Guide to Infection Prevention and Control at Nord University

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The Guide to Infection Prevention and Control at Nord University will contribute to maintaining safe operations during the outbreak of Coronavirus Covid-19. The Guide will be updated as necessary. Adopted by decision of the University Rector on May 13, 2020.

Introduction

The Guide to Infection Prevention and Control at Nord University will contribute to maintaining safe operations during the outbreak of Coronavirus Covid-19. The Guide will be updated as necessary.

Infection Prevention Measures

Infection prevention measures aim to restrict the transmission of infection among students and staff, and delay the outbreak of Covid-19. The three most important measures to restrict transmission are:

  1. Individuals who are ill should not be on university grounds
  2. Good hygiene
  3. Reduced rate of contact and increased distance between individuals.

The most important infection prevention measure is ensuring that people who are ill, or who have symptoms of illness, stay at home.

Cough etiquette and maintaining distance are decisive in restricting droplet transmission, while hand hygiene, and especially avoiding touching one's face with unwashed hands, is important for restricting indirect contact transmission. Increased physical distance between individuals reduces the risk of transmission, also before symptoms can be detected.

All staff who use their ordinary workspace must have completed the e-course in infection prevention and control.  >> Complete the online training here (requires Feide access).

Individuals who are ill should not be on university grounds

The symptoms of Covid-19 can be mild and difficult to differentiate from other respiratory infections. Covid-19 is transmitted primarily through droplets and contact. It is primarily people with symptoms who are contagious, and the risk of transmission is greatest at the onset of symptoms.

The most frequently documented symptoms of Covid-19 are a sore throat, cold-like symptoms and a light cough, in addition to generally feeling unwell, headaches and muscle pain. Stomach pain may also be present.

Individuals with symptoms of illness should not be on university grounds. The same applies to individuals who suspect that they have been infected, or who have been in contact with an infected person.

Staff who suspect that they have had contact with an infected person, or who have been in home quarantine or home isolation (with symptoms that do not require certified sick leave), must work from home.


When should a student/staff member not be on university grounds?

Students and staff with respiratory symptoms:

  • Students and staff who have even mild respiratory symptoms and a general feeling of being unwell should not be on university grounds. They should stay home until they have been free of symptoms for 24 hours.

Students and staff who have a confirmed Covid-19 infection:

Students and staff with a close contact or member of household with confirmed Covid-19 infection:

What happens if a student/staff member becomes ill on university grounds?

It is important that a student or staff member who acquires symptoms of respiratory infection, leaves the university grounds immediately.

Students and staff who are confirmed to have Covid-19, will be monitored by municipal healthcare services to ensure they receive appropriate medical care. Any testing will be carried out in consultation with a physician according to applicable municipal guidelines. Municipal healthcare services will chart and investigate contact with the confirmed case, in accordance with applicable recommendations.


What if someone in the student's/staff member's household is ill?

If someone in the household has symptoms of respiratory infection, but is not confirmed to have Covid-19, the student or staff member may attend campus as usual. However, the student or staff member must leave the university grounds in the event that they acquire symptoms, as mentioned in the foregoing paragraph. 

What if someone in the student's/staff member's household has a confirmed Covid-19 infection?

If someone in the household has a confirmed Covid-19 infection, every one of that person's close contacts must stay in quarantine in accordance with advice from health authorities. No individual in quarantine should be on university grounds.

Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette

Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette restrict the transmission of all respiratory infections, including transmission of Covid-19. These measures will restrict transmission via objects and hands, and reduce transmission through coughing. Hygiene measures should be carried out often by everyone, regardless of knowledge about one's own or others' infection status. It is important that all students and staff know which measures restrict the risk of transmission.

Handwashing with warm water and liquid soap is an effective way to prevent transmission. Dirt, bacteria and virus cells are loosened from the skin during washing, and are carried away by the running water. Students and staff must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds each time. Hands should be then dried using disposable paper towel.

