As you may know, flu can be spread easily from person to person. Therefore, we are taking steps to prevent the spread of flu at William Paterson University. However, we need your help to accomplish this.
We are working closely with the local and state health departments to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available to us.
For now, we are doing everything we can to keep our institution operating as usual. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
- Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.
- Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Look for possible signs of fever (i.e. the person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering).
- Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Do not go to class or work.
- Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also, if you are at higher risk for complications from the 2009 H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. People at higher risk for the 2009 H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.
If this year's flu season becomes more severe, we may take the following additional steps to prevent the spread of the virus:
- Allow students, faculty, and staff at higher risk for complications to stay home. These students, faculty, and staff should make this decision in consultation with their health care provider.
- Find ways to increase social distances (the space between people) in classrooms such as moving desks farther apart, leaving empty seats between students, holding outdoor classes, and using distance learning methods.
- Extend the time sick students, faculty, or staff stay home or in their residence. During severe flu conditions sick people should stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. Those who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms have gone away. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Suspend classes. This decision will be made together with local and state public health officials. The length of time classes should be suspended will depend on the severity and extent of illness on this campus.
- Residential Students. If you are a residential student and become ill with flu like symptoms, you may be asked to leave the residence halls. Please plan in advance along with family and friends so that, in the event that you become ill, you will be able to recover off campus. Also, in the event that school does close, please make an emergency evacuation plan so that you know who will be picking you up and/or where you will be staying. If you are not able to return home or go somewhere else to stay please notify the Office of Residence Life as soon as possible.
In order for us to monitor if there is an outbreak on campus we encourage anyone in the University community (including faculty, staff and students) who is experiencing flu like symptoms to fill out a voluntary registry form that will be located on our H1N1 Health Alert webpage (accessed through the University's home page). Please note this is anonymous and for tracking purposes only.
For the most up-to-date information on flu, visit www.flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
For more information about flu in our community and what our institution is doing, visit ww2.wpunj.edu. We will notify you by email, continually update information on our University webpage, text message from Connect Ed, and update the health alert hotline at 973-720-H1N1 (4161) with any additional changes to our institution's strategy to prevent the spread of flu on campus.