Managing a Reported Illness

In an effort to mitigate the spread of disease within the ArtCenter community, the College actively investigates all reports of positive or potential positive cases of COVID-19 that have the potential to directly impact our community. We are working closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department to isolate individuals who are ill with symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19, and to inform and initiate quarantine measures for anyone who is considered a close contact of an ill individual. The director of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHSRM) will facilitate the case investigation and contact tracing process. All confirmed or suspected cases are to be immediately reported to ehs@artcenter.edu.

The most effective method for reducing the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus and the COVID-19 disease is to avoid close and prolonged contact with others, especially anyone who is ill; maintain a minimum of six feet distance from others; wear a face covering; wash your hands frequently with soap and water (hand sanitizer if a sink is not available); avoid touching your mouth, nose, and face; and frequent sanitizing of high-contact surfaces. Anyone who is symptomatic must NOT report to campus.

An initial report of illness is likely to be communicated to a supervisor, manager, faculty member or department chair. It may not be immediately known whether an individual is positive for COVID-19, however, current public health guidelines recommend isolation for any illness consistent with the symptoms of COVID-19. In addition to the ill individual following isolation guidelines, the College will take a series of steps to help mitigate the spread of illness within the campus community.

Immediately following an initial report of illness that is consistent with symptoms of COVID-19, the individual’s primary workspace or classroom(s) will be cleaned and disinfected, and any close contacts on campus will be identified and asked to quarantine for 14 days to monitor for symptoms of illness. Once these actions have been taken, there is no specific need to close a room, office, building or the whole campus unless the investigation identifies the need to do so. However, individual faculty, supervisors and managers should consider the unique characteristics of the exposed area and determine how best to support the sanitizing of  that area and any equipment or materials therein. 

Everyone on campus must follow physical distancing requirements at all times in order to minimize the number of people identified as a close contact to any ill individual. A close contact is defined as a face-to-face contact within six feet for 15 minutes or more, or in some cases, prolonged contact with an ill individual even with physical distancing measures in place, for a period including 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms until the implementation of isolation measures.

In the event the College becomes aware of several simultaneous cases of COVID-19 of unknown or untraceable origin that may constitute an outbreak, College leadership will consult with the Pasadena Public Health Department to determine if additional restrictions or proactive closures are appropriate to implement within the campus community. Additional risk mitigation measures may include the temporarily ramping down of non-essential campus operations, reducing overall campus occupancy or potential closures of buildings.

Per public health guidelines, it is not necessary to inform individuals in an entire building, workspace or classroom about exposure to illness, unless close contacts are unable to be identified. Close contacts of the ill individual will be notified by the director of EHSRM or another member of the Human Resources department about the exposure to the illness. Close contacts will be directed to quarantine for 14 days per the Pasadena Public Health Officer Order. In rare circumstances, a decision may be made to contact all occupants of a building about a potential exposure. This will be managed on a case-by-case basis as part of the initial case investigation process. 

Implementation Details


Notification Procedure
Ill individuals are to report illness directly to ehs@artcenter.edu or hr@artcenter.edu. If the individual is unable to self-report, or it is unknown whether the ill individual has reported their illness, the faculty, department chair, supervisor or manager should submit a report on the ill individual’s behalf to ehs@artcenter.edu or hr@artcenter.edu.

Individuals who self-report will receive the Guidelines for Reported Illness document. The director of EHSRM will confirm the ill individual receives the guidelines. The document outlines procedures about isolation, testing and contact tracing consistent with the Pasadena Public Health Officer Order.

Case Investigation, Testing and Contact Tracing
The director of EHSRM will make contact with the ill individual to begin the case investigation process. The director will obtain the date of the onset of illness, reinforce the isolation procedures and obtain the names of individuals in close contact with the ill person during the infectious period. These conversations are confidential and no personal health information will be communicated to the ill individual’s supervisor or the wider College community. The ill individual will be provided guidance regarding testing for COVID-19, which will be facilitated through the individual’s primary healthcare provider or county testing sites. Individuals subject to an isolation order must complete the 14-day isolation period regardless of a negative result prior to the completion of the isolation period. During the isolation period, access to campus is strictly prohibited.

