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novel H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) Updates


Excerpt from Dean Vari's E-Mail to Dickinson Students
(Nov. 5, 2009)
Email: H1N1 Vaccine for Dickinson Students
(Oct. 26, 2009)
Email: Student Absence Due to Flu (Sept. 24, 2009)
Employee Illness Due to the Flu
(posted in The Compass, Sept. 21, 2009)
Flu-like illness reported on campus
(September 5, 2009)
Faculty/Staff Frequently Asked Questions: H1N1 virus (swine flu)
E-mail to students (September. 2, 2009)
Message to employees (Sept. 2009 Vitality)
Student/Parent H1N1 Frequently Asked Questions

E-mail sent to students
(August 27, 2009)
E-mail sent to Faculty, Staff and to Students (August. 3, 2009)
Flu Update (May 1, 2009)
E-mail to campus community (April 29, 2009)


H1N1 Procedure
Excerpt from Dean Vari's e-mail to students

November 5, 2009

Arrival of H1N1 Vaccine:

The long-awaited H1N1 vaccine has arrived.  A large-scale immunization clinic will be held in the Social Hall on Tuesday, November 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

To be vaccinated, you must register online. To do so, navigate to the Student Forms tab in the Dickinson Gateway and select the H1N1 Flu Vaccine Registration form.  Follow the instructions to complete the registration.  You must read the H1N1 information sheet, and print and sign the H1N1 consent form.  You must bring this signed consent form with you to the Social Hall, along with your Dickinson Student ID card, in order to receive the vaccine.  Supplies are limited, so please register early.

Students who fall into the high-risk category for complications from the flu will be given priority.  Please see the Health Center webpage for more information about high-risk status.  High-risk students should call the Flu Hotline number, 245-1827, and leave their name and telephone number.  A staff member will call you back with an appointment time for the vaccine. Please do not call the main Health Center number for this purpose.  

April Vari, D.Ed.
Vice President for Student Development


H1N1 Vaccine for Dickinson Students

Dear Student,

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remains concerned that the H1N1 flu virus (sometimes referred to as swine flu) could result in a particularly severe flu season. Dickinson has already seen cases of H1N1 in its student population, and this age group is one which the CDC considers most at risk for this virus. Vaccines are the best tools the CDC has to prevent influenza and it is urging college-aged people to get vaccinated against the seasonal and H1N1 flu. Dickinson already provided free seasonal flu vaccines to students. The college is now planning to provide a limited supply of H1N1 vaccines to students only. The exact date the vaccine will arrive and the amount is not yet known. Vaccine clinic dates will not be publicized until the vaccine arrives. Once that occurs, students will receive another e-mail message with the dates, time, location and directions on how to schedule an appointment online via the student Gateway.

To help you understand more about the H1N1 vaccine, some frequently asked questions are posted below with a link for additional information.

What are the H1N1 vaccine options?
There are two types of H1N1 flu vaccine available: the injectable vaccine and the nasal spray vaccine.

What is the nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine?
The nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine (sometimes called LAIV for Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine) is a vaccine made with live, weakened viruses that cannot grow at normal body temperature, given via a nasal sprayer. This vaccine was approved for seasonal influenza viruses in 2003 and tens of millions of doses of the vaccine have been given in the United States.

What is the injectable H1N1 flu vaccine?
The injectable H1N1 vaccine is created from dead viruses and uses the same processes and facilities that are used to make seasonal influenza vaccines.

Can the H1N1 flu vaccine give you the flu?
The nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine: Unlike the injectable flu vaccine, the nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated (weakened) and cannot cause flu illness.
Injectable H1N1 flu vaccine: The viruses in the H1N1 flu injectable vaccine are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine has a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, which have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines.

Which 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine can I receive?
The nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine: The recommendations for who can get the 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine are the same as those for the seasonal nasal spray vaccine. LAIV is recommended for use in healthy* people, ages two-49 years, who are not pregnant.

* "Healthy" indicates persons who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.

The injectable H1N1 flu vaccine: The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine has a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, so the recommendations for who can get the injectable H1N1 flu vaccine are the same as those for the injectable seasonal flu vaccine.