All students and staff must wash their hands:

  • Before leaving home and upon arrival home
  • Upon arrival on university grounds
  • After coughing/sneezing and wiping the face or nose
  • After using the toilet
  • Before and after meals
  • After being outside
  • If your hands are visibly dirty.

Alternatives to handwashing:

  • The virus is sensitive to alcohol, and alcohol-based disinfectants (antibacterial gels) are an alternative where handwashing is not possible.
  • Hand disinfectant dispensers are placed in locations where handwashing is not possible.
  • Alcohol-based disinfection is not effective on wet hands; in this case you will need to wash your hands.

Cough etiquette:

  • It is recommended that disposable paper towel is easily accessible. If you do not have access to disposable paper towel, cough/sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes.


Good cleaning

Coronavirus can be removed easily by manual cleaning with soap and normal cleaning products. The virus can survive on surfaces from anywhere between hours to days, depending on the type of surface, the temperature, sunlight and other factors. As such, thorough, frequent cleaning is important to restrict transmission.  Certain, exposed areas will receive extra cleaning.

Specific routines for cleaning at Nord University have been established.


Reduced frequency of contact between individuals

Reduced contact between individuals reduces the risk of transmission from individuals who are not aware that they are contagious. In order to ensure reduced contact, it is necessary to increase the distance between individuals and reduce the total number of students and staff who are closely co-located. Meetings, on-site teaching sessions in session-based programmes, and organised on-site classes in general should be kept to a minimum.

Reduced frequency of contact between individuals in teaching situations

Facilitation of work and teaching that reduces the total number of people an individual comes into contact with has a significant impact on restricting transmission.

The total of number of students in a group at any given time should accord to the recommendations of health authorities.

One objective is to organise work and teaching so that students and staff are affected by a possible outbreak to the least possible degree. Restricting the number of individuals a student or staff member comes into contact with is an important tool for achieving this objective. 

Reduced frequency of contact on university grounds

The current national recommendation is that anyone who can work from home should be encouraged to do so.

When staff members take their normal workspace into use, appropriate distance between individuals in the same location at the same time must be facilitated. The distance between office spaces must be such that it is at least 2 meters between individuals.

The head of the organisational unit is responsible for determining the activity level within the unit's office space, and may change the approach to the use of office space at any time as required. The choice of approach must be documented.

The following requirements apply:

  • The required distance between working spaces must be upheld
  • Social distancing of 1 meter between individuals must be maintained at all times.
  • On-site meetings and breaks, for which several individuals gather together, should be avoided wherever possible. Video meetings, rather than physical meetings, should be used wherever possible.
  • Avoid handshaking and hugging
  • Avoid the use of rings and other hand jewelry
  •  Tablets, PCs and keyboards that are used by more than one person must be cleaned before and after use.
  • The surfaces of common desks must be washed by the user before and after use.
  • Pay extra attention to hygiene around the kitchen and eating spaces.
  • Restrict the use of public transport to and from the university wherever possible.

Students and staff in high risk groups

Staff members in high risk groups are encouraged to work from home. Based on information from outbreaks in China, Italy, the UK, USA and Norway thus far, individuals over 65 years of age who contract Covid-19 have a higher risk of serious illness, especially if an underlying chronic condition is also present.  In addition, adult individuals, especially over 50 years of age, with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure) and diabetes, have an elevated risk of being seriously ill should they contract Covid-19. Special working arrangements for staff members in high risk groups should assessed individually.  

For updated information about individuals at greater risk from Covid-19, see The Norwegian Institute of Public Health: https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/risk-groups---advice-and-information/.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that pregnant women with chronic illness or pregnancy-related complications discuss the situation with their physician to determine whether extra caution or special working arrangements are required.

In some cases, and based on an individual assessment, it may be necessary to implement special learning arrangements from students who need to stay at home. Students for whom this may be the case should contact their faculty.


Training and updated information

Students and staff will receive training in necessary infection prevention and control, as described in this guide.

The guide will be supplemented with further material for training of students and staff.

It is paramount that students and staff actively contribute to infection prevention and control, as described in this document.

>> Complete online training for staff and students in infection prevention and control now (requires Feide access)