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A message for RIC faculty regarding H1N1 flu

To All Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty:

As you know, the H1N1 virus has received worldwide attention, and concerns are high that another pandemic could occur this fall. Although the infection last fall was eventually raised to pandemic status, Phase 6, by the World Health Organization, the virus did not mutate to as lethal of a form as people were worried about. That could change this fall.

College-age students have had among the highest incidence of cases, and, as a result, colleges and universities are making preparations for dealing with the virus. Rhode Island College has put out several pieces of important information on the Health Services website and elsewhere.

I write to encourage you to prepare for the possibility of a serious outbreak of H1N1. Here is what I ask you to do.

1. Be aware of health guidelines related to symptoms, transmission reduction, vaccination, and actions to be taken for people who suspect they have H1N1; see www.ric.edu/healthservices.

2. If you think you may have H1N1, do not come to class. Plan for some alternative delivery options in case you need to suspend your class temporarily.

3. If an outbreak occurs, be flexible in your classroom attendance policies. We must maintain our academic standards. We also must not encourage the spread of the disease. Use your judgment about individual cases, but remember that people who think they may have H1N1 are being told by health authorities to stay home and not go to a health clinic unless they need urgent care.

4. In the event of an outbreak, stay tuned to the college's emergency response outlets, especially the RIC website. If a major outbreak occurs, the college will put out a notice of any college-wide actions to be taken.

Thank you for your attention to this potentially serious matter.

Ronald Pitt
Vice President for Academic Affairs