Coronavirus: Information for Educational Institutions
Feb 28, 2020
Prompted by the rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections across the globe, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) urged the American public to begin taking precautions for the eventual spread of the virus to the United States. The CDC has noted that educational institutions should be prepared for progression of the virus. As a result, schools and colleges are likely to face increasing scrutiny from their constituents regarding plans and preparation to address any infections in their local community.
Both the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health have prepared guidance regarding Coronavirus. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus. The Illinois Department of Public Health site includes specific guidance for K-12 schools and colleges, while the CDC site also includes recommendations for dealing with sick employees.
At the present time, the recommendations for schools and colleges include the following:
- Any student or employee returning from mainland China should not attend school or work for 14 days after the return date.
- Absences for this purpose should be excused.
- Alternative arrangements for telecommuting and completion of online assignments should be developed.
- Family members of these students or employees should not attend work if they also traveled to mainland China.
- If a student or employee who returned from mainland China within the past 14 days develops respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, report this immediately to your Local Health Department.
Educational institutions should create a plan in the event of a local outbreak and communicate it with stakeholders. This plan should include an emergency communication strategy and up-to-date contact information for those involved in implementing the plan. Consultation with local department of health officials is also recommended.
Robbins Schwartz will continue to monitor the development and release of information about Coronavirus that impacts educational institutions. Feel free to contact your Robbins Schwartz attorney with any questions about these new developments.