EMU unveils measures to limit H1N1 threat on campus

Eastern Michigan University released procedures for students to follow if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, which include staying away from classes and other people until symptoms have been absent for more than 24 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading illness throughout campus, the Continuity Plan for Effective Absenteeism Due to H1N1 urges students to not attend classes if they are suffering from influenza-like symptoms.

The plan also urges faculty to be flexible with students who are sick, including allowing students to make up assignments or course requirements without academic penalty.

Students are only required to notify their instructors and the university by e-mail in order to report and verify their influenza-like symptoms.

According to Provost Jack Kay the plan is designed to make self-isolation easier for students.

Ellen Gold, the director of Health Services at EMU, said the plan is in place to help keep students and faculty healthy as well as stop the spread of influenza.

Gold said, EMU has been the model in H1N1 flu preparation for other Michigan universities: “Our plan is comprehensive, but it’s flexible enough to allow us to stay one step ahead of the problem.”

EMU’s plan was put together after looking at what the Center for Disease Control advises as well as what other universities across the nation are implementing.

“I think Eastern Michigan is way in front of what other universities are doing,” Provost Kay said.

If students are concerned that their instructors won’t follow these procedures, there is an appeals process that he or she can follow, starting with speaking to the head of the department.

However Kay said he doubts faculty members will not be cooperative.

“Instructors are concerned, they want to see you succeed,” Kay said.

Jamal Porterfield, a psychology student at Eastern, already had the flu this semester. Porterfield did attend his classes though, for fear of missing important assignments. He says that if the continuity plan had been in place when he had been sick, he would not have gone to class.

For more information, visit the University Health Service website at www.emich.edu/uhs/swineflu.

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