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Faculty asked to work with students who miss class due to flu

Jan. 18, 2018, 12:20 PM

The Office of the Dean of Students is reporting a high number of influenza cases among students on campus. As a result, the Student Health Center is encouraging all students who are ill to stay away from class to avoid spreading the virus.

At this time, Academic Affairs is asking that faculty grant waivers to their normal attendance policies to prevent the spread of germs. Faculty and students are encouraged to work together on missed classes and assignments.

The Center for Teaching also offers the guide “Dealing with the Unexpected: Teaching When You or Your Students Can’t Make It to Class.” The guide provides information about Brightspace’s Virtual Classroom among other tools.

Facilities has increased its cleaning protocols in all campus buildings, with an emphasis on residential areas. In addition, all faculty and staff should practice good hygiene and flu prevention.

The Student Health Center provides the following additional information:

This year’s influenza season is expected to be a difficult one, since the flu shot doesn’t have its usual high level of coverage for the circulating flu viruses. Therefore, it is extra-important to protect yourself by washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with others who have the flu.

People with flu can spread the virus to others up to about six feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to pass on flu to someone else before you even know you’re sick as well as while you are sick.

To help minimize the spread of flu, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Wash your hands often and use the Purell dispensers located in various campus buildings.

If students believe they have the flu (fever, aches, cough), they should call Student Health at 615-322-2427 to make an appointment. Walk-in visits are available once all appointment slots are filled. Starting Tamiflu within 48 hours of illness can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms and can help prevent the spread of infection as easily to others.

If students have had close contact with a person with influenza (roommate, close friend, significant other), then they can take Tamiflu for prevention. In order to get this prescription, they should message their provider at the Student Health Center via the patient portal at www.myhealthatvanderbilt.com. If they don’t have access to My Health at Vanderbilt, they can call the Student Health Center or walk in for the preventive medication.

Vanderbilt faculty and staff concerned about flu symptoms should contact their primary care provider or visit the Occupational Health Clinic or Faculty/Staff Express Care.

For more information about flu prevention, check out these tips from the Centers for Disease Control.

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