Sep 20, 2020  
Policies and Procedures Manual 
Policies and Procedures Manual

09:05:00 Communicable Diseases and/or Life-Threatening Illnesses

Revision Responsibility: Dean of Students & Executive Director of Human Resources
Responsible Executive Officer: Vice President for Student Affairs/Vice President for Business Affairs
Source/Reference: TBR Policy 5:01:01:18; HR Emergency Procedures and the Americans with Disabilities Act


To establish procedures for employees and/or students who acquire a communicable disease or life threatening illness, which may affect their health, safety, welfare, and that of others with whom they contact, and the reporting of such diseases/illnesses. 


  1. Definition

  • Communicable Disease – T.C.A. 68 Rule 1200-14-01-.01 of the Rules of Tennessee Department of Health, Health Services Administration defines communicable disease as an illness due to an infectious agent or its toxic products which is transmitted directly or indirectly to a well person from an infected person or animal, or through the agency of an intermediate animal host, vector, or inanimate environment.
  1. Administrative Procedure

Walters State Community College will make reasonable accommodations, in accordance with all legal requirements, to allow employees and students with communicable diseases or life-threatening illnesses to perform the essential functions of their job and/or academic responsibilities. The number of personnel aware of the employee’s or student’s condition will be kept at a minimum to ensure proper care of the employee or student and to detect situations in which the potential for transmission of the communicable disease may increase. Persons deemed to have “a need to know” will be provided with the appropriate information; however, these persons shall not further disclose such information.

All medical information concerning employees and students is confidential. Walters State will take the necessary precautions to protect medical information from inappropriate disclosure. Faculty, administrators, and other employees have a responsibility to respect and maintain the confidentiality of  employee and student medical information. Anyone inappropriately disclosing medical information is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Decisions that Walters State makes about employees and students with communicable diseases and/or  life-threatening illnesses will be based on current information concerning the disease, the risks of  transmitting the disease to others, the symptoms, and special circumstances of each individual who has a communicable disease or a life-threatening illness. This may be done on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Procedures Relating to Employees and Students

Employees and students with identified communicable diseases or life-threatening illnesses may work or attend college whenever, through reasonable accommodation, the risk of transmission of the disease (illness) or the risk of further injury is sufficiently remote.

Any course of action taken by the college with regard to this procedure will consider:

  • The physical condition of the employee or student;
  • The expected type of interaction the employee or student will have with others in the College setting;
  • The potential risk factors for the employee or student and others in the College setting;
  • The current available public health department guidelines concerning the particular disease in question, and
  • Any other appropriate factors.


If it is the decision of the college president, or designee, that an employee or student with a communicable disease is not to be permitted to attend work or classes or participate in college activities with other employees or students because he/she poses a serious health risk to others, the president or designee shall notify the employee or student of the intended action in writing. After receiving notification, the employee or student shall be entitled to due process through normal grievance procedures.

Before an employee or student is allowed to return to work or resume academic activities, the employee or student must provide a note from a clinic, the applicable department of health, and/or a physician that they no longer pose a risk (non-communicable) for their own health, safety, welfare, or that of others with whom they come in contact.

  1. Responsibilities 

The dean of students  and the chief human resources officer will ensure that communicable disease educational outreach programs are developed to provide employees and students with appropriate factual material regarding disease matters and precautions. Should the college become aware of any employee or student who is infected with a communicable disease, the president or designee will be responsible for recommending action for the employee or student status of the individual; assessing the possible risk to other employees and/or students; and communicating with the appropriate health department authorities as required. Responsibilities will also include the confirmation of potential claims of communicable diseases by either employees or students.

There may be incidents that arise on the college campus that will require an institutional response to employees and students. Following confirmation, the president, council of vice presidents. chief human resources officer, and director of campus police & emergency preparedness will seek appropriate medical advice and discuss. Confidentiality should be maintained at all times. The president or designee will review the issues and will determine the appropriate action, based on the information regarding the employee and/or the student.

The vice president for business affairs will work with the coordinator of custodial services & co-coordinator of environmental health & safety to ensure that appropriate precautions are implemented to minimize the risk of further exposure in the spread of communicable diseases and/or life-threatening illnesses. This will include special attention to custodial and public safety employees.

  1. Communication and External Inquiries

Decisions concerning official communications will be referred to the vice president for communications and marketing and all communications with external stakeholders will be disseminated from the president’s office. The college will follow Tennessee Department of Health guidance for reporting occurrences to appropriate health authorities.

Walters State will comply with all applicable regulations that protect the privacy of persons who have a communicable disease or a life-threatening illness. Every effort will be made to ensure that procedurally sufficient safeguards are in place to maintain the confidentiality of medical information, which will only be disclosed to those individuals who have a legitimate need to know.

Questions about communicable diseases or life-threatening illnesses should be directed to the chief human resources officer, the dean of students, or the college’s Employee Assistance Program for information and referral to appropriate services and resources, if applicable.

Provisions of this policy may supersede other policies when a communicable disease emergency has been declared. 06/19.