Infection Control Plan

Respiratory viruses, such as influenza, are highly contagious.  Seasonal outbreaks of these often occur in communities during the fall and winter.  During a typical flu season, 5–20% of the U.S. population becomes ill; more than 200,000 are hospitalized, and about 36,000 die.  Influenza spreads from person to person mainly in respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. 

At unpredictable intervals, a novel (new) virus, such as the novel coronavirus (SARs CoV-2), appear in humans for which there is no immunity.  If the novel virus is transmitted easily from person to person and causes significant illness, this creates the setting for a pandemic, a large-scale outbreak of illness with the rapid spread from person to person and country to country.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for announcing a global pandemic.

Pandemics are about people and the interruptions in their everyday lives.  It is expected that a pandemic may have a worldwide impact with an unpredictable timeline, comprising multiple events or waves, and spreading quickly from one urban area to another.  Major disruptions are likely for health care, transportation, education, and other public services.  Higher education may be severely impacted.

As more information and response strategies develop and become available, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) Infection Control Plan will be updated. 

PURPOSE

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Infection Control Plan serves to provide the overarching guidance in developing response plans and subsequent activities, leading to pandemic preparedness.  Key departments may need to develop their own internal response plans to address specific issues within their area related to the threat of excessive absenteeism or campus closures.

The PAFA community has an obligation to be responsive as with any community and even more, given the social and communal nature of a college campus.  Further planning, collaboration and training will prove to be essential in reducing the impact of a pandemic outbreak and while maintaining the critical operations of PAFA.

This plan is a dynamic document and will be revised as dictated by circumstances or changes in information.

OBJECTIVES

The greatest effect on PAFA will be absenteeism and campus closure due to an outbreak.  The focus of this plan is to prepare PAFA to respond to high absenteeism and the possible curtailment of specific activities.  This plan is guided by the following principles:

  • Protect and support the health, safety, and welfare of our faculty, staff and students, as well as the assets of the college;
  • Maintain a commitment to the college missions to provide instruction and services;
  • Provide resources and services to address the diverse needs of the college community 
  • Maintain business and administrative operations;
  • Recover as quickly and efficiently as possible if any activities are interrupted or suspended;
  • Ensure multi-modal communications within the college community, the local communities, and with stakeholders;
  • Establish benchmarks or “triggers” to prompt prudent actions;

To the extent feasible, extend the services or expertise of the college to benefit our community including neighbors, community partners and agencies, and educational and civic partners.

AUTHORITY

The State of Pennsylvania has the primary responsibility for public health matters within its borders, including isolation and quarantine authority.  That authority is usually exercised locally by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  In a pandemic situation, the Department of Public Health collects and analyzes health information, conducts epidemiologic investigations, institutes isolation and quarantine measures and, may close any facility if there is reasonable cause to believe that the facility in question may endanger the public health.  The College has authority to take actions to minimize the impact of a pandemic on the College.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE COORDINATION TEAM

The Senior Vice President of Human Resources and the Vice President of Safety and Security will act as the coordination team (“Coordinators”) for PAFA.  The Coordinators are responsible for monitoring and managing the day-to-day response for PAFA, providing information to the President, the Core Response Team and the college community via emergency communications protocols.

RISK ASSESSMENT 

As a novel (new) disease spreads throughout the world, people have little or no immunity and there will be limited vaccines available during the initial onset, which may result in a pandemic.  The assumptions used in this planning process are:

  1. A pandemic is a public health emergency that takes on significant political, social, and economic dimensions and will be governed by factors that cannot be known in advance.
  1. A pandemic could last from 18 months to several years with at least two peak waves of activity.  In an affected community, a pandemic wave may last about 6 to 8 weeks.
  1. Vaccinations and antiviral treatment are anticipated to be the most effective medical treatment, but they may be in limited supply.
  1. Non-medical containment measures will be principal means of disease control until enough vaccinations are available.
  1. If the pandemic becomes severe, the economic impact is likely to be significant, though predications are subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
  1. Once the pandemic has run its course, economic activity should recover relatively quickly, although a severe pandemic will have a more disruptive effect.
  1. High absenteeism rates (students and staff) constitute the greatest challenge to PAFA.

RESPONSE GUIDELINES

Illness Severity

The complete clinical picture with regard to the new coronavirus are not fully understood.  Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death.  Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness and death.

