AIDS to prevent his or her exposure to certain communicable diseases, e.g., influenza, measles, and chicken pox.
VII. Work Considerations for the Employee with AIDS
Faculty and staff who have positive HIV antibody tests are encouraged to seek medical attention and advice on obtaining proper treatment for themselves and ways to reduce the risk to others.
They are encouraged to inform the Director of Human Resources and to obtain the Public Health Service recommendations for the treatment from the Human Resources office.
Food Service workers and medical staff follow appropriate governmental regulations regarding infection control.
The faculty or staff member must properly govern his or her behavior in light of known risks of transmission of AIDS based on current medical knowledge. A faculty or staff member whose behavior endangers others is isolated or removed from the campus. The decision to restrict or exclude is rendered on a case-by-case basis with medically based judgments to assure the welfare of the college community and the individual.
Employees and contract personnel are informed of the use of universal precautions pertinent to their area.