TO:All University Faculty Members
FROM:Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter
DATE:September 4, 2009
SUBJECT:H1N1/Class Absences, Fall 2009 Guidelines

Fall 2009 is expected to be an active influenza season with the risk of both seasonal and novel H1N1 flu viruses. University communities are particularly vulnerable to the spread of illness. While students have been instructed to stay away from campus if they have symptoms, there is concern that some will come to class because of attendance rules, risking further spread of the virus. In an effort to mitigate this risk, and in light of University Health Services recommendation that students self isolate if they show signs of illness, it is important that faculty be flexible with students who miss class due to influenza-related illness. The Dean of Students Office will assist with notification of faculty and verification for students who are absent due to illness. Students that visit University Health Services will receive verification of their visit. However, some students may not be able to verify their illness since they may be advised to stay home when ill unless their symptoms warrant further treatment. Faculty should be flexible in such cases.

For up-to-date campus emergency information and recommendations on the H1N1 influenza, please refer to the following website: http://www.utexas.edu/emergency/.

We recommend that faculty provide this website link to their students and communicate the following information to their classes as well:

  • Students who are ill with flu-like symptoms should NOT come to class or have close contact with other students (e.g., study groups). They should NOT return to class until 24 hours after fever has abated. (Faculty should follow the same guidelines.)
  • Faculty may wish to refer to the Honor Code to remind students that both abuse of a more lenient absence policy and attendance in class while contagious are incompatible with our code of individual responsibility.

If students have the following "influenza-like" symptoms, they should call the UHS 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line at (512) 475-6877. Professional nurses will help students determine whether or when they need to see a healthcare provider and what to do to feel better.

  • Fever higher than 100 degrees F plus a cough and/or sore throat
  • body aches
  • fatigue
  • nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea