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Pandemic Flu and Reporting Leave

As the fall semester gets underway, the University community is faced with the possibility of coping with seasonal flu as well as the H1N1 flu (Swine Flu). The University administration is closely monitoring the situation and asks for your help as the Human Resources contact or Business Manager in your department. 

A very important element in our prevention efforts is making certain that faculty and staff who are sick remain at home so they do not infect students, co-workers, and colleagues. As your department’s HR contact or Business Manager, you should ensure that the faculty and staff members in your area understand the importance of following this recommendation, which is endorsed by the University’s administration.

In addition to staying at home if they are ill, it is important for faculty and staff to report any absences related to the flu through ITAMS. USC is required to report the number of flu-related absences to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  DHEC will use our reporting and that of other entities in developing recommendations and distribution plans for vaccine and antiviral medication.

In preparation for this reporting, new time codes are being added to ITAMS, the University’s time and attendance reporting system. The new codes allow faculty and staff to select a code of sick with flu-like symptoms, or sick with H1N1 flu confirmed by a medical professional, or sick leave to care for a family member with the flu. In addition to these new sick leave time codes, the same options are available for annual leave or for leave without pay that a faculty or staff member may take to deal with the flu.

Please ensure that faculty and staff in your academic and administrative units report leave time associated with the flu. Accurate reporting is a significant tool in the monitoring of any campus outbreak, allowing the administration to develop control strategies and to evaluate other measures that may be necessary. 

Remember, tell faculty and staff who have the flu or flu-like symptoms to stay at home, to stay at home to care for family members with the flu, and to report any flu-related absences. Also encourage everyone to observe and promote preventive actions to stay healthy, such as washing your hands often with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand cleaners. Start your prevention by getting your seasonal flu shot as soon as it becomes available.