A message from President Destler about Swine Flu

Additional information available at Swine Flu Emergency Preparedness Web site




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TO: RIT students, staff and faculty
FROM: Bill Destler, RIT president
SUBJECT: Swine Flu
DATE: April 29, 2009

I am writing to inform you about the university’s response to the outbreak of Swine influenza in Mexico, New York and several other areas.

The outbreak has NOT had a direct impact on the RIT campus, but the university is taking a variety of steps in response to the outbreak. Furthermore, there are NO confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Monroe or surrounding counties.

RIT is actively monitoring the situation and has taken several steps thus far:

A multi-disciplinary Incident Management Team has been activated to plan for and take appropriate steps in accordance with our pandemic and communicable disease response plans.

All business-related travel to Mexico has been halted. We are discouraging all other forms of travel to Mexico at this time—including for co-ops or leisure travel.

A Swine Flu Web site has been established with frequently asked questions at: http://emergency.rit.edu. Click on the “Swine Flu Status” link.

The Student Health Center has enhanced monitoring procedures for students who have flu-like symptoms. RIT is also following all Centers for Disease Control and New York state guidelines related to clinical procedures.

Open discussion forums will be held on Sunday and Monday (see details below).

WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO

There are a number of actions you can take now and in the days and weeks ahead:

Students who feel ill: Students can go to the Student Health Center if they develop symptoms consistent with an influenza-like illness (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body aches, fatigue and fever greater than 100 degrees). This is especially important if you have recently traveled to an area experiencing an outbreak of this illness.

Faculty and staff who feel ill: RIT faculty and staff should contact their primary-care provider and stay home if they experience symptoms consistent with an influenza-like illness.

Stay calm: Thus far, Swine Flu has been relatively mild in the United States and we are fortunate to have access to a well-developed and highly capable public health infrastructure.

Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face: This simple action makes it much harder for all viruses to spread from person to person. Using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is an extremely effective way to safeguard your health.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm (not your hands), and then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.

Stay home if you are ill: This is a matter of personal responsibility, which is very effective in minimizing the spread of this (and all) viruses. If you should develop symptoms that are comparable with influenza, students should contact the Student Health Center (585-475-2255, TTY: 585-475-5515). Faculty and staff, contact your health-care provider for advice. Stay at home (or in your room) and away from public gatherings including classes, RIT offices, dining halls, concerts, etc.

Pay attention to information sent to the RIT community about influenza: RIT will keep you informed in a timely way about developments and any actions the university takes in response to the influenza outbreak.

TOLL-FREE INFORMATION HOTLINE

RIT has activated a toll-free hotline to handle questions related to Swine Flu. The hotline number is 1-866-624-8330 (TTY: 1-866-758-1958). Please refer to the hotline for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

OPEN FORUM DISCUSSIONS

What: Swine Flu open forums

When and Where:
7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, Ingle Auditorium (Student Alumni Union)
2:30 p.m. Monday, May 4, Webb Auditorium (Booth Building, 7A)

Who: Expert panelists from the RIT Student Health Center, Student Affairs, Housing Operations, Residence Life and Risk Management

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