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Health Service letter to the community about the H1N1 flu virus, September 3 2009

September 3, 2009

Dear Students and Faculty,

We are writing to follow up on earlier correspondence regarding Vassar's preparations for preventing the spread of the H1N1 "swine flu" virus.  Specifically, Vassar will be abiding by U.S. Department of Education recommendations for institutions of higher education:

  1. Those with flu-like illness should stay away from classes and limit interactions with other people (called “self-isolation”), except to seek medical care, for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Some people with influenza will not have fever; therefore, absence of fever does not mean absence of infection. Infected individuals should stay away from others during this time period even if they are taking antiviral drugs for treatment of the flu. If it is confirmed that you have the flu, minimize contact with others for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.  For additional information regarding "self-isolation," visit  http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/exclusion.htm.
  2. Students and faculty who are not feeling well should abide by these recommendations and not attend class if they have flu-like symptoms.  Students with flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention at the Vassar College Health Service.  Faculty with flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention from their health care providers.  Faculty not able to attend classes should notify their academic departments. 
    Since we are recommending that students and faculty do not go to class while they have flu-like symptoms, we ask that faculty be flexible in excusing attendance and in allowing the make-up of missed work, especially in a period likely to have a higher than usual incidence of illness.  Students who have been seen at Baldwin will as before be on the health advisory list, but they are encouraged to work via email with their professors to keep up with class work if possible and to inform their professors directly of their medical situation.

In addition, we want to remind you about simple steps that you can take to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands regularly, particularly after touching public surfaces.
  • Don’t share food or drink with other people.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids (water, juice, etc.).
  • Maintain your own supply of over-the-counter medications and fluids so that you’re prepared if you start to feel sick.
  • If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, see the doctor right away to determine whether you have the flu.
  • If you do have the flu, minimize contact with others for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please direct them to the Vassar College Health Service (845) 437-5800.

Sincerely,

Chris Roellke, Dean of the College
Jon Chenette, Dean of the Faculty