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H1N1 Contingency Plans

Message from Richard Pizer, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sept. 8, 2009

Dear NYIT Community Members:

We are writing to all members of the NYIT community - students, faculty, staff, and parents - to inform you of the steps that NYIT is taking to address concerns about the H1N1 (swine) flu. This message is part of our institutional response to reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the effect that the H1N1 virus will continue to be a matter for concern along with the usual seasonal influenza viruses. The CDC estimates that infection rates may be approximately double those of recent years (as high as 40 percent).

NYIT continues to monitor the situation carefully and is urging all students, faculty members, and staff to take precautionary measures to help limit the spread of this virus. To this end, all members of the NYIT community are encouraged to be vigilant about basic ways to protect their health:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleansers also are effective.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (then throw out the tissue). Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Common symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. The CDC recommends that people with flu-like illness stay home from work or school until 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. These agencies estimate that, in most cases, a person with the flu will be ill for two to four days. They note that most people will recover without medical care and recommend seeing a doctor only if the illness is severe or if you are at high risk for complications. Complete text of the CDC recommendations may be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect. Health organizations in other countries where NYIT has campuses may also provide additional information about the local response to H1N1.

Any NYIT employee who contracts the flu or a flu-like illness is expected to notify his or her supervisor. Students are urged to contact their faculty members as soon as possible to let them know that they will be absent due to the flu. All members of the NYIT community who contract the flu or a flu-like illness must also report this information via e-mail to flu@nyit.edu so NYIT can monitor the spread of H1N1 and report the information to the appropriate health authorities.

Faculty members are urged to make every possible allowance for student absences due to illness, but should not lower their academic standards and should expect students to make up any work missed. In situations where regularly scheduled class meetings are not held, missed time must be made up in an appropriate way that maintains NYIT's academic quality. Also, we must document what we do in order to meet our standards.

Some faculty members may wish to continue their classes via distance learning. Faculty members will receive instructions regarding how to set up a contingency course shell later this month.

Faculty members should pay particular attention to the possibility that students who may be out at the end of the semester might miss final exams or assignments. In the event that a grade of incomplete is appropriate, please be reminded that NYIT's Incomplete Policy allows students ample time to complete the missing work. Please refer to the current catalog for specific deadlines, as they change from semester to semester.

Similarly, faculty members should leave copies of their final exams with their department offices, and department chairs should make sure they have people available, preferably faculty members, who are qualified to proctor exams in the event that the faculty member becomes ill. Departments are urged to discuss contingency plans early in the semester.

The new challenges presented by the H1N1 virus will require flexibility on all our parts. At this time, we do not know the magnitude of the challenges that we may face, but NYIT will continue to coordinate our efforts with health offices. Updates will be available as the flu season progresses.

Sincerely,

Richard Pizer, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

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