Health Risk to College Community Procedure

Mohawk College is committed to responding effectively to extraordinary situations involving health risks that could potentially have adverse effects on the Mohawk College community. This procedure outlines an approved approach for responding to risks or potential risks associated with Public Health regulated reportable communicable disease to prevent the spread of communicable diseases to others.

On this page

  1. Application and Scope
  2. Definitions
  3. Procedures for Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Communicable Disease
  4. Health Risks involving Third Parties
  5. Student Participation in Clinical and Field Placements
  6. Communication
  7. Attachments
  8. Specific Links
  9. Attachment 1 - Contact Information

1. Application and Scope

This procedure applies to reportable communicable diseases and is not intended to address a pandemic. A pandemic is an infectious disease outbreak of a large scale, with spread of contagion provincially, nationally or globally and is dealt with at the direction of Public Health and in accordance with the College’s Pandemic Plan. In consultation and partnership with Public Health, the following procedure applies to all Mohawk College campuses including IAHS.

 

2. Definitions

“Communicable Disease” refers to an illness affecting humans that is caused by an organism or microorganism and is transmitted directly or indirectly from an infected person, an animal or the environment to a susceptible person. 

“Direct Contact Transmission” occurs when pathogens are transferred directly from an infected person. 

“Indirect Contact Transmission” involves the transfer of pathogens from a contaminated intermediate source (ex. Door handle, table surface, and object), contaminated instruments or hands. 

“Reportable Communicable Diseases” are communicable diseases that are defined by the Health Protection and Promotion Act, Ontario Regulation 559/91 as reportable. Under the Act, the College is required to contact the Medical Office of Health at Public Health Services any suspected cases of reportable diseases involving staff and students. This list is available at Public Health Services "Reportable Diseases Intake."

 

3. Procedures for Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Communicable Disease

In all circumstances of potential cases of communicable disease or suspected case of a communicable disease, the College will receive direction from Public Health and facilitate information for the College and comply with any precautions and/or procedures that are specified as per the procedures below: 

1. The employee or student will be directed to immediately seek off-site medical attention from their family doctor or medical clinic as appropriate. The employee or student must not seek assistance from a hospital or emergency room or use public transportation to prevent the possible transmission of communicable disease.

2. The employee or student must remain off-campus until a doctor’s note is obtained indicating that the individual is free of communicable disease and/or is non-transmissible before returning to the College. 

  • Employees must report their absence in accordance to departmental procedures.
  • Students will provide a doctor’s note to the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) who will inform other parties as appropriate.

3. In situations where a communicable disease case is confirmed, Public Health will contact the College. Public Health should be connected with the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) who will receive direction on appropriate next steps. Where the confirmed case involves an employee, the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) will triage Public Health to the Occupational Health and Safety Consultant (or designate) as required.

  • In situations involving employees (excluding IAHS campus) where Public Health does not contact the College, or, where the College becomes aware of a suspected or confirmed case of communicable disease, the Occupational Health and Safety Consultant or designate) will contact Public Health for information. 
  • In situations involving students where Public Health does not contact the College, or, where the College becomes aware of a suspected or confirmed case of communicable disease, the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) will contact Public Health for information. 
  • The Director of the McMaster Student Wellness Centre (or designate) and the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) will communicate any reportable communicable diseases related to the IAHS campus.

4. Where an employee or student suspects that another member of the College community is or may be infected with a communicable disease they must report it to the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives as soon as possible in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario.

 

4. Health Risks involving Third Parties

For threats that originate from or extend to the community external to the College, the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) will receive direction from Public Health and facilitate information for the College and comply with any precautions and/or procedures that are specified. If the health risk involves an employee, the Director of Student Wellness Initiatives (or designate) will triage Public Health to the Occupational Health and Safety Consultant (or designate) as required.

 

5. Student Participation in Clinical and Field Placements

Students enrolled in specific programs or courses may participate in care of patients with communicable diseases as a part of fulfilling academic requirements. The College and partnering institutions are responsible for ensuring that students are appropriately screened and instructed in infection control as it relates to communicable diseases.

 

6. Communication

Depending on the severity of the risk to the College community, the College’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP) may be activated to develop a College response and recovery plan. The College will follow the lead of Public Health and will give students and employees information as appropriate.

 

7. Attachments

 

8. Specific Links

  • CS-1401-1979 Health and Safety Policy
  • CS-1403-2008 Emergency Response Policy
  • ERP802 Internal Crisis Communication Procedure
  • ERP803 College/Campus Emergency Closure Procedure
  • Mohawk College Emergency Response Plan 
  • Mohawk College Pandemic Plan
  • Hamilton Public Health

Attachment 1 - Contact Information

Public Health Services
Telephone: 905-546-2063
Fax: 905-546-4078

Louisa Drost, Director of Student Wellness Initiatives
905-575-1212 EXT. 2435
louisa.drost [at] mohawkcollege.ca

George Georgopoulos, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant
905-575-1212 EXT 2225
george.georgopoulos [at] mohawkcollege.ca