DePaul University Emergency Plan > Trauma > Communicable Illness / Pandemic Outbreak

Communicable Illness / Pandemic Outbreak

Upon ​learning that a member of the University community has contracted a severe communicable disease, or wide reaching food borne illness, the University will inform local Public Health Officials and comply with any corresponding directives from those Health Officials.  The Incident Commander in conjunction with the Executive Emergency Response Team will have absolute authority over the campus in the event of a communicable illness outbreak.  ​

The Incident Commander in conjunction with the Executive Emergency Response Team will have absolute authority over the campus in the event of a communicable illness outbreak.

The Director of Public Safety will be responsible for all security related issues and will report directly to the Incident Commander during a communicable illness outbreak. If an order is given to evacuate the campus, the Director of Public Safety will have authority over the campus evacuation activities.

The Dean of Students and the VP of Student Affairs will work with Presence Sage Medical Group and will be responsible for managing the health facet of the communicable illness response plan. They will be in charge of providing timely ongoing safety and health information to the Incident Commander.  The Dean of Students, the VP of Student Affairs and Presence Sage Medical Group will work with the city and state authorities and help develop education and training materials for use by staff and students.  ​

Timely and accurate communication with the campus population during a communicable illness/pandemic outbreak is critical.

The University community will be alerted through the e-mail systems and possibly University message boards as described in Communications Annex 2.2. The Vice President for Public Relations and Communications or his/her designee is responsible for coordinating all emergency communications.

For Managers:  

If you are informed that an employee has a communicable illness, please notify the Assistant Director of Emergency Management at 312-362-7078 or chover@depaul.edu 

For Resident Hall Students:

Typically, the Dean of Students office will inform the Department of Housing Services or the Department of Residential Education when they have received information from Presence or any other health services provider regarding a resident that may be a public health concern.

When a Housing Services or Residential Education staff member learns of a student potentially infected with a contagious disease, the staff member will follow their approved University and/or departmental protocol. The Departments of Housing Services and Residential Education will then communicate with others in their areas of the University, to include the Dean of Students, Student Affairs, Facility Operations, Student Centers, Public Safety, etc.

The most ideal scenario for a resident who has been infected with a contagious disease is for the resident to return to his/her primary off-campus residence or assume residence off campus for an appropriate time period, if possible. If returning to a primary off-campus residence or assuming residence off-campus is not an option, the Department of Housing Services has identified spaces where contagious resident(s), or roommates of contagious residents could be temporarily housed for the duration of the contagious period. Only residents with the same illness will be housed together in the isolated housing space. There are a very limited number of vacant spaces on campus that can be used to house students who are ill and if the number of contagious students is higher than the number of spaces available, other housing provisions will need to be considered. The University will follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wherever possible. For less severe contagious disease cases, the University is recommending self-isolation. Many spaces on campus already have a private or semi-private bathroom and as a result, a student staying in their own room until they are symptom free might be the best option. Potential alternate housing options may also exist for seemingly healthy students who may want to be relocated away from a contagious roommate for a short period of time.

Other plans to isolate contagious persons will be enacted based on factors including the number of other cases of contagious persons with the same disease and recommendations or orders from local public health officials.

Housing Services and Residential Education will partner with Student Centers to provide meals and fluids to students who have reported their contagious disease. The Department of Housing Services and Facility Operations will work with any displaced residents to thoroughly clean and sanitize their living quarters when necessary.​​​