Who should NOT receive the nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine (LAIV)?
Certain people should not get any type of nasal spray flu vaccine, including the  2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine and the seasonal flu nasal spray vaccine. This includes:

  • People with a medical condition that places them at higher risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system;
  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components.
  • Children younger than 5 years with a history of recurrent wheezing;
  • Children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy;
  • People who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder of the nervous system, within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine.

Who should not receive the injectable H1N1 vaccine?
People who have a severe (life-threatening) allergy to chicken eggs or to any other substances in the H1N1 vaccine should not be vaccinated.

What side effects are associated with the nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine?
Some children and young adults two-17 years of age have reported experiencing mild reactions after receiving seasonal nasal spray H1N1 flu vaccine, including nasal symptoms, cough, chills, tiredness/weakness, sore throat and headache. Some adults 18-49 years of age have reported similar reactions. These side effects are mild and short-lived, especially when compared to symptoms of H1N1 influenza infection.

What side effects are associated with the injectable H1N1 flu vaccine?
If a side effect occurs, it will likely be similar to those experienced following seasonal influenza vaccine. Mild problems that may be experienced include soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever (low grade), aches or nausea.

Additional Information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/nasalspray_qa.htm


Student Absence Due to Flu

(e-mail to all students on Sept. 24, 2009)
Dear Student,
We understand your academic work is very important to you and many of us feel it necessary to follow through on our commitments even when ill. However, this year will be differentm with both seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus, and we must respond accordingly.

The H1N1 virus is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, or by touching something—such as a doorknob with a flu virus on it—and then touching our mouth, nose or eyes. Coming to class when sick poses unnecessary risks for yourself and others. Most students are recovering from the flu in several days, but some individuals on campus—students, faculty and staff—are at higher risk for complications from the flu. Isolating yourself at home or in your room when you have the flu will help slow the spread of H1N1 to others on campus until the vaccine is available. 

As we near the official start of the flu season, we want to remind you of the college’s expectations should you experience flu-like symptoms (fever and cough or fever and sore throat): Go to your room and send an e-mail to flureport@dickinson.edu.  Whether or not you go to the Health Center to be seen, flu report will ensure you receive all the support necessary for your recovery. If you can go home to recover, that is ideal. If going home is not possible, please stay in your room to recover. In either case, flu report will notify academic advising so your professors know you will be absent. All faculty members are aware of this system and you will not be penalized for being absent due to the flu.

To read about the full range of services provided to students through flureport@dickinson.edu  go to: http://www.dickinson.edu/news/features/2009/swineflu/#aug27

Sincerely,
Neil Weissman
Provost & Dean of the College
April Vari
Vice President for Student Development



Employee Illness Due to the Flu (posted in The Compass, Sept. 21, 2009)

Health officials are indicating that this year’s flu is shaping up to be unpredictable, with outbreaks of both seasonal and swine flu causing us to be concerned that more people than usual will be affected. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are top priorities and we will continue to monitor the campus closely.

As you are aware, Dickinson students are using fluereport@dickinson.edu to report flu-like symptoms on campus. Similarly, the Flu Emergency Response Team is requesting your assistance to help us monitor our employee staffing levels. Human Resource Services will be requesting and coordinating information from each division every Friday afternoon in order to monitor the number of absences (no employee names) on campus. We are asking all department chairs, supervisors and or directors to report every Friday morning any flu like absences for that week. Only flu-like absences by classification (administrative, faculty, support staff, etc.) are requested. Employees are not required to provide the nature of their illness when calling in sick. Employees must be told that offering information about the flu is voluntary. Employees should not be asked the reason for their absence beyond flu-like symptoms. If you have questions about this process, please contact Arlene Bones.


Flu Reported on Campus (September 5, 2009)

E-mail sent to students, faculty and staff:

Dear Dickinson Community:
Dickinson's Health Services staff has reported that a couple of students were diagnosed with influenza-like illness this week. The ill students have gone home to recover as recommended by the college.

