Medical Partners

COVID-19 Protocols For Institutes of Higher Education

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have implemented guidelines with regards to protecting the health and safety of America's Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) during COVID-19. These are recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthy workplace.

No Wait Medical Partners focuses on the need to follow appropriate guidelines during work shifts and while at home.


Administrator Responsibilities



Assess the hazards to which your staff, students, or faculty may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure.


COVID-19 Guidlines

1. Implementing Basic Infection Prevention Measures



-Hand Hygiene


  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including providing employees and customers with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol should be provided. Young children must be supervised when using hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol. Regular hand washing or using of alcohol- based hand rubs are necessary. Hands should be washed when they are visibly soiled and after removing any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Provide resources and environment that promotes personal hygiene, including tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, disinfectants, and disposable towels to clean surfaces. Post hand washing signs in restrooms. Ensure clean toilet and hand washing facilities. Fill hand sanitizer dispensers regularly. Disinfect frequently touched items, including door pulls and toilet seats often.


-Respiratory Etiquette


  • The importance of covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue should be emphasized. Afterwards, throw the tissue away into the trash and perform hand hygiene. Staff, students, and campers should be permitted to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus, though it is not PPE. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on babies and children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without help.


-Enhanced Sanitation


  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the environment. When equipment must be shared, instruct staff and older children to use alcohol-based wipes to clean before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, staff should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).


  • When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels from List N, or that have claims against emerging viral pathogens, or that have label claims against the coronavirus for cleaning frequently touched surfaces like tools, handles, and machines. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19, based on data for harder to kill viruses. Keep cleaning agents securely away from children.


  • Develop a disinfection schedule or routine plan, especially for high contact areas like restrooms. Ensure sufficient stocks of cleaning and disinfecting supplies to accommodate ongoing cleaning and disinfection. High touch areas should be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. doorknobs, display cases, equipment handles) more frequently.

Donation

2. Transmission Barriers



A. Physical Distancing


  • Offering distance learning to reduce the number of in-person interactions.


  • Avoid mass gatherings and maintain a 6-foot distance from others when possible.


  • Have measures (e.g. tape on floors/sidewalks, create 1-way routes in halls, partitions, 6-foot distance between tables, and signage on walls) to allow a 6-foot distance between staff and students and minimize face-to-face contact.


  • Signage explaining social distancing should be posted highly visible locations (e.g. entrances, restrooms, dining areas, classrooms, auditorium).


  • Space desks 6-foot apart and align them in the same direction so no desks are facing each other. Tape off seats and rows in lecture halls for a 6-foot distance between each open seat.


B. Transportation


  • Create distance between students in vehicles (e.g. skipping rows) when possible. Transport vehicles (e.g. shuttle busses, vans) should follow bus transits operator guidelines as well as implementing other staff safety guidelines like wearing a mask and practicing hand hygiene.


  • Encourage students, faculty, and staff to take forms of travel that minimize close contact with others.


  • Encourage students, faculty, and staff to protect themselves when using public transit, commute during less busy times, and perform hand hygiene afterwards.


C. Shared Objects


  • Items that are difficult to clean or disinfect should not be shared.


  • Electronic devices (e.g. phones, eBooks, pens, learning aids) should not be shared.


  • Supplies of high-touch materials should be enough to minimize sharing (e.g. assign supplies or equipment to one person) or limited to one cohort and disinfected between groups.


D. Gatherings/Visitors/Events


  • Review local and state gathering regulations to determine whether events (e.g. sports, extracurricular activities) may be held.


  • Evaluate if the activity can be done virtually. If that is not possible, develop a protocol to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Limit group size.


  • Limit nonessential visitors like volunteers and visitors. Retrain from activities with other organizations, especially those that are not local (e.g. community, town, city, county).


  • Sporting activities, if offered, should minimize transmission to families, coaches, and communities.


E. Food


  • Provide grab and go meals over sit in and dine. If dining rooms are provided, serve individually plated meals rather than self-service or buffet ones.


  • If serving food, use disposable utensils for individually plated meals. If those are not available, handle with gloves and use soap and hot water to clean utensils between uses.


  • For events, uses prepackaged food instead of self-service buffet or family style.


F. Gatherings/Visitors/Events


  • Review local and state gathering regulations to determine whether events (e.g. sports, extracurricular activities) may be held.


  • Evaluate if the activity can be done virtually. If that is not possible, develop a protocol to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Limit group size.


  • Limit nonessential visitors like volunteers and visitors. Retrain from activities with other organizations, especially those that are not local (e.g. community, town, city, county).


