SUNY Campuses Implement Preventative Measures Against Ebola

The ebola virus. creative commons
Originally posted October 27, 2014 in the Legislative Gazette.

SUNY campuses across the state announced they would be implementing policy modifications as a precautionary measure against Ebola.

In a memo sent to campus officials, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said the statewide network of colleges will be taking several measures to address the Ebola crisis.

One of those measures is the designation of two SUNY hospitals, Stony Brook University Hospital and the SUNY Upstate Medical University, as part of a statewide network of hospitals that will treat potential patients.

Another measure entails expanding the SUNY-Ebola Working Group to include campus specialists in medical management, public health, emergency management, international programs and student services.

The Steering Committee for the group is led by Dr. John Williams, president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which will meet on a regular basis to monitor the situation locally and will work to ensure information is up-to-date.

Campuses will be required to designate a primary contact person to deal with Ebola-related issues. The designated contact person will communicate with the SUNY Ebola Working Group to share information with campus officials and stakeholders.

Campus-sponsored or approved travel to countries with current Centers for Disease Control-issued Level 3 travel warnings has been banned.

Currently, countries with that designation include Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The ban applies to all campus-related or funded activities including study abroad, Research Foundation grant activity, and other travel.

Campuses must also work to identify potential travelers from affected areas. Student Health Services should contact these individuals and offer them education and self-monitoring support.

Campuses will be required to comply with the CDC, the New York state Department of Health, and, if applicable, local public health authorities.

All 64 campuses are to conduct simulated emergency drills and to review their standard operating procedures for health centers.

The three hospitals in the SUNY system— Stony Brook University Hospital, SUNY Upstate University Hospital, and the SUNY Downstate Medical Center have already been involved in drills relating to patient recognition and isolation, with preparedness drilling continuing at the hospitals.

Additionally, campuses should plan to review previous public health emergency planning documents and continue circulating information on Ebola and campus procedures to the entire campus community.

Keith Ferrante

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