Please remember the measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of influenza on campus: frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer; good sneezing and coughing etiquette; and isolation from others for at least 24 hours after your temperature has returned to normal without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Students should report any influenza-like illness to flureport@dickinson.edu.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are top priorities and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. Future campus updates on the flu will be posted on the college's main flu Web site. Subsequent e-mails will be sent only in the event of significant changes in the environment.

Faculty/Staff Frequently Asked Workplace Questions: H1N1 virus (swine flu)

Dickinson College is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As the CDC learns more about the Novel H1N1 virus, its recommendations may be revised. Consequently, Dickinson will adjust its planning as the guidance from the CDC changes. Consider bookmarking the CDC’s Web site for information related to H1N1 at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Employee Questions:

1. Q. If I have a medical condition that might make getting the H1N1 virus worse for me, must I come to work?
A. If you have a medical condition that could put you at higher risk for complications from the flu, please consult your health care provider for guidance.

2. Q. I have an immediate family member who is sick. Can I take sick time to stay home with them?
A. Employees may use sick time as applicable and outlined in the employee handbook.

3. Q. My child’s school was shut down and I don’t have childcare. What options do I have?
A. Follow the same course of action that you would for your children in the event of any other unplanned school closing.

4. Q. I’m concerned about the possibility of being exposed to the flu virus at work. Do I have to come to work?
A. Yes.

5. Q. My employee has been out sick for more than a few days. Is there anything I need to do?  
A. Given the number of absences that are anticipated this season, Dickinson is suspending the need for employees to verify their illness with a doctor’s note until they have been absent for five days.  However, please note a supervisor may at his/her discretion, based on past attendance, request a doctor’s note.

6. Q. One of my employees seems sick. Can I require them to go home?
A. If an employee’s symptoms are fever and sore throat OR fever and a cough (possible symptoms of H1N1) you may direct the employee to go home until he/she has recovered. 

7. Q. What if a sick employee won’t go home?
A. The primary means of reducing the spread of the H1N1 virus is to isolate sick people from those who are not ill. Encourage the employee to leave for the safety and well-being of others on campus. If the employee will not cooperate, contact your division leader or Human Resource Services for support.

8. Q. How long is an employee required to stay home if sick?
A. Dickinson is following the guidance of the CDC, which currently advises that a sick person should remain isolated at home until he/she has been temperature free for 24 hours—without the use of fever-reducing medications. 

9. Q. One of my employees has a medical condition that might put him/her at higher risk for complications from the H1N1 virus. Should the employee work from home for health-safety reasons?
A. This decision about whether the employee should remain at home should be made by the employee and his/her health care provider.  The decision about whether an employee should work from home during this period of absence should be made by the supervisor and employee in consultation with the division leader and Human Resource Services.

10. Q. One of my employees doesn’t want to be at work because of fear associated with contracting  the virus. Can I require that an employee report to work?
A. Yes.

11. Q. My employees don’t want to go to gatherings on campus due to H1N1. Must they go?
A. If the gathering is voluntary, he/she does not need to attend. If it is a job requirement, the employee must attend. To be excused from such attendance for specific health-related reasons, the employee must provide verification from his/her health provider.

12. Q. Work-related travel and international travel and H1N1 (airplane risk).
A. At this time the CDC has not issued any travel restrictions due to H1N1. The virus is an evolving situation and the CDC will provide new information as it becomes available. To follow the CDC’s guidance on H1N1 and travel go to: www.cdc.gov/travel/content/novel-h1n1-flu.aspx

13. Q.  If an employee contracts H1N1 at work, can he/she be compensated under Workers Compensation?
A. Despite where an employee may believe he/she contracted a virus, there is no way to definitively determine when or where someone contracted H1N1.  Moreover, flu symptoms generally abate within 5 to 7 days.  A claim may be submitted, but it is doubtful that it would be approved/paid through workers’ compensation.