Below are four (4) scenarios that should be considered in order to protect student, faculty, and staff.  The current scenarios are based on current conditions as it relates to the COVID-19 Virus.  Conditions may change based on information received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  

Scenario 1 Measures already underway to prevent the spread of a new virus such as COVID-19

Pursuant to prior guidance released, campus administrators have or should immediately take steps to slow the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.  The following are recommended steps PAFA should follow:

  • Review and update emergency operations plans, including continuity plans for teaching and learning if students are excluded from campus.
  • Exclude students, faculty, or staff who have travel history over the course of the last 14 days to an area identified by the CDC as Level 3 Travel Health Notice (see CDC’s Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation) or travel to restricted US States per Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) travel notices.  Additionally, exclude those who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 from the campus for 14 days from the day of their last exposure.
  • Students, faculty, and staff who present with fever and/or respiratory or other COVID-19 related symptoms should stay home and consult with healthcare professionals, manager and or Human Resources for guidance. When feasible, identify a “sick room” through which others do not regularly pass COVID-19 related symptoms include:
    • Coughing
    • Fever 
    • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing 
    • Chills
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion
    • Runny Nose
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Isolate the individual as much as possible from others and arrange for the individual to go home as soon as possible.
  • Develop a communications plan to use with the college community and all constituencies.
  • Encourage all students, faculty, and staff to take everyday preventive actions.
  • Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines and improvement of symptoms
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing.
  • Use “respiratory etiquette”.
  • Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve.  See CDC’s Cover Your Cough page for multilingual posters and flyers, posted at the bottom of the webpage
  • Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers to supplement hand washing.
  • Enhance cleaning consistent with CDC guidelines.

Scenario 2:  Measures to be taken if there are two or more community transmission cases of a new virus such as the COVID-19 virus, but no staff or students test positive

If the local health department has confirmed two or more community transmission cases, but no individuals (staff or students) at PAFA have tested positive for the virus, in addition to the items outlined in Scenario 1 the following steps should be implemented:

  • Faculty and staff with any fever and/or COVID-19 related symptoms should not be at work.  Faculty and staff should self-screen (check themselves for subjective fever and/or COVID-19 related symptoms each morning before interacting with students.
  • Ensure sick leave policies allow faculty and staff to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Limit visitors to the campus by not allowing those with fever and/or COVID-19 related symptoms or who have a travel history over the course of the last 14 days to an area identified by the CDC with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice or PA DOH Restricted US States Travel Notice.
  • Consider alternatives to congregated programming within PAFA including any large or communal activities.

Scenario 3:  Measures to be taken if one student, faculty or staff member tests positive for the virus and exposed others at PAFA

If 3 or less students, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, and exposed others at PAFA the following steps should be implemented:

  • Isolate the student, faculty or staff and immediately contact your local public health department.
  • Implement communications plans for campus closure to include outreach to students, faculty, staff, and the community.
  • Provide guidance to students, faculty and staff reminding them of the importance of community social distancing measures while campus is closed, including discouraging students or staff from gathering elsewhere.  Community social distancing measures include canceling group activities or events.
  • Initiate the plan for continuity of instructional and support services and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
  • Maintain regular communications with the local public health department.
  • Consult CDC guidelines to determine what additional cleaning protocols, if any, should be deployed at the campus prior to reopening 

At Risk Populations

Older individual and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.  Steps to consider and or implement include:

  • Cancellation of Classes
  • If feasible move temporarily to remote instructional methodologies
  • Determine the limit of the closure and any additional steps needed for PAFA to reopen; temporary closure may be necessary to assess and clean facilities.  Additionally, this may not include a complete closure.  This determination will be made by the President in consultation with the local health department.

Scenario IV:  Measures to be taken if multiple students, faculty or other employees test positive for COVID-19 on a campus

If 4 or more students, faculty, or staff on campus test positive for COVID-19, the President should consult with local public health officials for guidance on closing the campus.

  • In consultation with the local public health department, the President may determine the extent of the campus closure and what length of time is warranted based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local public health officer.
  • Initiate communication plans for campus closure to include outreach to students, faculty, staff, and the community.
  • Provide guidance to students, faculty and staff reminding them of the importance of community social distancing measures while campus is closed, including discouraging students or staff from gathering elsewhere.  
  • Continue the plan for continuity of instructional and support services, adjusting as needed and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
  • Maintain regular communications with the local public health department.
  • Work with the local public health department to determine what additional cleaning protocols, if any, should be deployed at the campus prior to reopening the campus.
  • Determine the timing of return of students and staff, and any additional steps needed for the campus to reopen, in consultation with the local public health department.

