108. Student Affairs

Note from the University Secretariat: The Post-Secondary Learning Act gives GFC responsibility, subject to the authority of the Board of Governors, over "academic affairs" (section 26(1)) and "general supervision of student affairs" (section 31), including authority concerning student discipline. GFC has thus established policies concerning Student Affairs, as set out below.

The complete wording of the section(s) of the Post-Secondary Learning Act, as referred to above, and any other related sections, should be checked in any instance where formal jurisdiction or delegation needs to be determined.

108.12 General Guidelines Regarding Bloodborne Pathogens

108.12.1 Preamble

The University of Alberta, through its Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures (Section 44, GFC Policy Manual), recognizes its duty to provide a work, study and living environment which is free from discrimination except where that discrimination can be shown to be reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances. That same policy and procedures commit the University to the provision of reasonable accommodation where such accommodation will lessen the impact of the discrimination. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

The University of Alberta also recognizes its duty to minimize the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens to/by individuals studying or working at this University. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

The policy which follows has been developed to ensure that the University acts in a manner consistent with these two collateral duties. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

This policy will limit the possibility of transmission of bloodborne pathogens within the educational setting. The University recognizes, however, that it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of infection. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

The policy is based on currently available knowledge and follows the most recent Health Canada, Infection Control Guidelines: Preventing the Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens in Health Care and Public Services Settings (May 1997). Revision of this policy may occur from time to time in the light of new scientific evidence. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

108.12.2. General Guidelines

Students, Academic Staff, Non-academic staff and other individuals at the University of Alberta shall observe Universal Precautions at all times within the educational setting to lessen their risk of acquiring or transmitting bloodborne pathogens from/to another person. These precautions entail the avoidance of direct contact with the blood, blood products, and other body fluids of another person. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)


All staff and students who have any exposure of blood and/or body fluids to non-intact skin, a mucous membrane or a needlestick injury during the course of their work or study are required to report that exposure to their supervisors and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. These individuals are also required to seek medical attention as soon as possible at a medical facility or the University Health Centre. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

Further information pertaining to the Health Canada, Infection Control Guidelines: Preventing the Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens in Health Care and Public Services Settings or Universal Precautions may be obtained from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

108.12.3 University of Alberta Staff Guidelines with Respect to Bloodborne Pathogens

(THIS SECTION IS INCLUDED FOR CONVENIENCE OF REFERENCE. THE BIOSAFETY GUIDELINES AVAILABLE FROM THE OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SHOULD BE CONSULTED FOR MORE INFORMATION.)

In keeping with its Discrimination and Harassment Policy, employees of the University of Alberta, or prospective employees, shall not be discriminated against because they have tested positive for a bloodborne pathogen, specifically Hepatitis B, C, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

The University of Alberta will assess and respond as indicated by the facts in each case involving an individual who has tested positive for a bloodborne pathogen. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

Staff members who perform invasive procedures and are aware that they have tested positive for a bloodborne pathogen are required by the Biosafety Guidelines to contact the Occupational Health Nurse in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The reasonable accommodation policy will apply in such cases (Section 44, Appendix C, GFC Policy Manual.) (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

108.12.4 University of Alberta Guidelines for Students with Respect to Bloodborne Pathogens

1. Degree Requirements

The University of Alberta will make reasonable accommodation with respect to students who have tested positive for a bloodborne pathogen where such a medical condition is brought to the University's attention. This includes making every reasonable effort to allow students to complete their program requirements.

2. Confidentiality

This policy is in keeping with the purposes and provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Statutes of Alberta, 1994, Chapter F-18.5, as amended. The policy governs the right of access, subject to limited and specific exceptions, of students to their own records and personal information, collected and kept by the University of Alberta. The Act also governs this institution's obligations to protect the privacy of individuals studying at the University of Alberta, while also recognizing the University's obligation to protect the well-being of students, staff, and the public. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

a. In keeping with GFC policy (Section 109), no specific or detailed information about students who have tested positive for a bloodborne pathogen will be provided to any person or agency without the express written permission of the student in each case or as may be required by law. As of October 1997, Hepatitis B and C are reportable diseases. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

b. Given the possibility of unintended or accidental compromise of the confidentiality of information, University officials will record specific information regarding positivity for bloodborne pathogens in a coded manner, allowing only a limited number of individuals that knowledge. The inclusion of such information in medical records should be discussed with the individual prior to its entry. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

c. Students are encouraged to inform the University Health Service if they are positive for any bloodborne pathogen in order that reasonable accommodation, medical care and education can be provided. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

3. Safety

a. The University has adopted safety guidelines for the handling of blood and body fluids as set out in the general statement on bloodborne pathogens in 108.12.2. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

b. The University of Alberta Hospital and the Capital Health Authority have adopted bloodborne pathogen related protocols. Other organizations where students are placed for clinical and practicum purposes may have their own bloodborne pathogen related protocols which may also apply. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

4. Education Program About Bloodborne Pathogens

a. Students will have available to them an educational program about bloodborne pathogens that is detailed and practical. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

b. The University of Alberta has designated the Dean of Students as the Officer responsible for an education program for students about bloodborne pathogens. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

5. Role of University Health Centre

a. University Health Centre will provide pre-and post-test counselling to those students having bloodborne pathogen testing, or refer them to counselling sources elsewhere. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

b. The University of Alberta encourages regular medical follow-up for students who test positive for a bloodborne pathogen. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