14. Q. What is the recommendation for cleaning of shared work spaces?
A. Good hygiene habits will significantly reduce the spread of any influenza-like illness. Therefore, the college is actively promoting good habits on campus this fall by communicating regularly and in many different formats—including posters, newspaper articles, radio spots and information sessions—on topics such as hand washing and coughing and sneezing etiquette. The best way to avoid spreading the flu is to practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette. Find out how in a short video, “Why Don’t we do it in our Sleeves?” available at www.dickinson.edu/internal/flu (use your network username and password to view).

Dickinson’s housekeeping and facilities staff have reviewed the college’s cleaning practices and disinfectants used across campus; we are pleased to report that the college meets or exceeds the standards recommended by the CDC.

In addition to its cleaning processes, the college will increase the availability of   alcohol-based hand sanitizer and/or wipes in locations where soap and water is not readily available. Employees are free to enhance normal cleaning with disinfectant wipes on frequently used and shared items such as computer key boards, phones, doorknobs, etc.

15. Q. How will I be paid if I have to stay home sick?
A. Sick time should be reported using the usual sick leave or time off procedures for your department/division. Both full-time(FT) and part-time (PT) staff should use available sick days ( if applicable), then vacation or floating holidays before using unpaid time.


16. Q. What if I run out of all paid time-off, including sick days? Will I no longer be paid?
A. Employees who exhaust all paid sick time should follow the college policy for time off and use other eligible paid time, which could include floating holidays, vacation or short-term disability (if applicable).  

17. Q. How will I be updated with news or additional guidelines regarding H1N1?
A. The college will be updating the campus community regularly, including employees and students. E-mail and the college’s main flu Web site will be the primary method of communication. All e-mails are posted to the Dickinson Web site dedicated to H1N1 flu, which includes the questions-and-answers section for employees. Supervisors should ensure that those without e-mail access are given copies and kept well-informed. The Web site is  www.dickinson.edu/news/features/2009/swineflu/


18. Q. Are there provisions for employees who are able to do their work from home to be allowed to do so? 
A. This may be possible on a case-by-case basis as long as doing so does not violate Federal Regulations for hourly paid staff, and provided such arrangements are appropriately approved in advance by your supervisor. HRS is currently investigating possible alternatives.

19. Q. If an employee gets a doctor’s certification that their illness is not H1N1 will that be sufficient to waive the home isolation requirement? 
A. Yes.

Faculty Specific Questions
1. Will I be informed if students are absence because of the flu?
a. Yes – If a student tells us that he/she has the flu, the Academic Advising office will inform advisor and professors.

2. If I have an attendance policy, must I excuse students who have the flu?
a. Yes – Students with the flu are expected to self-isolate either by going home (if possible) or remaining in their rooms.

3. If students miss work, what is the procedure for make up?
a. Depending on their illness, they may or may not be able to do work while out of class.  You should provide flexible options as appropriate to your course content for students who need to make up missed work, including opportunity for take-home work, make-up assignments and/or sessions, etc.  This includes, particularly in regard to the end of the semester, how you might handle subsequent completion for students who qualify for a grade of “Incomplete.”

4. What if I am unable to meet with my class because of illness?
a. If you are ill with flu-like symptoms, you must stay home.  If you miss a class meeting or two, you can be flexible with ways to have students make up the work. If you must be absent for an extended period of time, coordinate with your colleagues for coverage. 

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e-mail to students (Sept. 2, 2009 4:51 PM)
Dear Students:

Please see the message below from Mary Arthur, director of the Health Center.   The fee information is an update.

I am writing to update you on information about the seasonal flu vaccine.  The seasonal flu vaccine is now available at the Health  Center and the college will be making these vaccinations available to high-risk students at no cost.  Students at high-risk for complications of the flu will be vaccinated first.  If you fall into a high-risk category, it is of utmost importance that you be vaccinated against the seasonal flu, and H1N1 flu when it becomes available.  If you are not sure if you fall into the high-risk category, please go to:  http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/health/High-risk-condition-list-8-25-09(2).pdf

No-cost seasonal flu vaccine for all other students will  be scheduled starting mid - late September as long as vaccine supplies are available.
Please call the Health Center for your appointment.   If you have any questions, please call the Student Flu Information Hotline at 245-1827.

