Campus Health & Safety
Policies & Procedures
1. General Background on COVID-19
1.1. What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is an infectious disease which is a new strain of coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This can be transmitted either when a person is within a close vicinity of another (less than 2 meters), or when a person touches an infected surface.
A key requirement for reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission involves significantly reducing the number of close ‘people-to-people’ and ‘people-to-infected-surface’ encounters. These reductions are achieved through measures described in this policy including: social distancing, the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, proper cleaning protocols and personal hygiene discipline.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:
– Shortness of breath
– Sore throat
– Muscle aches
– Chest pain
– Loss of taste or smell
2.1 General Measures to be observed by HU personnel (faculty and staff) on Campus and off Campus:
The University urges all its personnel to wear a mask; whether on campus or off campus, during working hours or outside working hours, especially in enclosed places and crowded areas. You are also encouraged to wash or sanitize (if washing is not feasible) hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. As per the World Health Organization, to reduce the chances of contracting the Covid-19, it is recommended to maintain a distance of 2 meters from other people surrounding you.
If at any time you experience any of the symptoms of Covid-19, contact the HR Office – Mr. Ashraf Badreddine and notify your supervisor/Chairperson. While you have the symptoms, you are advised to stay at home and wait for directives from the HR Office on measures and steps to follow next, prior to returning back to work.
2.2 Strict Measures to be observed by HU personnel on Campus:
The University imposes on all its personnel to limit the occupancy of commonly shared small spaces such as kitchenettes, restrooms & elevators to one person at a time. In that regard, the University will be providing vacant/occupied signs for usage in such common areas. While using these facilities, wearing a mask is compulsory to protect the safety of others who will also be using these common areas.
It is also advised to restrict visits to other personnel’s offices unless for necessary face-to-face meetings and discussions. In that respect, it is encouraged to handle non-essential communication via phone or email.
As for the lunch breaks, it is recommended that social gatherings during lunch breaks are avoided. The University also encourages its personnel to advise visitors to their offices to respect the code of wearing a mask and maintain the 2-meters distance.
2.3 Campus measures:
The University has established a protocol of temperature checks upon the entry of personnel and visitors to campus. Additionally, hand soaps are refilled on a daily basis in the restrooms and hand gel dispensers are available on all floors across the campus for continuous washing and sanitization.
For offices that are occupied by more than one person, seating arrangement should be in such a way that the two-meter social distancing will be maintained throughout the working day. Also, for such offices, fresh air should be allowed to circulate continuously by opening the doors/windows multiple times during the day.
To ensure the safety of HU personnel and visitors, barriers and signage have been installed in areas where crowds can gather, such as the Cashier’s, Admissions, President’s Office, etc… The University will also put occupancy signage to restrict common areas to one person at a time and therefore, HU personnel are advised to abide by these precautionary measures.
More frequent cleaning of common areas and commonly touched surfaces shall be conducted by the facilities department, such as kitchens, restrooms, elevator buttons and handles, door knobs, etc… In order to keep person-to-person contact at a minimum, office surface cleaning will mainly take place on Saturdays. Accordingly, HU personnel are advised to keep sensitive documents locked in drawers.
3. Covid-19 Suspicion of Infection or Infection
3.1 Suspicion of infection:
If an HU personnel suspects that he/she may have contracted the coronavirus or if he/she was recently in contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus, he/she should inform the HR Supervisor and the head of his/her department and should follow these steps immediately:
1- Stay home
2- Separate yourself from other people
3- Monitor your symptoms
4- Schedule an appointment for a PCR test after 3 days from the day of suspecting possible contraction
5- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
6- Clean your hands often
7- Avoid sharing personal household items
8- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
Once the HU personnel conducts the PCR test and the result comes out as negative, it is only then that they will resume work on the University premises. During the three-day period, the HU personnel is required to work from home if they are asymptomatic.
At this time, there are limited information about reinfections with the virus that causes COVID-19. Data to date show that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within 3 months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19. There are no confirmed reports to date of a person being re-infected with COVID-19 within 3 months of initial infection.
