From the Dean . . .
Until recently, I viewed the Swine Flu as something that happens far away and to someone else. Suddenly there were out breaks at summer camps across the country. First, the planning for the Learning Commons was disrupted because one of our partners had a son at camp in Colorado who had been exposed to the flu. Then the news came that her son had the flu and they had to stay in Colorado with him longer than expected. Postponing meetings is one thing but then the flu struck again. My nephew caught the flu at summer camp setting in motion a set of dominos that almost led to the cancellation of a long planned family vacation. This was starting to strike close to home! Even before planning for a possible flu outbreak began here at Auburn I had learned firsthand that the flu can disrupt planning at work and personal plans!
Now that our students are back some of them brought the flu with them. As I write this, Auburn has ten reported cases and has set in motion a planning process. The Deans have been asked to be flexible and do all we can to assist students and staff if we have a serious outbreak of the flu. As I learned this summer, it doesn’t take many cases to be disruptive.
I’d like to share some information from the planning meeting:
- Safety is the #1 concern. Social distancing is very important in order to control the virus. In many cases the best prevention is to keep sick and high risk people out of the classroom/lab.
- Auburn is unlikely to face a full closure of the University.
- Auburn may be faced with a large number of absences
- For any individual the H1N1 flu generally runs its course in 5 to 7 days.
- Absences will probably continue through the fall and into the spring term
- For individual student and faculty members this need not be a semester-ending event, but it could be a frustrating and disruptive one.
What can you do:
- Stay healthy by getting regular rest, exercise and a balanced diet.
- Get a flu shot.
- Keep your hands clean. The University has placed ten hand sanitizer units throughout the Draughon Library. We’ve purchased hand sanitizers for all units. Wash your hands. I’ve heard you should wash long enough to sing Happy Birthday all the way through!
- If you have the flu stay home until you are no longer contagious.
- Be flexible. If many of us get the flu we may need you to help out in new ways. This will be an opportunity to learn new responsibilities and help us keep delivering services to our students.
- Be positive. If you get the flu you won’t feel well for a few days but according to my nephew who lived to tell the tale and go on vacation with the rest of the family, “it’s not that bad after the first day.”