Please keep in mind that seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against the H1N1 virus, however it is strongly recommended that all students get the seasonal flu vaccine this year, to avoid contracting both viruses at the same time.

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Message to employees (Sept. 2009 Vitality)

In Preparation for Flu Season…
Over the summer an important and necessary part of the college’s preparation for the fall semester included precautionary planning in the event of a widespread flu outbreak on campus during the academic year. There is a high probability that many, if not all, institutions across America—and internationally—will face flu challenges. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases are mild and, at this point, the H1N1 virus appears no more severe than most seasonal flu vaccines. We strongly encourage all employees to take the standard precautions adopted during the flu season and to take an active role in our flu prevention efforts. The college’s response plan to address the presence of influenza-like illness on campus includes:

Good Hygiene
The college will be promoting good habits on campus this fall by communicating regularly and in many different formats—including posters, newspaper articles, radio spots and information sessions. Examples of good hygiene habits include:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water.
  • Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Use tissues one time only and dispose of it immediately after use.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay at least six feet away from anyone you suspect is sick.

Isolation
New guidance from the CDC suggests—if you have symptoms of influenza-like illness, remain at home for at least 24 hours after your temperature has returned to normal without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
The college will continue to update its approach based upon guidance from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. For the most current information on the college’s plan visit http://www.dickinson.edu/news/features/2009/swineflu/ or to see suggestions from the CDC go to www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm.

Free (Seasonal Flu) Vaccinations Offered to Dickinson Employees and Dependents
Receiving a seasonal flu vaccination and the H1N1 vaccine—once it is available—are effective ways to reduce your chances of getting the flu—particularly if you are in a high-risk category.
On Wednesday, October 7 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the HUB Social Hall, Human Resource Services will be offering flu vaccinations through U.S. Healthworks to all Dickinson employees and their dependents at no charge. The decision to not institute a co-pay this year was based on reports by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which anticipate more flu cases than in previous years. Individuals interested in receiving a vaccination will have to show their Dickinson College Identification Card at the time of the appointment. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.

Restrictions include:

  • Pregnancy / Nursing Mothers
  • Allergic to eggs or egg derived products
  • Allergic to Thimerosal (sometimes found in prescription eye drops)
  • Guillian-Barre Syndrome
  • A compromised immune system due to illness or  if you are currently ill

If you are on medicinal therapy (other than blood pressure or diabetic medications), have any of the above restrictions, or have any questions regarding the restrictions, please talk to your primary care physician and obtain clearance for receiving the vaccine before registering.
To register for an appointment, call ext. 1503 or ext. 8084 or e-mail Human Resource Services at devwell@dickinson.edu.

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e-mail sent to students (Thur., August 27, 2009 12:51 PM)

Students: Got the flu? The college can help

Dickinson College has established an e-mail address for you to report your illness and receive support services that will make it easier for you to focus on your recovery.
Just send an e-mail to flureport@dickinson.edu, and we will do the following:

  • If you are on a meal plan, Dining Services will arrange for your meals to be delivered to your residence hall room beginning with the first meal after we receive your e-mail.
  • Notify Academic Advising who will alert your professors.
  • If you live in campus housing, Campus Life can assist with roommate questions and over-the-counter medication needs.
  • Provide you daily with a surgical-type mask to wear when your roommate is in the room or when you must leave the room, such as to go to the bathroom or to the Health Center.
  • Have someone check in with you by phone daily.

When you e-mail “flureport@”, please provide us with: your name, residence hall and room number (if you live in campus housing), and a phone number (cell phone or room phone) where you can be reached.
Remember that one of the most effective ways to limit the transmission of the H1N1 virus to others is to stay in your room (isolation) until your symptoms have abated and you are no longer contagious. Generally, this means you should remain in your room for 24 hours after your temperature has returned to normal without the aid of any fever-reducing medication. The college expects you to follow this advice.

The best way to avoid spreading the flu is to practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette. Find out how in a short video, “Why Don’t we do it in our Sleeves?” www.dickinson.edu/internal/flu  (use your network username and password to view).

