Humboldt State University gates

Choose a Language

Non-English is for reference only and not official

Outbreak Risk Assessment & Response Plan

The University has developed a plan that looks at protocols for individual and multiple cases, identifies roles and responsibilities, and identifies the process and criteria for returning to campus after a failed wellness self-check.

November 18, 2020

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Roles and responsibilities include the Infectious Disease Response Team, COVID Coordinator, Emergency Operations Center, and the Policy Management Group.

  • Should there be a confirmed positive case associated with campus, the University will need to take quick action to reduce the possibility of spread. 

  • If conditions warrant closure of a specific class to F2F instruction, instruction will pivot to virtual.

  • It is expected that there will be individuals who are indirect contacts of known cases and may become symptomatic or self-report as being a direct contact. Direct contacts of a confirmed positive case will be notified by County Public Health.

  • California State University categorizes medical information as Level 1 data.

The safety of the University’s students and employees is our highest priority. As such, the University has developed a plan to respond to COVID-19 cases associated within the HSU community. The following plan looks at protocols for individual and multiple cases, identifies roles and responsibilities, and identifies the process and criteria for returning to campus after a failed wellness self-check.

For the purpose of this document “associated with campus” is defined as a member of the HSU community who has been on campus or who has participated in a face-to-face campus activity within 14 days of testing positive for COVID. Those who are working remotely and have not physically been on campus within the last 14 days would not be considered “associated with campus” for the purpose of disease outbreak response.

Roles & Responsibilities

Infectious Disease Response Team: This team plans and assesses the risk to campus from COVID-19 positive cases associated with campus. The team is comprised of the Director of the Student Health Center (SHC), the Medical Director of the SHC, an Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Specialist, the Director of Risk Management & Safety Services, the Emergency Management Coordinator, and representatives from Human Resources (HR) and Housing & Residence Life. The team will work to examine the data both on- and off- campus, compile the recommendations or orders from Humboldt County Public Health, and produce recommendations for the Policy Management Group to consider in regards to any positive cases associated with campus.

COVID Coordinator: The campus COVID Coordinator is responsible per state guidelines and California State University guidelines to track and coordinate data and information related to positive COVID-19 cases associated with campus. The coordinator will work as a liaison with Housing, the SHC, and HR  to identify when campus has a positive case and to gather the pertinent information requested by County Public Health to the Public Health Department liaison. The COVID coordinator will also ensure that the EOC Coordinator and the EOC directors are notified. 

Policy Management Group (PMG): The PMG will serve as the body making policy decisions. It reviews the risk assessment compiled by the Infectious Disease Response Team, as well as any recommendations/orders given to the University from County Public Health, and makes any needed or appropriate decisions.

Confirmed Case(s) Response

Should there be a confirmed positive case associated with campus, the University will need to take quick action to reduce the possibility of spread. The following scenarios outline recommended guidelines for response.

1-2 people with an active infection and who have been on campus:

If Identified by County Public Health:
County Public Health will report the positive case to the SHC medical director, who  will then notify the HSU campus COVID Coordinator. The COVID Coordinator will work with County Public Health and anyone else deemed appropriate to determine who else on campus may have been exposed. The COVID Coordinator will coordinate an investigation of any COVID-19 illness and determine if any factors could have contributed to the risk of infection. County Public Health will determine who the contacts are and make recommendations on communicating with those who may have been exposed. If students require isolation or quarantine, and are able to do so safely in their homes, the University will work to help support those services as long as open rooms are available to accommodate the need.

If Identified by HSU or Self-reported to the University
Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must report this result to either the SHC (for students) or HR (for employees). Any supervisor who receives a report from an individual who has  tested positive for COVID-19 must report that information to the  COVID Coordinator. The COVID Coordinator will notify and confirm with County Public Health that the individual is a positive case that poses a risk to campus. The COVID Coordinator will work with either HR or SHC to determine next steps for the individual. The COVID Coordinator will assist County Public Health in determining who else may have been exposed. County Public Health will determine who the contacts are and make recommendations on contacting those who may have been exposed. If students require isolation or quarantine, and are not able to do so safely in their homes, the University will work to help support those services as long as open rooms are available to accommodate the need. Priority will be given to on-campus students over off-campus students.

3 or more people with an active infection, identified within 14 days
Three or more positive cases identified within the span of 14 days will trigger the campus Outbreak Committee to convene and assess the risk. The campus Outbreak Committee would work with contact tracers from County Public Health and the campus COVID Coordinator to determine if the cases are the result of a cluster or independent cases counts. The Infectious Disease Response Team will provide recommendations to PMG.

