SMU’s Standards Regarding Seasonal Flu
As Recommended by CDC
- Encourage employees and students to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza.
- Encourage employees and students to get vaccinated for H1N1 influenza when vaccines are available to them. Different groups are prioritized for H1N1 influenza than for seasonal influenza.
Facilitate self-isolation of
residential students with flu-like illness
Those with flu-like
illness should stay away from classes and limit interactions with other
people (called “self-isolation”), except to seek medical care, for at least
24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the
use of fever-reducing medicines. Some people with influenza will not have
fever; therefore, absence of fever does not mean absence of infection. They
should stay away from others during this time period even if they are taking
antiviral drugs for treatment of the flu.
Do not require a
doctor’s note to confirm illness or recovery. Doctor’s offices may be very
busy and may not be able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
residential students with flu-like illness who live relatively close to the
campus should return to their home to keep from making others sick. These
students should be instructed to do so in a way that limits contact with
others as much as possible. For example, travel by private car or taxi would
be preferable over use of public transportation.
Students with a
private room should remain in their room and receive care and meals from a
single person. Students can establish a “flu buddy scheme” in which students
pair up to care for each other if one or the other becomes ill.
Additionally, staff can make daily contact by e-mail, text messaging, phone
calls, or other methods with each student who is in self-isolation.
If close contact with
others cannot be avoided, the ill student should be asked to wear a surgical
mask during the period of contact. Examples of close contact include
kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or having any other contact
between persons likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets.
For those who cannot leave campus, and who do not have a private room, SMU is in the process of identifying space for housing students placed in isolation for the flu.
with flu-like illness to promptly seek medical attention if they have a
medical condition that puts them at increased risk of severe illness from
flu, are concerned about their illness, or develop severe symptoms such as
increased fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or rapid
Promote self-isolation at home by
non-resident students, faculty, and staff
students, faculty, and staff with flu-like illness should be asked to
self-isolate at home or at a friend’s or family member’s home until at least
24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use
of fever-reducing medicines.
Do not require a
doctor’s note for students, faculty, or staff to validate their illness or
to return to work, as doctor’s offices and medical facilities may be
extremely busy and may not be able to provide such documentation in a timely
Recommended Employer Responses
Expect sick employees
to be out for about 3 to 5 days in most cases, even if antiviral medications
Employees who are
well but have an ill family member at home with influenza can go to work as
usual. However, these employees should monitor their health every day.
When possible and if
they can tolerate it, workers who become ill with symptoms of an
influenza-like illness during the workday should be given a surgical mask to
wear before they go home if they cannot be placed in an area away from
If an employee
becomes ill at work, inform fellow employees of their possible exposure in
the workplace to influenza-like illness but maintain confidentiality as
required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Considerations for high-risk students,
faculty and staff
People at high risk
for flu complications who become ill with flu-like illness should speak with
their health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment with
antiviral medications often can prevent hospitalizations and deaths. Groups
that are at higher risk of complications from flu if they get sick include:
children younger than age 5; people age 65 or older; children and
adolescents (younger than age 18) who are receiving long-term aspirin
therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye’s syndrome after flu
virus infection; pregnant women; adults and children who have asthma, other
chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic,
neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes; and adults and
children with immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by
medications or by HIV). People age 65 and older, however, appear to be at
lower risk of 2009 H1N1 infection compared to younger people. But, if older
adults do get sick from flu, they are at increased risk of having a severe
One of the best ways
to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated against the flu. People
under age 25 are one of the key groups recommended by CDC’s Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to be among the first to receive
the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine.
Permit high-risk students, faculty, and staff to stay home when flu is spreading
in the community
Extend the self-isolation period: If flu severity increases, people
with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 7 days after the onset of
their symptoms, even if they have no more symptoms. If people are still sick
after 7 days, they should stay home until 24 hours after they have no symptoms.
See information above for self-isolation in different types of housing.