“flureport@” is available to all students, even if you have chosen not to seek medical care for your symptoms.
However, if you chose not to seek medical attention initially, and you develop any of the following symptoms, you should contact the Health Center at 717-245-1835 or NurseLine 1-866-409-1859 (after hours) immediately:

  • Have difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Have purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Are vomiting and are unable to keep liquids down
  • Have signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, dark urine or absence of urination
  • Have seizures (i.e. uncontrolled convulsions)
  • Are less responsive than normal or become confused

If you think you have a health condition that places you at higher risk for serious complications, please contact the Health Center immediately or NurseLine after hours. More information about high-risk factors associated with H1N1 flu can be found at www.dickinson.edu/departments/health/H1N1-Information.htm
If you are otherwise healthy, but need medical attention for flu-related symptoms, please contact the Health Center to schedule an appointment. After hours, contact NurseLine.
While you have the flu, remember to:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take a fever reducer such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) if you are not allergic.

If you have general questions about the flu, please visit the Student Health Center Web site and click on H1N1 flu information at the top of the page. If you are not sure if you need to be seen, or you just have general questions concerning your illness, call the Student Flu Information Hotline at 717-245-1827.

  • Health Center: 717-245-1835
  • NurseLine: 1-866-409-1859 (after hours)
  • The Health Center Web site http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/health/ includes hours of operation and location, H1N1 questions and answers, campus updates, flu facts and Student Health 101 on H1N1.

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From an e-mail sent to Faculty and Staff (Mon., Aug. 3, 2009, 1:10 p.m.) and to Students (Tues., Aug. 4, 11:25 a.m.)

This summer, an important and necessary part of the college’s preparation for the fall semester included precautionary planning in case there is a widespread flu outbreak on campus during the academic year. Given what we are hearing from reliable national sources, there is a high probability that many, if not all, institutions across America—and internationally—will face flu challenges.

This letter is meant to provide you with the most current information available regarding the college’s plans to address the possibility of influenza-like illness on campus. Like other influenza viruses, the novel H1N1 virus continues to evolve. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) learns more about this virus, its recommendations may be revised. Consequently, Dickinson will adjust its planning as the guidance from the CDC changes.

Dickinson’s Response Plan
Dickinson’s Emergency Response Team has been meeting regularly this summer to develop a plan for managing influenza-like illness on campus. Team members include representatives from all areas of the college who have a role in responding to an outbreak of the flu—from professionals in our health center to individuals responsible for housekeeping and food service. Our efforts are intended to address comprehensively the issues that may arise and to make adjustments as necessary due to new information or guidance. Team members have been attending workshops and information sessions and are keeping abreast of guidelines and recommendations established by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The college’s response plan to address the presence of influenza-like illness on campus is as follows:

  • Promote Vaccination
    Receiving a seasonal flu vaccination and the H1N1 vaccine once it is available are effective ways to reduce your chances of getting the flu—particularly if you are in a high-risk category. If you believe you are in such a category, you should consult with your health care provider to make decisions on whether vaccination is right for you and when to receive it. The college cannot provide specific health guidance to individuals. Information on how the CDC defines high risk can be found at www.cdc.gov.

  • With regard to vaccinations, Human Resource Services is in the process of making arrangements to offer seasonal flu vaccinations on campus in the fall. Specifics will be provided in future communications.
  • Promote Good Hygiene
    Good hygiene habits will significantly reduce the spread of any influenza-like illness. Therefore, the college will be actively promoting good habits on campus this fall by communicating regularly and in many different formats—including posters, newspaper articles, radio spots and information sessions. Information on good hygiene habits is [included on this Web page].

  • Isolation
    The third way to limit the spread of the flu is to isolate people who are exhibiting symptoms of influenza-like illness from contact with healthy individuals. Currently, the CDC recommends isolating the sick person for a period of seven days or until the individual has been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Therefore, members of the college community (faculty, staff and students) who exhibit influenza-like symptoms of fever and cough, or fever and sore throat, will be asked to leave campus for a period of seven days or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.