Should classes need to be quarantined, the COVID Coordinator will notify the EOC Director immediately. The COVID Coordinator may assist in the notification of Academic Affairs EOC liaisons as directed by the EOC Director. 

Housing resident(s) confirmed positive
When a positive case is identified as a housing resident, the SHC medical director will notify those identified for initial notification. The director of Housing will follow up with the SHC medical director for details and will notify the COVID Coordinator with pertinent details for tracking.  

The student resident will be moved to the designated isolation rooms on campus. It should be assumed that anyone who might be sharing a suite with the positive student has been exposed. Therefore, students will be moved to isolation rooms until all potentially exposed students have their own restrooms. Additional Housing residents may need to be relocated per County Public Health’s contact tracing protocols. Once a direct contact has been identified by County Public Health, the SHC will contact those identified for initial notification. 

 

Closures / Suspension of Classes & Activities

Closure of a Face-to-Face Course/Class
If conditions warrant closure of a specific class to F2F instruction, instruction will pivot to virtual. Once cleared for return to F2F instruction by the Infectious Disease Response Team, it will be up to the discretion of the instructors in consultation with the college dean to determine whether the class remains virtual. Only the PMG is authorized to cancel classes due to COVID-19. 

Athletics Suspension of Skill Instruction and Face-to-face Activity
If conditions warrant, intercollegiate athletics skill instruction or F2F instruction will be suspended for the impacted sport immediately. Once cleared for return by the Infectious Disease Response Team, the return to skill instruction and F2F activity will be up to the discretion of the Athletics COVID Taskforce in consultation with the director of Athletics.

Campus Facilities
Should it be determined that an entire facility meets the criteria for comprehensive decontamination as a result of a positive case being associated with the use of that space, the COVID Coordinator would work with Facilities to decontaminate the space immediately. For most buildings, this process would close the building for up to three hours. 

 

Potential Cases

Indirect Contacts of a Positive Case
It is expected that there will be individuals who are indirect contacts of known cases and may become symptomatic or self-report as being a direct contact. 

Direct Contacts of a Positive Case
Direct contacts of a confirmed positive case will be notified by County Public Health. There may be times where an individual becomes aware that they are a direct contact of someone who has tested positive prior to being contacted by County Public Health. In this instance that individual should notify County Public Health and seek direction from them. County Public Health will direct the individual if they are required to quarantine for 14 days and/or get tested for COVID-19. Should County Public Health require testing, the individual will not be able to come to campus until they have received a negative test result. Employees should be given the option to work remotely during this time or work with HR to receive the applicable leave. Should the employee test positive themselves they will be required to show that they have been released by County Public Health from isolation.

Wellness Self-Check Failure
If you have any of the listed symptoms that are uncommon for you (for example, many people have allergies and may have some of those symptoms regularly), please do not come to campus and follow the appropriate guidelines. 

Students who fail their wellness self-check are not permitted to attend any face-to-face instruction, on-campus activity, or field placements; use any Dining facility or communal spaces on campus (SRC, etc.). Students should:

  • Inform your instructor immediately. You do not need to disclose why you did not pass the wellness self-check—only that you are not cleared to come to campus.

  • Call to schedule an appointment with the Student Health Center (SHC) and let the SHC know that you failed wellness self-check. You don’t need to indicate reason.

  • Provide Campus COVID Coordinator Jen Sanford (jennifer.sanford@humboldt.edu) with a doctor’s note (from either your primary care provider or the SHC) or results of a negative COVID-19 test result clearing you to return to face-to-face instruction or in-person activities.

  • The Campus COVID Coordinator will work with the Dean of Students to notify your instructors once you have been cleared to return to campus activities/instruction/placement.

  • Notify Housing (for student residents) that COVID-19 test results are pending, should a test be deemed appropriate.

  • Notify your supervisor if you are a student employee. 

  • Notify the SHC if you have tested positive and have been on campus for ANY reason. 

  • If you have not been on campus but are in a field placement program, such as an internship, and have been exposed or tested positive you must inform the SHC. You should follow the policies of your placement employer on return to work protocols. 

Faculty who have a student report failing a wellness self-check should:

  • Instruct the student to contact the SHC immediately. Notify them that they cannot participate in any face-to-face instruction or activities until they have either a doctor’s note clearing them or evidence of a negative COVID test.

  • Notify Campus COVID Coordinator Jen Sanford (jennifer.sanford@humboldt.edu) of the student’s name and the date that they have reported failing their wellness self-check.

