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Colleges and Universities
With the fall semester under way, college administrators and students should be prepared for a ramped-up flu season. Unlike the seasonal flu, the H1N1 (Swine) flu has been affecting college-age adults at a higher rate than older adults or seniors. The H1N1 (Swine) flu is a new virus. College students do not have immunity against it. Schools and students should focus on prevention and follow these flu guidelines.
- Stay away from classes and limit interactions with other people, except to seek medical care. Remain home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.
- If you are dormitory resident and your permanent residence is not far away from your school, consider returning home to keep from making others sick. If possible, do so in a way that limits contact with others as much as possible. For example, travel by private car or taxi, instead of public transportation.
- If you live in a dormitory and share a room, find out if your college has alternate housing for ill students.
- If you live in a private room in a dorm (and your college does not provide alternative housing) remain in your room and receive care and meals from a single person.
- Contact your teachers, college staff and friends by e-mail, text message or phone calls.
- If close contact with others cannot be avoided, wear a surgical mask during the period of contact.
- Promptly seek medical attention if you have a medical condition that puts you at increased risk of severe illness from flu (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are concerned about your illness, or develop severe symptoms such as increased fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or rapid breathing.
- Review and revise, as needed, student absenteeism policies and sick leave policies for faculty and staff. Do not make it difficult for students, faculty, and staff to stay home when they are ill. Do not require a doctor’s note to confirm illness or recovery. Doctor’s offices may be very busy and may not be able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Remove barriers for faculty and staff to stay home and care for an ill family member. Review and revise sick leave policies, if needed.
- Promote self-isolation at home by non-resident students, faculty, and staff. Non-residential students, faculty, and staff with flu-like illness should be asked to self-isolate at home or at a friend’s or family member’s home until at least 24 hours after they are symptom free.
- Discourage campus visits by ill persons: Use a variety of communication methods such as e-mail, posters, flyers, and media coverage to discourage people with flu-like illness from visiting the campus or attending events such as football games.
- Encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette of both people who are well and those that have any symptoms of flu: Emphasize the importance of the basic foundations of flu prevention: stay home when sick, wash hands frequently with soap and water when possible, and cover noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or a shirt sleeve or elbow if no tissue is available).
- Encourage routine cleaning
Establish regular schedules for frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces (for example, bathrooms, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and tables).
Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by students before each use.
Encourage students to frequently clean their living quarters, including high-touch surfaces.
Additional Resources for Colleges and Universities
CDC Guidance for Higher Education