  • Pursue virtual activities and events (field trips, assemblies, performance, spirt nights). Prioritize outdoor activities that can maintain social distancing.


  • Sporting activities, if offered, should minimize transmission to families, coaches, and communities.


3. Faculty



  • Water systems: (e.g. faucets, fountains) Should be evaluated. Fountains should be sanitized. Encourage staff, students, and campers to bring their own water.


  • Ventilation Systems: Should be adequate. Increase circulation during the day by opening windows and doors when needed. Ensure fans do not blow from one person onto another and do not open windows or doors if doing so poses a health and safety risk (e.g. triggering asthma, falls).


  • On Campus housing: Consider not reopening residence halls. If reopening must occur, close shared spaces (e.g. dining halls, game rooms, exercise rooms, lounges) or stagger use, social distance, and clean and disinfect between uses. Laundry rooms should provide disposable gloves, soap, household cleaners and EPA-registered distinctions from List N to clean and disinfect high touch surfaces (e.g. buttons, knobs, handles, baskets, shared items).


4. Student Affairs



  • International Travel: Consider postponing or canceling international student travel programs. Students may have unpredictable challenges to health and transport. Consider asking students in study abroad programs to return to the United States. Work with state and local health officials to determine the return process.


  • Academics: Strategies should protect older individuals and those at higher risk for severe symptoms due to COVID-19. Implement telework and virtual meetings to allow for quarantine and self-isolation. Consider staggering classes and allowing for flexible hours.


  • Enrollment: Adjust early support for newly admitted students with lowered requirements or no standardized test scores. Update virtual processes as necessary according to feedback to retain students.


  • Athletics: Instruct student athletes of new protocols and test necessary personnel. Communicate with sponsors and media. Continue to monitor student athlete health and update training according to available information.


  • Human Resources: Prepare staff for updated safety guidelines. Determine who will be returning to work. Develop and flexible plan for remote decision making. Evaluate the effect of absenteeism.


  • Research: Begin with only essential staff conducting on-site support for ongoing research. Continue to monitor and assess gaps in support.


5. Training and Education



  • Provide staff with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette, proper hygiene practices, and care of PPE). Employees should wear face coverings.


  • Train staff who need to use protecting clothing and equipment, and on how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, within the context of their current and potential duties. Training should be conducted virtually or maintain social distancing.


  • Staff should be trained on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 with an explanation of how the disease is potentially spread, including the fact that infected people can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms. Employees should know when to stay home to prevent spread.


  • Emphasis should be placed on the need for staff to report any safety and health concerns.


  • Communicate with the public, students, faculty and staff over changed hours of operation, closures, or restrictions due to COVID-19.


  • Provide staff with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette, proper hygiene practices, and care of PPE). Employees should be encouraged to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace.


6. Support for Employees



  • Mental health support should be provided to all workers, including access to an employee assistance program (EAP) if available. Emergency communications plans should be developed, including a forum for answering workers' concerns and internet-based communications, if feasible.


  • No wait medical could help schools find a third-party mental health provider upon request.


7. Absenteeism



  • If there is a steady increase in student and staff absences, schools should notify heath officials.


  • Flexible sick leave policies should allow staff to stay at home in the event of sickness, possible exposure, or caring for someone who is sick. Evaluate whether the work duties can be done through telework.


  • Coordinate with other programs for staff substitutes if regular staff is absent. Ask higher risk people (e.g. older adults, people with underlying medical conditions) to assess risk with a medical provider if there is a community outbreak. Cross train staff and establish a roster of back-up staff.


  • Administration should inform and encourage staff to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.


  • Staff who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and be encouraged to stay home, and a note from their healthcare provider does not need to be provided in order to validate illness, or their ability to return to work. Sick leave policies should be flexible and consistent with public health guidance and with No Wait Medical Partners, and employees should be made aware of these policies. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with No Wait Medical Partners. Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting employees and customers.


  • Staff who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and consult with No Wait Medical Partners regarding the mandatory precautions. Policies should permit employees to stay home to care for sick family members, including sick children or children who are in schools or day care centers that have been closed, or who have immunocompromised family members, and are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure. Staff concerns about pay, leave, safety, health, and other issues that may arise during infectious disease outbreaks should be addressed, and employers are encouraged to work with insurance companies (e.g., those providing employee health benefits) and state and local health agencies to provide information to staff and families about medical care in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.


  • No Wait Medical Partners will provide daily follow up on employees who are self-isolating at home, and on what their expected return to work dates will be.