However, if a person who has recovered from COVID-19 has new symptoms of COVID-19, the person may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if the person has had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
Healthcare officials recommend that all people, whether or not they have had COVID-19, take steps to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. Wash hands regularly, stay at least 2 meters away from others whenever possible, and wear masks.
If any HU personnel tests positive for contracting the coronavirus, they are required to immediately notify the HR Supervisor – Mr. Ashraf Badreddine and their respective head of department and should stay at home until they have fully recovered and have had a negative PCR result. Meanwhile, in order to reduce the spread of the virus the following steps should be strictly followed:
1- Stay home
2- Separate yourself from other people i.e. isolate yourself from other family members
3- Communicate to the HR Supervisor the names of the persons who may have been exposed to Covid-19 at the workplace.
4- Tell your close contacts outside of work that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
5- Monitor your symptoms and report to your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse
6- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
7- Clean your hands often
8- Avoid sharing personal household items
9- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
If the person who has contracted the virus is asymptomatic at the end of the 14-day quarantine period, then he/she shall take another PCR test on the 17th day after the initial positive PCR test. If the test result is negative, they will resume work on the University premises. Otherwise, they will continue with the quarantine for three more days, followed by another PCR test on the morning of the 4th day from the last PCR test.
The three-day process of testing will be repeated until the person tests negative. Until the person tests negative, he/she will be allowed to work from home if their state of health allows them to do so.
4. Office Protocols Once an HU Personnel is Confirmed for Infection
As the University is also responsible for the prevention of spread of the Covid-19, especially in the workplace, the University will follow the following steps if some HU personnel tests positive:
– If the person infected occupies an individual office that is not shared with other colleagues, then upon confirmation of infection the office will be closed off for at least 24 hours.
– Thorough sanitizing will be requested for the office of the HU personnel that tested positive for coronavirus along with the surrounding areas and the common areas that may have been used, preferably after 24 hours to reduce the risk of spread.
– The University may request other personnel to do a PCR test.
5. PCR test:
5.1 PCR Test
The 1st PCR test should be taken three days after an HU personnel suspects that they have contracted the Coronavirus. If the HU personnel has tested positive on the first test, then the 2nd PCR test should be on the 17th day after a first positive PCR result. A third test, if needs be, should be taken on the morning of the 4th day after the positive-yielding 2nd PCR test that was taken on the 17th day.
5.2 Where to take the PCR test?
As there are many types of Covid-19 tests, the accuracy of results varies from one type to another. The University has listed some of the locations that are recommended by the Ministry of Health:
– AUBMC (Abdul Aziz street, Ras Beirut)
– St. Georges Hospital (Rmeil, Beirut)
– Haroun Hospital (Amaret Chalhoub, Beirut)
– Hotel Dieu de France (Blvd Alfred Naccache, Beirut)
– Al Rasool al Aazam (El Imam El Khomayni, Beirut)
– Bahman Hospital (Haret Hreik, Beirut Suburbs)
– Doctor’s Center Radiology and laboratory (Blue Building Hamra, Beirut)
– Health Avenue Medical Center (Mansourieh main road, Mount Lebanon)
– Saint Marc Medical & Diagnostic center (Geitawi, Rmeil, Beirut)
5.3 PCR Fees
The University is responsible to cover the PCR fees only if an HU personnel contracts the virus on campus, while being in contact with an infected person due to work. If the HU personnel contracts the virus off campus, then the PCR test fees will be at the HU personnel’s personal expense. When a faculty/staff tests positive, the University will identify the persons who might have been in contact with the affected person, and will request to take a PCR test at the University’s expense.
5.3 PCR test results:
All HU personnel who have taken the PCR test should submit all the results to the HR Office for filing.
6. HU personnel with school-age children:
The Coronavirus has presented its own challenges for children at school, whereby learning has moved from physical presence at the school to a hybrid system or to online learning. Accordingly, for HU personnel who have school-age children, depending on the child’s age, class, and teaching methodology, the University will try to be as flexible with the working hours of said HU personnel as the workflow allows. The HU personnel are required to send an email to the HR Supervisor detailing their particular schooling situation. The University, on a case by case basis, will assess and reply with the suitable temporary arrangement.