Boston University Office of the VP for Administrative Services

H1N1 Information for Charles River Faculty & Staff

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this communication is to inform you of the steps being taken by Boston University to prepare for the possibly of an outbreak of the H1N1 (Influenza A) flu. 

As you probably know, there is growing concern about the H1N1 flu. Officials at all levels of government and health agencies are recommending precautionary steps for employers and employees to follow in order to prevent the spread of any Influenza Like Illness (ILI). I want to reassure you that the University leadership has undertaken a number of steps to prepare for the possibility of a flu outbreak. We have been monitoring the situation closely and are observing the guidance being provided by federal, state, and local health officials. For the past several years, the University’s Pandemic Flu Task Force, under my leadership and made up of representatives from all parts of the University, including strong representation from the School of Medicine and School of Public Health, has met to develop plans that will enable the University to address a pandemic flu, should one arise. 

Dr. David Mc Bride, Director of Student Health Services, will oversee the University’s overall response while continuing to serve our student population. You should visit the Student Health Services website for the most up to date information at http://www.bu.edu/shs.

Boston University’s Occupational Health Center expects to receive a sufficient number of seasonal flu vaccine doses early next week. As soon as the vaccine arrives, Occupational Health will send a notice to all faculty and staff on the Charles River Campus detailing the dates and times when free flu shot clinics will be offered. I urge each of you, if your health status permits, to obtain the seasonal flu shot this year as a precautionary measure.

The University will carefully follow the protocols that have been recommended by health officials to employers for managing absences of those employees who may be impacted by the H1N1 flu.  Generally, the advice is to be flexible in handling employee absences due to flu-related personal illness, illness of a family member, or concerns related to employees who have medical conditions which place them in high risk categories.

Public Health authorities recommend that anyone who is ill with flu-related symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose should stay at home to avoid exposing others to infection. It is recommended that you also:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Boston University has made available numerous hand sanitizer dispensers across campus.
  • Avoid touching your face as this can transfer germs from your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into your sleeve or into a tissue. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands if possible, as this will allow you to transmit an infection to surfaces with which you come in contact.
  • Plan to receive a seasonal flu vaccine.
  • If you become ill while you are at work, you should avoid contact with coworkers, notify your supervisor, and return to your home immediately.
  • You should remain at home until 24 hours after your fever subsides.
  • To the extent possible, supervisors should review essential functions and develop plans for business continuity by identifying back-up personnel to assume these duties in the event of wide-spread illness. Supervisors should also explore areas where it is feasible for essential work to be done remotely or through telecommuting.

Boston University will provide timely communications through BU Today and through postings on various University websites.

For more details related to employee attendance concerns and links to information on H1N1 Influenza A, please go to the Human Resources website http://www.bu.edu/hr or to Boston University's H1N1 information page at http://www.bu.edu/info/h1n1.

Sincerely,

Peter Fiedler,

Vice President for Administrative Services

 

Boston UniversityBoston University Office of the VP for Administrative Services
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