Can we ask a sick person to leave?
November 30, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Can we ask a sick person to leave?

I work on a college campus. In our office, we have several video editing workstations that are available by appointment only. Today, a student who reserved one station came in, and is VERY ill. For the last two hours, he's been sniffling, sneezing explosively and coughing without covering his mouth.

In short, he is making me extremely uncomfortable and paranoid. I cannot afford to get sick right now.

Our workspace is not open to the public and the university has asked sick students to stay home and self isolate. Do you think it would be fair to ask him to leave and reschedule his appointment for when he is well?
posted by MorningPerson to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, you can ask him to leave.

Don't forget to scrub the workstation.
posted by unixrat at 11:50 AM on November 30, 2009

Could you maybe write a note to the student's instructor, acknowledging that SickStudent attempted to complete the assigned work on time but was instructed to leave the video editing studio on account of his obvious illness?

I just feel bad for the guy. It's not like he's trying to get you sick - I'm sure he's trying to complete his end-of-semester work.
posted by lizzicide at 11:54 AM on November 30, 2009 [9 favorites]

Ask him if he can reschedule.
posted by hermitosis at 11:55 AM on November 30, 2009

If you don't feel comfortable asking him to leave, how about providing a mask for him?
posted by yohko at 11:58 AM on November 30, 2009

Perhaps you could offer to write him some kind of note he could take to his professor explaining that for the benefit of others using the lab you asked him to leave. This way maybe he could get an extension on his work, provide you with a healthy environment via his absence, and focus on his recuperation. Everyone wins?
posted by Gainesvillain at 12:02 PM on November 30, 2009

Yes, the note, maybe even a call to the prof if the note doesn't soothe the student. Also, if appointments for the machines are hard to get, help schedule another appointment for him.

Of course, there's a chance this guy has waited until the last minute to do his assignment, in which case - best of luck.
posted by amtho at 12:12 PM on November 30, 2009

Maybe you can make good use of the bureau of communication's unsolicited feedback sheet.
posted by PowerCat at 12:27 PM on November 30, 2009 [5 favorites]

As a grad student who had a horrible flu earlier this year, I think I honestly would have been grateful if someone sent me home saying I was too sick to be in public and offered to write a letter to my professor(s).
posted by lalalana at 12:48 PM on November 30, 2009 [7 favorites]

If he wasn't spraying the OP's office with germs and basically contaminating everything he's come in contact with, I'd feel sorry for him too; however, since he thinks it's perfectly reasonable (in the middle of a Swine flu outbreak, no less) to cough and sneeze all over shared equipment without covering his mouth, I have zero sympathy.

Tell him, don't ask him, tell him to leave. Make up something about "workstation rules, blah blah blah, for the health and safety of other students..." You can deal with the fallout later, but at least you won't be sick. Hopefully.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 12:48 PM on November 30, 2009

He probably would rather be home too, if he's that sick, except a final grade rests on whatever project he's doing. If he can finish in an hour, that's probably less hassle for him and not that much additional exposure for you. Give him tissues to cover his mouth and nose, and try to be sympathetic, or send him home with the note as lizzicide suggested.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:49 PM on November 30, 2009

Yes, you can ask him to leave. I work at a university that is currently doing just that. They usually refer the person to university health services and health services provides them with a note for professors as necessary. It would be extra nice of you to call his professor as well and explain that the student came and was working on the project, but was asked to leave due to illness.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2009

Its really too late now. He's already exposed you to whatever it is he has. An hour or two of additional exposure isn't really going to elevate your risk.

But, yes, you can send him home. The suggestions above about a call or note to his prof are a nice touch.
posted by anastasiav at 12:53 PM on November 30, 2009

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