  • Wait to be notified (by the Dean of Students office or the Campus COVID Coordinator) that the student is cleared to return to face-to-face instruction or in-person activities.

  • Reach out to the Provost’s office should you need additional guidance or have questions or concerns regarding the potential for exposure to themselves or their classes. A failed wellness self-check is not a reason in itself to cancel classes without the further input from the Provost’s office and the Campus Outbreak Committee.

  • Unless advised to do so from the Provost’s office, DO NOT notify other students or supply any names to students in regards to potential exposures. Medical information of this type is protected by privacy laws.

Employees (including contractors, vendors, and student employees) who fail their wellness self-check should: 

  • Immediately notify your supervisor that you have failed your wellness self-check. You do not need to disclose your symptoms or why you have failed your wellness self-check.

  • Provide either a note from your doctor or a negative COVID-19 test result to return to work. 

  • Notify Scott Kasper (scott.kasper@humboldt.edu) or Michelle Caisse (michelle.caisse@humboldt.edu) for University Center employees in Human Resources immediately if you test positive for COVID-19 and HR will notify the Campus COVID. You will be able to return to work once given permission by Humboldt County Public Health to be released from isolation. Employees should receive notification of their release from isolation in writing from HCPH and provide that notification to HR.

  • Contact HR about what leave options may be available.

  • Student employees, depending on their situation, must also call the SHC, Housing if they live on campus, etc. and follow the student protocols listed above.

Supervisors who have an employee who fails their wellness self-check:

  • Notify the employee of what they need to do to be able to return to work. 

  • Notify Scott Kasper (scott.kasper@humboldt.edu) for HSU employees or Michelle Caisse for University Center employees (michelle.caisse@humboldt.edu) with the employee’s name. The appropriate HR person or the Campus COVID Coordinator Jen Sanford (jennifer.sanford@humboldt.edu) will notify you once the employee is released to return to work.

  • Report immediately to your respective HR department that an employee has disclosed that they have tested positive for COVID-19. The Campus COVID Coordinator will work with HR and the Campus Outbreak. Committee to determine potential exposure to the rest of the workplace.

  • Contact the Campus COVID Coordinator, Jen Sanford, if you have questions or concerns regarding potential exposure.

Communication

Communication about positive cases will be the responsibility of the COVID Coordinator. They will notify the Public Information Officer (PIO) with the daily case count. No less than once each week on the Campus Ready website dashboard. The COVID coordinator will also notify the EOC Coordinator of updated case counts so that they can communicate that to campus leadership prior to the case count being updated on the website.

Should an employee be confirmed by County Public Health as being positive and an exposure risk to campus,  the University has 24 hours to notify all those who worked in the same buildings as the employee who tested positive that they were potentially exposed. This may be accomplished in a variety of methods that include: a banner on the Campus Ready website, a campus-wide message, or targeted messaging to those through the essential personnel list utilizing the building identification information. 

Protected Information

California State University categorizes medical information as Level 1 data. Information that the CSU learns about an employee or student’s medical condition, such as being COVID-19-positive, is Level 1 data. Medical information is protected by state medical privacy law (Cal. Civil Code Section 56, et al.) and also by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for students. Ordinarily, this information is carefully maintained and consent from the person must be received in order for it to be disclosed further. However, given the contagious nature of COVID-19, knowledge of a positive case must be disclosed to local public health authorities according to state law (Cal. Health and Safety Code Section 120250, Cal. Civil Code Section 56.30); this disclosure permits the local health authority to be able to perform contact tracing and order quarantine as needed to prevent further spread of this contagious disease (Cal. Health and Safety Code Section 120175). FERPA also permits disclosure of protected information without a student’s consent where the campus determines the disclosure of that protected information to a particular party, such as the local public health officer, is necessary to protect the health and safety of students and staff. (34 C.F.R. Section 99.36.)

When sharing information about a COVID-19 positive person who has been on campus, the communication should not include the person’s name  and should be made only as needed to protect the receiving party’s own health and safety. Those determined to be contacts should be given details about when and where the person was on campus, but not their name. When a disclosure is made to the local public health authority, by contrast, the disclosure will include the person’s name. Similarly, if the disclosure is to another employee who needs to know the person’s identity in order to perform their job for CSU, it may be disclosed and that person also must be instructed not to disclose the person’s identity any further.  

The use, disclosure, and maintenance of this information by campus employees needs to be cognizant of its sensitive, private nature and Level 1 categorization; these records should be securely maintained at all times, in accordance with CSU privacy and security policy.