  • Environmental Conditions
    One way the flu spreads is by a person touching an inanimate object that hosts the virus, such as a doorknob, and then touching his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Studies have shown that human influenza viruses generally can survive on a surface for between two and eight hours. During that period sufficient heat, germicides, detergents and alcohols are effective in killing the influenza virus when used correctly. Our housekeeping and facilities staff have reviewed the college’s cleaning practices and disinfectants used across campus; we are pleased to report that Dickinson meets or exceeds the standards recommended by the CDC. In addition, the college will increase the availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer and/or wipes in locations where soap and water is not readily available, such as the entrances to our dining locations and athletic facilities.

  • Temporary Suspension of Operations
    It is possible that at some point, and based upon severe circumstances related to the flu, the college may need to suspend operations for a short period. In case such an extreme measure is deemed necessary, further instructions will be forthcoming from the college.

The Dickinson Emergency Response Team will continue to meet and monitor the situation throughout the academic year. Further updates from the college regarding the flu will be e-mailed to all faculty, staff and students and posted [on this site], along with informational links. In addition, periodic updates will be posted as appropriate for employees. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these resources as you begin planning your fall semester and continue to access these updates.

Procedures and responses may change depending upon the course of the flu and recommendations from the CDC and other key agencies. If you have additional questions, please contact Human Resource Services.

Sincerely,

William G. Durden '71
President

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Flu Update – May 1, 2009

Today the CDC distributed guidelines relating to the H1N1 influenza virus (Swine Flu) to institutions of higher education. These guidelines include promoting everyday preventive actions for all members of the college community.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way
  • If you get influenza-like illness symptoms, stay home from work or school except to seek medical care and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them

Students experiencing flu-like symptoms should seek medical care at the Health Center or at Carlisle Regional Medical Center afterhours and on weekends.

Employees should stay home and consult their personal physician if experiencing flu-like symptoms.

As new information becomes available we will keep you updated through e-mail, the Web site and other appropriate communications.

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E-mail to campus community (Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 9 p.m.):

Earlier today you received an e-mail discussing precautionary measures and symptoms related to swine flu. We now follow with additional information.

Occurrences of illness are common on all college campuses, including Dickinson’s. In this time of heightened concern about cases of swine flu in the U.S., Dickinson will be following the protocols established by the CDC in response to students who display flu-like symptoms.

For students these protocols include the Student Health Center taking a sample and submitting it to a laboratory for appropriate testing. You will likely hear of cases in which students have been tested. Testing itself is not an indication of the presence of swine flu; it is being done as a precaution. Should a test present positive, be assured that the college will take additional action according to its emergency response plan.

Faculty and staff: Follow CDC recommendations and stay home and consult your personal physician if you are having flu-like symptoms.

As new information becomes available we will keep you updated through e-mail, the Web site and other appropriate communications.

Mary Arthur
Director, Student Health Services

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E-mail to campus community (Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 3:30 p.m.):

As the swine flu continues spreading across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting today, April 29, to discuss further actions to help slow its spread. Please read the following precautions and symptoms of the swine flu. If you are a student experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment at the Health Center immediately and do not go to classes unless Health Center staff clears you to do so. Employees should consult their family physician if they are having flu-like symptoms.

Please limit travel to other colleges or schools, or known locations of infection. This will decrease the chances that you will contract the flu and/or bring it to campus.

The Health Center Web site includes more detailed information about the flu. The CDC Web site is frequently being updated with new information and also is accessible from the Health Center site.

Recommended precautions to limit the spread of flu:
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based cleaners also are effective when soap and water is unavailable.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, your shoulder or crook of the elbow. Throw the tissue in the trash after use and wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Use sanitizing or disinfecting agents often on frequently touched surfaces such as cell and desk phones, computer keyboard and mouse, door handles, etc.
  • Avoid close contact with others and their secretions. This includes handshakes, hugs and kisses. The sharing of drinking glasses, food and utensils should be avoided.
  • If you get sick, the CDC recommends you stay home from school or work and limit contact with others to keep from spreading the flu.

According to the CDC, symptoms for swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu in humans and may include some combination of:
  • Fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Body aches and/or fatigue

Students with questions about the flu should contact the Health Center; employees should contact their family physician.

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