Important H1N1 (swine flu) Information
September 3, 2009
To: The Stephens College Community
We write to update you on the College’s intervention efforts regarding the H1N1 flu (or “swine flu”) virus. For many years, Stephens has had in place plans to address wide-ranging campus issues and health concerns. We are extending these preparedness efforts in order to respond to the potential H1N1 flu outbreak. Our emergency response team members have consistently reviewed the latest and most current updates and recommendations from the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services and the federal Center for Disease Control.
Currently, the H1N1 flu outbreak is widespread throughout the country; numerous colleges and universities are seeing it on their campuses. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases are mild, and at this point, the H1N1 virus appears no more virulent or serious than most seasonal flu viruses.
Classes and other activities at Stephens will continue as usual. The campus situation will be monitored on a continual basis, and any recommendations to cancel or change activities will be communicated to students, staff and faculty. Faculty members are encouraged to be prepared, plan ahead and be flexible. It is necessary for faculty to consider the potential impact on their class policies and to consider alternatives for assignments, deadlines and content delivery systems for those who may be impacted for a long period of time.
We strongly encourage our Stephens community to take standard precautions normally adopted during flu seasons, and to assist us in playing an active role in our public health prevention efforts. This can be accomplished by the following:
- If you have flu-like symptoms( fever, cough, muscle aches), follow these steps:
- Minimize contact with other members of the Stephens community. Stay at home or in your room.
- Call Health Services at 573-876-7157 and report your symptoms. Do not go to the Health Center; instead, call for an appointment or receive instructions over the phone. You may be able to save yourself a trip and protect others from being exposed.
- The illness lasts 5-7 days.
- If you suffer from other chronic illness, contact your own personal health provider for special instructions.
- Professors will assist in keeping students current with coursework and be respectful of necessary absences. Work supervisors will additionally respect work absences as we help protect our community.
- Use of good personal hygiene measures is critical in situations like the ones we are facing.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when sneezing or coughing.
- Wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers at every opportunity.
- If you have fever, remain at home until you are free of fever for 24 hours without medication.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
The majority of individuals who contract the H1N1 virus will need minimal doctor treatment, as only the flu symptoms can be treated. Faculty, staff and students should remain isolated for 24 hours after they are fever free (without medication) before returning to a public setting. The only non-threatening symptom that may remain is a lingering cough.
The following vaccinations are expected to be available late this fall. More information concerning their availability on campus or at Columbia community locations will be made available as it is received.
*Seasonal Flu vaccine: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all students get vaccinated for seasonal flu. The vaccine will be available at various flu clinics, and that information will be made available by Health Services.
*Novel H1N1 Vaccine: Recent recommendations from the CDC have placed individuals from 6 months of age to the age of 24 in the top priority group for receiving the vaccine. It is unknown at this time when or how much of the vaccine will be distributed. The information will be released to our campus community as soon as it is received.
Although we cannot eliminate the spread of this virus, our collective efforts can significantly minimize its reach and overall impact. If you are in need of assistance, please reach out to the appropriate campus office.