Update to Staff from Dr. Stephenson on the H1N1 Virus
From: Heskett, Christina On Behalf Of Stephenson, Gwendolyn
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 2:59 PM
To: HCC Community
Subject: H1N1 (Swine Flu) Planning
I wanted to provide the college with an update on our preparations for the potential spread of the H1N1 virus. Recognizing that this is a very dynamic process and will likely change as more information becomes available, we are currently planning for the potential of additional outbreaks this fall. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recently issued new guidelines for higher education. Currently, they do not recommend that schools or colleges close in the event of confirmed cases, but rather work closely with local and state health department officials to determine the appropriate situational response.
At this time, both the CDC and Hillsborough County Health Department (HCHD) continue to emphasize the need for those who are ill to stay home from work or school for 24 hours after a fever subsides. Current sick leave policies already address this for faculty and staff who become ill or those who may have to stay home to take care of a family member. We are currently developing guidelines that address leave if we are forced to close for an indeterminate amount of time due to a pandemic for students, faculty, and staff.
The college’s cleaning contractor, Sodexho, has increased its focus in areas of high traffic to ensure that door knobs, handles, hand rails, elevator buttons, and flat surfaces receive additional attention. They have also installed 160 hand sanitizer stations across the college and will be routinely monitoring them to ensure that they remain filled and operational. Hand washing and good hygiene remain the best deterrent for the spread of the H1N1 virus. Additionally, the college has worked with the HCHD to make flu shots available on All-College Day in October. Although this vaccine is not for the H1N1 flu, we hope that many of you will take advantage of this convenience in an effort to remain healthy throughout flu season.
We have been working on associated contingency planning in the event that we are forced to close for a period of time. We have secured information on those able to work remotely and have tested core business processes such as payroll to ensure that they can be completed successfully off-site. If you have not done so, this planning provides another excellent opportunity to sign up for Hawk Alert, the college’s emergency text notification system at www.hccfl.edu/alerts. In the event of a closure, the college will use all communication means available, including email and Hawk Alert, to notify the college community. As classes begin, we will also communicate this information to our students.
The health of all faculty, staff, and students is of paramount importance to this institution. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide you with additional information as it becomes available. Thank you all for your vigilance, and I wish you a safe and healthy start to the fall semester.
Please click here for link to HCC Administrative Procedure on Leave of Absence/Sick Leave (currently under revision).
More information here on Sick Leave provisions in SEIU Contract.