Quarantine of Close Contacts
Individuals determined to be close contacts of an ill person will be notified of the exposure and instructed to quarantine for 14 days to monitor for symptoms of illness. The name of the individual will not be revealed. Close contacts will be provided guidance regarding testing for COVID-19, which will be facilitated through the individual’s primary healthcare provider or county testing sites. Individuals subject to a quarantine order must complete the 14-day quarantine period regardless of a negative result prior to the completion of the isolation period.  During the quarantine period, access to campus is strictly prohibited. Individuals subject to a quarantine order will be provided instructions for working from home or participating in classes remotely. If an individual is too ill to perform work or attend classes from home, they will be instructed to work with the Human Resources department for further guidance. Each case will be reviewed individually and guidance will be based on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who develop symptoms of the illness during the quarantine period are to notify ehs@artcenter.edu or hr@artcenter.edu immediately and will be subject to the isolation order, beginning the day of symptom onset. 

Please note: During the quarantine and/or isolation periods, access to campus is strictly prohibited. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting of Physical Spaces
Generally, within 24 hours, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Team will initiate the cleaning and disinfecting of the primary office, classroom and/or common workspaces of the ill individual, as appropriate. If an ill individual spent a significant amount of time in a shared office, workspace, classroom or other common area, that area will be closed until cleaning and disinfecting is complete. Signage will be posted indicating the closure. In some cases, sensitive equipment that is not appropriate for traditional cleaning or disinfecting will go through an extended quarantine period until all items have been disinfected. 

High-touch surfaces, common spaces, elevators, stairwells, restrooms, office environments are generally cleaned and sanitized by the custodial staff on a daily basis.

Common spaces utilized by an individual who becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 are still generally safe to inhabit by other individuals. The cumulative effects of frequent, routine cleaning and sanitizing, the face covering requirement along with strict hand hygiene practices help prevent the virus accumulation and persistence in workspaces, classrooms and other common areas. Nonetheless, an extra cleaning and disinfecting process after a reported illness will help ensure the highest level of control over the potential viral burden on the space.

Privacy and Campus Communications
Identifying information about an ill individual will be disclosed only to those with a specific need to know, including public health authorities, Human Resources and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Team for contact tracing purposes. To maintain a sense of privacy, ill individuals should not disclose personal health information (symptoms, chronic health conditions, health status) to their supervisor or faculty member. When speaking with an ill individual, a qualified staff member from the Human Resources department will inquire about the date of symptom onset and check reported symptoms against those consistent with COVID-19, as well as the presence of any risk factors associated with COVID-19, in order to provide the most relevant information to the ill individual about isolation, testing and to support the contact tracing process. Communications with staff from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Team are confidential. 

In general, individual cases of illness and confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 will not be announced to the community, except in rare circumstances where the public health implications or the community benefits indicate the need to do so. Some examples include an individual who is unable to provide immediate assistance with contact tracing; prolonged exposure in a high-trafficked communal space; concern about the spread of infection that requires a change in campus operations; an outbreak or cluster of illness that requires broad communication to limit further spread. Campus communications will never disclose an individual’s identity or personal health information.

Returning to Campus
Individuals subject to isolation and quarantine orders will be provided with instructions for returning to work on campus. The Pasadena Public Health Department requires a letter of clearance for any confirmed case of COVID-19, in order to allow the individual to return to regular activities. The director of EHSRM will collaborate with the Pasadena Public Health Department and Human Resources to facilitate the clearance of individuals with a positive test for COVID-19. 

Individuals who have completed a 14-day quarantine period without developing symptoms are not required to obtain a letter of clearance from the Pasadena Public Health Department but will be asked to confirm the absence of symptoms of illness to the director of EHSRM prior to obtaining clearance to return to regular activities. Per public health guidelines, an individual who has been exposed to a confirmed or presumptive case of COVID-19 must complete the 14-day quarantine period, regardless of a negative COVID-19 test result.

For questions, please contact the director of EHSRM at ehs@artcenter.edu.