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Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 Flu - Faculty

Please note that the following questions and responses refer to on-campus classes. Faculty who work with students in clinical, education, practicum, internship or other off-campus sites must work with their department chairs and deans to ensure compliance with those institutions' policies and procedures.

For questions about unique class needs, faculty members are encouraged to work with their chairs and deans immediately to determine a viable plan.

With the H1N1 virus, staff and students are encouraged to report empty soap dispensers or any undesirable restroom conditions by calling FM Customer Service at ext. 3711 OR Building Services ext. 2067 for a prompt response.

1. What if a faculty member experiences influenza like illness (ILI) and is unable to teach?

Each department must have in place a contingency plan detailing specific alternative course coverage for each faculty member. Alternative course coverage generally includes having another faculty member teach the class or offering the class in a distance format. It is highly advisable for all faculty members to place all course materials on Blackboard so that this resource can be utilized by students in the event of their own or their professor's absence from class.

If all viable alternative course coverage options have been exhausted, class sessions may be canceled in consultation with the chair and dean, as appropriate. However, faculty members must work to ensure that learning can continue during this time period by making course materials available to students through Blackboard or other online options.

2. I have a strict attendance policy. Must I modify it?

Yes. In the inevitable event that the University experiences an ILI outbreak, students will be encouraged to self-isolate if they experience ILI and not to attend class. Faculty members must relax their attendance policies and not penalize students for missing classes while they are experiencing ILI. Students must be given the opportunity to make up assignments missed during their absence from class. Faculty members may wish to reinforce with students that feigning ILI or attending class with ILI and subjecting others to possible infection is in violation of the "honorable and high standards" and "personal and academic integrity" components of The Cougar Creed. Also reinforce with students that they should contact their faculty members by email, if possible, to inform them of their absence from class as soon as possible after experiencing ILI symptoms.

In addition to class attendance, relaxed attendance policies must also be utilized for other academic attendance requirements such as participation in research studies, attendance at department/university lectures and performances, etc.

3. I have a strict documentation policy for absences. Must I modify it?

Yes. It may be very difficult for a student to receive documentation verifying H1N1. According to policy, Health Services does not provide documentation verifying an illness and students will have difficulty obtaining such documentation from a community healthcare provider. Because of this, faculty should not require documentation for an ILI absence nor should they require documentation for a student to return to class.

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