108.12.5 Guidelines with Respect to Applicants to or Students in Health Care Programs

For applicants to or students in health care programs as defined by the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), including Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Medicine, Medical Laboratory Science, Nursing, Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Medicine and some specific fields in Physical Education and Recreation, the following additional provisions are applicable. These provisions have been instituted in light of current medical evidence which shows that the risk of transmission of hepatitis B for individuals who are surface 'e' antigen positive (HBeAg) when contact is made with their blood is in the order of 30%. Similarly, the current transmission rate for Hepatitis C is in the order of 3 to 10%. Students in health care programs are normally required to perform some invasive procedures as part of their training which, if they are hepatitis carriers, could put patients at risk. In order to minimize that risk, it may be necessary to deny admission, modify a student's training program or exclude the student from some clinical experiences, which could preclude that student from satisfying the requirements for that degree. The risk of transfer of HIV under similar circumstances is currently estimated at 0.3%. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

1. For applicants to or students in a health care program where there is a greater potential for transmission of blood-borne pathogens to patients/clients as a result of clinical activities in practice settings, the following procedures shall apply:

a. Hepatitis B surface antigen testing will be performed either prior to or after acceptance into a health care program. For individuals who test positive for Hepatitis B surface antigen, their "e" antigen status will also be determined. Applicants to some health care programs may be denied admission if their "e" antigen status is positive. Any decision of an Admissions Committee is final. There is no formal appeal to any other body within the Faculty or the University. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

For those applicants or students who test negative for Hepatitis B surface antigen, Hepatitis B vaccination will be required. An exception may be made for those for whom vaccination is medically contraindicated. Post-vaccination testing will be required to check for vaccine failure. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

b. Testing for Hepatitis C antibody will also be performed on all individuals either prior to entry or once accepted into the health care programs specified above. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

c. All students accepted into health care programs are encouraged to undergo HIV testing upon admission and at any time during their program when concerns about infection have arisen. Given that the risk of transmission of of HIV in a health care setting is minimal, testing for HIV is not mandatory at this time. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

For information on the timing of testing for particular Faculties, either the admission or program requirements in the University of Alberta Calendar should be consulted. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

All testing will be done through the University Health Centre. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

2. Counselling/Education Programs: All students in health care programs found to be Hepatitis B "e" antigen, Hepatitis C or HIV positive will be required to undergo both appropriate counselling as well as education related to infection control. In addition, as appropriate, students who test positive for Hepatitis B "e" antigen, Hepatitis C, or HIV will be provided with a modified training program in order to minimize the risk of transmission. Such modifications will be determined by the student's Faculty in accord with the University policy on reasonable accommodation. Where no reasonable accommodation is possible, a student may be withdrawn from a program. Withdrawal will only be considered as a last resort. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

3. Appeals concerning modifications to or exclusions from a student's training program should be directed to the policy on Practicum Placements, Professional Practice and Public Safety (See Section 87, GFC Policy Manual). (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

108.12.6 Bloodborne Pathogen Review Committee

In addition, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) will establish a Bloodborne Pathogen Review Committee made up of experts who can assess both the risks of transmission and the requirements of the affected clinical training programs. The review committee will consult with the Biosafety Committee and the Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Issues Committee as necessary. The mandate of the Bloodborne Pathogen Review Committee will be twofold:

1. to review these guidelines annually and update the policy to reflect known information about these and other newly identified pathogens; and (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 07 NOV 1997)

2. to be available to Deans, Chairs, the Office of Human Rights and the Practice Review Board among others for consultation on means of reasonable accommodation whereby students who test positive for bloodborne pathogens known to present a risk of transmission may have their training modified. (GFC 15 OCT 1997) (BG 7 NOV 1997)

108.5 Policy for Students with Disabilities

The University of Alberta has a tradition of encouraging academically qualified persons with disabilities to seek admission to its programs. It has also demonstrated its commitment to provide support services to students with disabilities to enable complete access to University facilities and successful completion of programs. In assisting students with disabilities, the University's criteria for academic excellence will not be compromised. (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

Although the primary responsibility for the provision of services rests with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), the provision of a supportive physical, academic and social environment is the responsibility of the entire University. (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

To achieve its goal of attracting and retaining qualified students with disabilities, the University commits itself to the following objectives: (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

1. The University of Alberta will ensure that persons with disabilities are considered for admission to any programs for which they are academically qualified within the quota restrictions of programs. (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

2. Where warranted, and without compromising its academic standards, the University will modify program courseload, examination procedures, and other academic requirements to permit students with disabilities to complete their programs. In determining any special circumstances which warrant the modification of a requirement, consultation will take place between Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) and the Deans of Faculties or their delegates. When arriving at appeal decisions, individuals and committees will take into account disability related factors. A student with a disability who is making an appeal may request advocacy from SSD. (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

3. In consultation with appropriate University units, SSD will provide the following:

- orientation to the University
- assessment of needs
- personal and academic advising
- referrals to additional services or agencies
- program planning
- registration assistance
- interpreting arrangements
- advocacy
- liaison with departments and faculties
- loan of available specialized equipment
- obtaining permission to tape lectures
- available volunteer assistance including: note taking, exam writing assistance, mobility assistance, taping of readings, library research help, study help, tutoring, special project help.

While support services will include the above, if future evidence supports the need for changes or additional services, these will be considered for implementation within the limits of the University's financial resources. (GFC 26 SEP1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

4. The University will continue its policy of:

- ensuring accessibility and safety by removing barriers which affect the wide range of students with disabilities,
- making special parking available to students with disabilities in keeping with city and provincial standards; and
- seeking ways to provide housing units adapted for use by students with disabilities. (GFC 26 SEP 1988) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

Steps will be taken to facilitate the registration procedure for students with disabilities. (EXEC 06 DEC 1967) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)

In future, students with disabilities who have difficulties in registration, attendance, etc should consult the Dean of their Faculty. (EXEC 06 DEC 1967) (EXEC 27 APR 1998)