Infectious & Pandemic Disease

Emergency response plan

The college Emergency Response Plan includes additional disease control procedures and information on dealing with a broad range of emergency situations.

College officials are always alert to the potential for natural and human-caused events that may arise around the world which create concerns for students, employees and others in the college community. As a result, the college has processes in place in anticipation of the possible need to respond to impacts from these events.

In the case of potential public-health concerns, the college refers to health and other public-safety experts to help shape an appropriate response that may include messaging, educational efforts or other actions. The college also works through its student and employee support structures to both monitor and inform should action be required.

Ongoing efforts by the college include: 

  • Informational posters about hand-washing and germ-containment practices in all restrooms
  • Restrooms are well-stocked with soap and paper towels
  • Custodial practices including complete restroom cleaning, disinfectant wipe-downs of door handles, and spray disinfectant used on commonly touched surfaces
 

Two current public-health issues in the news are influenza (flu) and coronavirus. In both cases, existing college processes are in place and intended to inform on risks and appropriate actions.

The flu is a common respiratory disease caused by flu viruses, but it is contagious and can be serious, even deadly. Flu is spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces.

Public Health - Seattle & King County conducts influenza surveillance in order to provide information on local influenza activity to health care providers and the public. While flu may contracted at any time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify winter as the most prevalent time for flu. While seasonal flu outbreaks may happen as early as October, flu activity generally peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May, according to the CDC.

Personal Preventative Measures

  • Practice good hygiene: Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

  • Know the signs and symptoms: Look for signs of fever such as feeling very warm, a flushed appearance, and sweating or shivering. A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.

  • Stay home if you are sick: Stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without taking fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

  • Vaccination: According to Public Health for Seattle & King County, the best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Vaccinations are available in a number of locations, from your healthcare provider to local pharmacies and vaccination drives. Ask your healthcare provider if you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu.

Informational Resources

The coronavirus is a respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Prevention:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Please visit the Center for Disease Control's website to learn more.