Special message to parents regarding H1N1 flu virus
As Elon prepares for the opening of the 2009-10 academic year, Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students, has prepared a special communication regarding steps the campus community is taking to deal with a possible outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.
Dear Elon Parents:
As we welcome students to campus for the new academic year, I want to share with you important information about the H1N1 virus, more commonly known as “swine flu.” Illness with this new virus has ranged from mild to severe. While most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infection with this virus have occurred. As a precautionary measure, the University has taken several steps should the virus surface at Elon this fall or spring. In addition, we ask that you discuss with your son or daughter the steps he or she can take to avoid getting the flu and to be prepared if we have cases on the Elon campus. Personal preparedness information and links to resources will also be posted to the Health Services Web-site prior to the start of classes.
The CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend households (and students) have supplies on hand to participate in their own care. Items students should have readily available in their living space, whether on or off campus include thermometers, tissues, fever reducers, cold/flu medications, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Many of these items are available for purchase in the Campus Shop, the Fountain Place Market in The Colonnades, and Health Services.
It is also important that we have current emergency contact and address information on every student so we can contact the proper persons if needed in the event of an emergency. Please urge your son or daughter to update emergency contact information as soon as possible. Students can update their contact information by logging in to On Track and following the link under "Communications" and "Update Contact Information". Likewise, we encourage students to take advantage of our E-Alert emergency text messaging system which is used to notify students of emergencies; parents may also be listed by their student to receive notices. Students may register for E-Alert by visiting http://org.elon.edu/e-alert/
A crucial first step in reducing the spread of the flu, seasonal or the H1NI strain is to help students understand ways to reduce their risk of getting the flu. The Office of Student Development will conduct an awareness campaign this fall to better educate students, faculty and staff on personal prevention measures, including proper hand washing techniques and effective cough etiquette. We also encourage studnets to take advantage of the free flu vaccines offered by Health Services this fall. While these shots do NOT protect against H1N1, they will limit susceptibility to other strains of flu. When the swine flu vaccine being developed becomes available, Health Services will inform students of the time and location to receive the vaccinations.
Should we have an outbreak of the swine flu, Elon is well prepared. We are monitoring the situation closely. Our staff receives daily updates about the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. University leaders are also attending periodic briefings by state and local officials. Over the summer, our campus plans were updated to handle any situation that may arise concerning the swine flu. The University’s emergency response plan has protocols in place for an outbreak of any illness and we will communicate more specifics if the situation warrants. We do want to advise students and parents that in the event of an outbreak, sick or affected students may be advised to go home for several days to recuperate. We will work with students to maintain their academic progress to the greatest extent possible.
The amount of media attention paid to the H1N1 virus has understandably created concern among many people. Please know that Elon University is ready to handle any situation that arises and that our communication to you is one of our top priorities as conditions unfold. Students, faculty, staff and parents are advised to stay informed about University plans in the event of an outbreak. That address is http://www.elon.edu/e-net/.
Please feel free to call The Office of Student Development at (336) 278-7200 with additional questions.
G. Smith Jackson
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students