Additional Resources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website:  www.cdc.gov
  • Philadelphia Department of Health Website:  www.phila.gov

CRITICAL & ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

A complete closure of PAFA is not expected; however, if the severity of the pandemic increases, PAFA may have to cease social activities for some period (i.e., classes, public activities).  The following critical functions will need to be maintained if we are ordered to close:

Critical and Essential Functions Responsible Groups
Essential administrative functions, which include employee leave, benefits, and employment questions, establishing a labor pool to maintain critical functions, purchasing, payroll and student financial aid.  Office of the President
School
Administration
Student Services
Human Resources 
Financial/Business Services
Admissions
Museum
Safety and Security of the students, staff, faculty Safety and Security
Maintenance of infrastructure, utilities, custodial Facilities
Community and media information Information Infrastructure  Public Relations
Marketing
Information Technology

The Manager/Supervisor of each Department will:

  • Plan on how to operate during a period of excessive absenteeism.
  • Plan on how to maintain critical and essential functions if PAFA must close.  Consider what functions could be delayed or postponed or could be completed via telecommuting.
  • Identify, by name, the minimum number of staff needed.
  • Identify contact numbers and emails address for all staff.

Copies of those plans are to be submitted to the President.

PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS / CAMPUS WIDE ISSUES

School Administration

The School Administration should encourage faculty to consider developing alternate methods to deliver classroom instruction and materials in the event of a campus shutdown.  Information, as available will be distributed and posted online.

Student Housing – Stiles Hall

The Office of Student Affairs should create and support educational campaigns related to mitigating transmission of communicable diseases that spread easily in community living including information on handwashing, healthy living, and self-care.  This can include flyers, email notices and website.

If a case is confirmed for a Stiles Hall student, the student should be housed in a private room.  Anticipating the need for more private rooms, a floor with multiple open rooms should be considered.

Museum

The Museum should consider how best to decrease the spread and lower the impact of a pandemic in the workplace in the event of an outbreak in our geographic area.  We should plan to minimize exposure between employees and between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.

In accordance with American Alliance of Museums, PAFA will consider the following action for reopening to the public after a pandemic.

  • Restrict contact, capacity, and access as part of your museum’s phased approach, consider how you will limit person-to-person contact, monitor the number of visitors, and restrict or prohibit access to certain areas of the museum. 
  • Online ticket sales only if this is an option for your museum. Alternatively, limit cash and paper receipt transactions. “Touchless” payment options are recommended.
  • Providing digital visitor guides and materials instead of physical copies at the museum. 
  • Regulating interactives (e.g., touchscreens) by providing disposable stylus pens, or if unavailable, signage or physical barriers to prohibit use. 
  • Capacity restrictions for visitors including timed tickets for entry and monitoring traffic flow (e.g., only allowing a certain number of visitors in a space at a given time). 
  • No or limited access to theaters, cafés, high-traffic areas, and particularly tight spaces in the museum. 
  • Using signage or barriers to enforce physical distancing guidelines, including at ticketing and information desks, in shops/cafés, and for security guards.
  • Establish one-way flow through the museum and within galleries, to facilitate distancing. 

Human Resources

The primary effects of a novel pandemic will be on staffing levels.  Unlike natural disasters, pandemics do not damage property or equipment; the effects are mainly human resource oriented.  Absenteeism may be for a variety of reasons:  illness/incapacity, caring for other family members, or school closures.  Human Resources will develop guidelines and provide answers to frequently asked questions related to leave, benefits, payroll and employment.  Several issues will need examination.

Workplace safety

Employers have to ensure their workplaces are as safe as they can be. Employees, students and visitors alike may have fears of returning to business as usual.

Safety measures include:

  • Implementing employee health screening procedures including temperature and signs and symptoms monitoring 
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as: Masks, gloves, face shields, etc.; Personal hand sanitizer.
  • Detailing cleaning procedures that have been approved by the President and Director or Facilities.
  • Establishing physical distancing measures within the workplace:  Staggered shifts and lunch/rest breaks; Rotating weeks in the office and working remotely; Moving workstations to increase separation distance; Implementing one-way traffic patterns throughout workplace.
  • Restricting business travel and following government guidance to ease restrictions over time.
  • Understanding and complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) record-keeping and reporting obligations:  Identify positions, if any, with the potential for occupational exposure to the coronavirus; Review OSHA regulation 29 CFR § 1904 to determine work-relatedness of illnesses.

