Preventing the spread of disease at your university may seem like a huge challenge. Think about it. You are responsible for keeping the safety and well being of your students, faculty, staff, as well as guests.
Many universities are implementing online initiatives using distance learning headsets and video conferencing tools. But some physical presence by students and faculty is still required or desired in many cases!
At your university, the faculty and staff are committed to the student’s welfare. The federal government and other private organizations have set up various programs that help you prevent the spread of disease. They have also recommended you to adopt and implement policies to educate and control the spread of disease on your campus.
It is also a unique challenge. Your University will be facing challenges that may affect your ability to protect and prevent the spread of disease. Because of the size and scope of your institution, you have to consider each of these issues carefully.
The first concern is how will you handle employee and guest health facilities? The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have recommended that all schools which allow employees and students to stay overnight in their residence halls provide adequate and accessible guest health services. This should include 24-hour emergency room services for students. The students have the right to contact anyone that they feel needs their help, and they have the right to visit any hospital they choose.
The second issue is research. Your University will want to ensure it is ready for the growing need for lab space, funding, computer resources, etc. The school needs to set up projects and a budget for this. Most schools have local, state, and federal funding available to them to handle the increased demand for their services.
The third issue is the student’s safety and well being. You will have students coming in contact with a large number of different and potentially harmful viruses, bacteria, chemicals, including pesticides, pesticides without proper labeling, cleaning supplies, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, as well as many other harmful chemicals.
The fourth issue is exposure to viruses and bacteria through visitors. Every visitor signing into a logbook is using the same pen, or the same check-in kiosk? It’s a source of possible infection to be aware of. To solve, either start disinfecting your kiosk down between visitors, or switch to Greetly’s new contactless visitor management system.
As these threats are added into our environment at an increasing rate, we will need to better prepare our students. In many cases, we are only informed of the hazards after it is too late. Since they are in our schools, schools can be very vulnerable to the problems.
For example, if someone accidentally ingested pesticide, a school would need to be prepared to deal with an overdose and/or employee health facilities. If an allergy was discovered on a student, that student would likely require medical assistance or a temporary leave from school.
This requires having the correct supplies on hand that will help in the proper diagnosis of the individual, and treatment of the symptoms. Obviously, if the individual becomes ill, the individual cannot return to school until the illness is properly treated.
In order to keep our campuses safe, we don’t need to wait until the disease is fully developed before acting. There is no way for us to know that the bacteria will continue to grow unchecked, and when they do, they will begin to multiply quickly. Once bacteria have begun to multiply, it’s just a matter of time before they have the opportunity to infect someone.
The third issue, as stated earlier, is the rise in the number of COVID-19 outbreaks that will occur at our schools. These outbreaks, if allowed to persist, will create a need for the school to be more closely monitored by health authorities. It will require the Department of Public Health to follow current best practices, and it will require us to put a larger focus on prevention in order to ensure that our buildings are not hit.