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USC Upstate Prepares For H1N1 Virus

Updated 1/15/10:  Health Services is a provider of the H1N1 vaccines and can offer these vaccines to the public during normal business hours for a $5 administrative fee. To schedule an appointment, call (864) 503-5191.

Updated 12/10/09: On December 10, 2009, the target population for live, attenuated H1N1 LAIV (MedImmune) will be expanded to all healthy, non-pregnant persons aged 2-49 years. This does NOT apply to inactivated injectable H1N1 vaccines. Currently, the supply of live, attenuated H1N1 LAIV (MedImmune) is plentiful - please consider ordering this product if your patient population includes healthy, non-pregnant persons 2-49 years of age. If you have any questions, please contact DHEC Immunization Division at 800-277-4687 or immunize@dhec.sc.gov.

Updated 12/1/09: Attention Faculty and Staff: H1N1 Vaccines 

Updated 9/14/09: Continuity Plan for Campus Disruptions due to Pandemic Diseases 

Updated 8/31/09: Pandemic Flu and Reporting Leave 

Updated 8/25/09: The University of South Carolina Upstate is committed to the safety and security of its campus community. As flu season nears, there are many valid concerns regarding how the H1N1 virus (referred to as “swine flu” early on) may affect the University.

As the situation warrants, communication with the campus community will increase to keep you informed of developments and of plans being implemented.  Information will be shared in via the following communication channels:

The flu season will last through the fall and winter. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including seasonal fu and the 2009 H1N1 flu. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to take these everyday steps to protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze, and before eating.
  • Use of alcohol-based hand cleaners is also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands. Germs spread this way. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Symptoms

Q. What are the symptoms of seasonal fu and the 2009 H1N1 flu?

Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting. Severe symptoms include increased fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, fast breathing, bluish skin color, vomiting, dizziness or confusion.

Q. How do I recognize a fever or signs of a fever?

A fever is a temperature that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius when taken with a thermometer. Look for these possible signs of fever: if he or she feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering.

Q. How do I know if someone has 2009 H1N1 fu or seasonal flu?

It will be very hard to tell if someone who is sick has 2009 H1N1 flu or seasonal flu. Public health officials and medical authorities will not be recommending laboratory tests. Anyone who has the symptoms of flu-like illness should stay home and not go to work. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Q.  What fever-reducing medications can students, faculty, and staff take when sick?

Fever-reducing medications are medicines that contain acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin). These medicines can be given to people who are sick with flu to help bring their fever down and relieve their pain. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) should not be given to anyone younger than 18 years of age who have flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.

 
Prevention

Q. What steps can USC Upstate take to keep sick students, faculty, and staff from spreading the flu?

  • Encourage sick students, faculty, and staff to stay home and away from other people until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
  • If possible, sick students who live in on-campus housing should return to their family’s home.
  • If your roommate is sick with the flu, limit your contact and try to maintain a distance of 6 feet from him or her and frequently clean commonly-touched surfaces (such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls, and countertops).
  • Ask sick students with private rooms to remain in their own rooms and receive care and meals from one person, if possible.

 
Academic Contingency Plans

Will USC Upstate close?  If so, when?  How will I know?
The health and safety of students and employees is top priority at the University. If situations dictate that the University must close, notifications will be delivered via the following outlets: at www.uscupstate.edu, an e-mail to the campus community, media release to all local media outlets, through University departments, and by any other means deemed appropriate at the time.

Who makes the decision to close the University?
In a significant health crisis, the Governor has ultimate authority in South Carolina and conceivably could order the University and other public and private entities to close. However, USC Upstate will act quickly if the flu is deemed to be a significant threat on campus. University administrators would take action immediately, possibly before an executive order is issued by the Governor.

What happens if classes are suspended?
Students will not report to campus (either in Spartanburg or Greenville) as a result of the spread of influenza. Students will continue their academic classes via alternative delivery model such as Blackboard. The University will remain open and healthy employees will be expected to report to campus. Note: Circumstances may arise that result in classes being suspended on one campus but not the other.
 

Continuity Of Classes During The Flu Season
The flu season is rapidly approaching. Many of you have already made plans for yourself and for students who contract the flu (H1N1 or other strains), and we thank you for your advanced planning. The University as well as Academic Affairs has also been engaged in advanced planning.

Faculty members must begin planning now for alternatives for your classes and off campus experiences (ie. clinical experiences). As you begin the alternative planning for academic continuity, we ask each of you to do the following:

  1. Permit students, faculty and staff at higher risk of complications from the flu to remain home when there is flu present in the community.
  2. Be lenient on absences and time to make-up work should the student(s) contract the flu and please do not require signed doctor’s notes as many of the health care facilities may be overwhelmed and have no time to sign absence notes.
  3. Prepare an addendum to your syllabi and distribute to all students in your classes. The addendum should contain information about:
    •  How students should contact you if they are ill and unable to attend class
    •  How you will notify students about alternative assignments should the need arise
    •  Links to University Web pages where the student is able to receive accurate and current information
    •  Your policy about absences and make-up work for classes and clinical (or required off campus work)
    •  Your plan and options for how work will be continued at home (via e-mail or Blackboard) if classes are suspended or you are unable to attend the classes due to illness
  4. Remind everyone (other faculty, staff and students) to practice prevention (such as hand washing and/or use of alcohol based gel products) and to remain home if they have symptoms of the flu (fever or chills and cough or sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting).

Cindy Jennings, director of education technology, is currently preparing material about ways to alternatively deliver your class content should your class be suspended. Many of you are already familiar and use the Internet to deliver class content and others are less comfortable. Cindy is preparing resources for each of you and will be contacting the campus soon with the links to this material.

For your information, we have attached a link to the USC system Pandemic Plan as well as a link to a CDC Web page that provides further directions for all persons part of institutions of higher education.