Employee Benefits

Whether employees remained on the employer’s benefits plans or not, certain notices or actions may be required to stay compliant. Communicating these changes to employees should be done as soon as possible.

  • Group health insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • 403(b) or other pension plans
  • Paid leave

Communications

Establishing a clear communication plan will allow employees, students and visitors to understand how PAFA plans to reopen or reestablish business processes. 

Topics to cover may include:

  • How staying home if sick and physical distancing policies are being used to protect workers and customers.
  • Detail what training on new workplace safety and disinfection protocols have been implemented.
  • Have exposure-response communications ready to go to any affected employees and customers.
  • Have media communications ready to release on topics such as return-to-work timetables, safety protections in place, and how else PAFA is supporting employees, students, and visitors. Prepare to respond to the media for workplace exposures. 

Policy changes

It is no longer business as usual, and employers will likely need to update or create policies to reflect the new normal. Some examples include:

  • Paid-leave policies adjusted to reflect regulatory requirements and actual business needs.
  • Attendance policies relaxed to encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Time-off request procedures clarified to indicate when time off can be required by the employer, should sick employees need to be sent home. 
  • Flexible scheduling options implemented allowing for compressed workweeks and flexible start and stop times. 
  • Meal and rest break policies adjusted to stagger times and processes implemented to encourage physical distancing.
  • Travel policies updated to reflect essential versus nonessential travel and the impact of domestic or global travel restrictions. 
  • Telecommuting policies detailed to reflect the type of work that can be done remotely and the procedures for requesting telework. 
  • Information technology policies revised to reflect remote work hardware, software and support. 

Information Technology Infrastructure

During a level two or three pandemic event, it is possible that PAFA’s information technology systems may become overloaded with increased volume.  If public health plans call for social isolation, more staff, students, and faculty will be trying to “telecommute” and that will result in a change in normal network traffic patterns and increased demand placed upon network equipment and communication links to the internet.  Information Services should develop strategies to inform the community about issues related to telecommuting and alternatives to meetings and presentations.

Travel

Based on travel restrictions imposed by the state or federal government, PAFA should limit official travel to areas with high infection rates.

Public Health/Hygiene Etiquette

Access to vaccines and antiviral drugs during the pandemic will be extremely limited.  Non-medical interventions may be the only way to delay the spread of the disease.  Non-medical interventions include limited social gatherings and using infection control measures to avoid spreading the disease.  The CDC defines influenza-like illness as having a fever of 100.4-degree Fahrenheit or higher AND one of the following, cough or sore throat.  Other symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache and new loss of taste or smell.  The best guidance available is:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and away from work until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, handkerchief, or the sleeve of your clothing when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

COMMUNICATION

Communication strategies are an essential component in managing any disease outbreak and are crucial in a novel pandemic.  Accurate, timely, and consistent information at all levels is critical to minimize unwanted and unforeseen consequences and to maximize the practical outcome of the response.

The Core Response Team will be responsible for developing the information that will be distributed via PAFA’s website, publications, posters and flyers, voice mail, e-mail, and regular mail.

RECOVERY

Recovery begins immediately and continues throughout the response phase of any emergency/disaster.  With the novel pandemic, recovery efforts may be thwarted by an unknown duration of the actual event and the unknown number of faculty, staff, and students affected.

Business Resumption

Based on the best available information, the Core Response Team will conduct ongoing reviews of the international/national/local and PAFA’s situation and make a recommendation to the President about the appropriate response level and recommend a partial, incremental, or total return to normal operations.

Psychological Support for Staff, Faculty, Students

After a pandemic wave is over, it can be expected that many people will be affected in a variety of ways.  They may have lost friends and relatives, suffer from fatigue, or have financial losses as a result of the interruption of work.  Services available to staff, faculty, and students through PAFA resources will be communicated through all available means.

Analysis and After-Action Reports

Once the resumption of classes, and PAFA business and operations is underway, debriefings will be convened to discuss the response and recovery, changes necessary to current plans, and opportunities for improvement to future disasters.

With any pandemic, actions may be fluid and can rapidly change.  The actions of PAFA will reflect the guidelines of the Philadelphia Public Health Department and any emergency declaration with authority to mandate action.