8. Screening



  • If feasible, conduct daily health checks on staff, faculty, and students, or ask them to conduct self-checks. Verbally screen to determine whether individuals have had a fever, respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing, shortness of breath) or other symptoms in the past 24 hours. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 F or greater should not enter the facility. Screeners should be are trained to use temperature monitors that are accurate under conditions of use and wear appropriate PPE.


  • Health checks should be conducted in a way that helps maintain social distancing guidelines, such as providing multiple screening entries into the building. Administration should inform and encourage individuals to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.


  • Confidentiality of the medical records should be maintained. To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, health screenings should be made as private as possible, and determinations of risk, should not be made based on race or country of origin.


  • No Wait Medical Partners ensures ongoing follow-up of employees sent home who may be at risk.


9. Testing



  • Viral tests approved by the FDA are recommended by CDC to diagnose current infection. Broad testing for all returning students, faculty, and staff is not recommended unless the area has moderate to substantial community transmission due to limited resources and usefulness of a single administration of testing.


  • Testing may be required for individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and asymptotic individuals with recent exposure. Those individuals should wear cloth face coverings, quarantine, and call local health officials for the next steps.


  • Testing is recommended for asymptomatic people with a recent known or suspected exposure to an individual with COVID-19. Broader testing beyond close contacts is recommended to control the spread of COVID-19 in some settings like learning environments (e.g. laboratories, lecture halls), living spaces (e.g. shared communal spaces, bathrooms, floor residents, hall residents). Students who are unfamiliar with each other are close contacts due to a shared living environment.


10. In Event of Sickness



  • A confirmed case is a positive test for COVID-19. Suspected cases are people who have signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.


  • In the event of a sick person, close off areas used by the person who was sick. Have an isolation area or room. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, transport them home or to a healthcare facility. Notify healthcare personnel that the person may have COVID-19 if calling an ambulance or bringing them to a facility.


  • Clear the area and wait 24 hours, or long as possible for droplets to settle, before disinfecting areas the person used using EPA approved disinfectants. Do not use these areas they have been cleaned and disinfected.


  • Trace the person's contacts from 2 days before symptom onset to identify other exposed people. Inform them if there is a case of confirmed COVID-19 while keeping confidentiality according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In a confirmed case, also notify relevant state health or environmental safety departments.


  • No Wait Medical Partners enables safe and timely triage, antibody testing, monitoring, contact tracking and containment of suspected or confirmed COVID 19 positive individuals. No Wait Medical Partners contributes to limiting exposure and risk management and enables contact tracing for suspected COVID-19 positive individuals.


Staff Guidelines



  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have implemented guidelines on how employees can protect themselves and their co-workers from COVID-19. Employees are encouraged to forward any questions or concerns that they may have to No Wait Medical Partners.


Protecting Yourself and Others



  • -Hand Hygiene


  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not immediately available, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rubbing hands until they are dry. Avoid touching your face.
    COVID-19 Guidlines

    Click here to watch the video


-Respiratory Etiquette


  • Follow the proper guidelines for covering coughs and sneezing (i.e., sneezing or coughing into a tissue or into the upper sleeve). Always wear a face mask while in the workplace, and the mask should cover your nose and mouth. Learn how to properly put on, use/wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment.


  • If possible, wear cloth face coverings protect others in case the wearer is unknowingly infected. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on babies and children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without help.


-Social Distancing


  • Maintain 6-feet of social distancing as work duties permit, and avoid physical contact with others, including other staff, students, or campers.


  • Use alternatives ways to shake hands upon entry, and it is important to not touch your face (i.e., mouth, nose, eyes).


  • Drive to facilities or parking areas individually; when possible, an avoid having passengers or foods.



What should I do if I become ill?




Resources:

Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education (CDC guidelines)


COVID-19 Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing (CDC guidelines)


Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19 (CDC guidelines)


EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2020). List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (CDC guidelines)

General Business Frequently Asked Questions - Suspected or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in the Workplace (CDC guidelines)


Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education with Students Participating in International Travel or Study Abroad Programs. (CDC guidelines)


Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (OSHA guidelines)


Hand washing guidelines (CDC guidelines)


Information on the use of cloth face coverings (CDC guidelines)


Interim Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing (CDC guidelines)


Planning and Executing Reopening of Colleges and Universities (Deloitte guidelines)


Print resources (CDC guidelines)


Respirator Safety (United States Department of Labor. 2009) Video


Self-assessment tool for employees (CDC guidelines)


State University System of Florida. (2020). State University System of Florida Blueprint for Reopening Campuses (FLBOG guidelines)


Staying home (CDC guidelines)


Symptoms of COVID-19 (CDC guidelines)


Use Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow Spread (CDC guidelines)


When to screen (CDC guidelines)