August 26, 2009
As the new academic year commences, we want to take this time to share with you an update on our H1N1 virus planning efforts. Creighton University and your all-University Crisis Committee is taking a comprehensive look at this issue and is preparing for this potential situation on our campus. A website with information is available at www.creighton.edu/emergencypreparedness/
- Our University is dedicated to providing a safe and secure living and working environment for our students, faculty and staff. We ask that the Creighton community familiarize themselves with the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and practice the following to promote a healthy campus environment:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners may also be effective and have been placed in many campus buildings for your use. http://www.cdc.gov/cleanhands/
- Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing the tissue in the trash after use. If a tissue is not immediately available, cough or sneeze into one’s arm or sleeve. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/covercough.htm
- Use disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before each use.
- Clean frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, computer keyboards, countertops, faucet handles, and bathroom areas.
- Get a vaccine when it becomes available.
- If you become ill: Individuals with influenza-like illness should self-isolate at home for at least seven days after symptom onset, even if symptoms resolve sooner. Individuals who are still sick seven days after they become ill should continue to self-isolate until at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved. Symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting (http://www.pandemicflu.gov/faq/swineflu/04.html). The University has several recommendations for students, faculty and staff, including:
- Faculty and staff who become, or are believed to have become, ill with the H1N1 virus must stay at home and immediately report their absence and illness to their supervisor, chair or dean as appropriate.
- Supervisors should report to Human Resources cases of H1N1 and H1N1 like illnesses that come to their attention.
- Ill students should communicate with their faculty and should not attend class. Sick students also should isolate themselves from others to prevent further spreading of the virus.
- Students in the residence halls should report their illness to their resident assistant, so accommodations can be made, isolating the student from other residents.
The Crisis Committee will continue to respond to the H1N1 flu situation with the guidance of the University’s communicable disease response plan, the CDC and state and local agencies. We will also share regular updates and new information with the University community. Students, faculty and staff should monitor the University's Emergency Preparedness frequently at www.creighton.edu/emergencypreparedness/.
John C. Cernech, Ph.D.