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Academic Guidance/Planning Directives

The following provides guidance to Academic Units in the preparation of H1N1 Preparedness Plans. It has been approved by the Academic subcommittee in consultation with the VP Academic.
 

Introduction

Memorial University is anticipating that the university community will be affected by the H1N1 pandemic this fall and possibly winter.

The university’s Academic Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness has been working on an institution-wide plan to address the anticipated absentee rate of 15-35% for students, faculty and staff. Absenteeism is expected due to illness, concerns regarding personal safety, caring for sick family members and/or lack of availability to child care due to closure of schools and daycare facilities.

In preparation for the development of unit level plans, the emergency preparedness subcommittee has drafted H1N1 Planning Objectives and Assumptions. Academic units in the university have been asked to develop unit-level plans to address these planning objectives.

The goals of planning are: (a) to ensure the safest possible environment for students, faculty, and staff; (b) to minimize disruptions to teaching, research and business activities; and (c) to return to a state of normalcy as quickly as possible.

These plans will be based on the principles adopted by all Deans and Directors on Sept. 09, 2009 in that it reflects:
  • Fairness to students
  • Academic integrity
  • Open and timely communication.
These plans should address levels of intervention which may be required in response: Level I (mild, <15% absenteeism), pandemic level II (moderate, 15-35% absenteeism), and pandemic level III (severe, >35% absenteeism).

The goal of the university is to remain open across all three levels of the pandemic.


Objectives

The university will need to focus on the following objectives:

Objective #1: Ensure the safest possible environment for students, faculty, and staff.

A) Educate students, faculty, and staff concerning signs and symptoms of H1N1 and preventive measures (Level I).
1. Signs detailing appropriate procedures to minimize the spread of the H1N1 virus are to be posted that promote the Public Health "3 C Campaign"—
  • Clean – wash hands thoroughly.
  • Cover – cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Contain – stay at home.
2.) Signs detailing H1N1 symptoms are to be posted:
  • Abrupt onset (within a few hours)
  • Fever ( greater than 37.8)
  • Body Aches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue


B) The university will promote a vaccination program for students, faculty and staff against H1N1 and seasonal flu (Level I).

As information becomes available faculty, staff and students will be updated regarding vaccination for H1N1 and seasonal flu. Immunization programs will be coordinated through Public Health. The University will work collaboratively with Public Health to facilitate an immunization program.


Objective #2: Minimize disruptions to teaching, research, and business activities.

A) In the event of faculty absences or a large number of student absences, consideration may be given to electronic delivery, recommended readings, etc.

Note the following university regulation (5.6.3, page 63 of the 2009/10 University Calendar) which permits a change in evaluation method subsequent to issuing the course outline during the first week of classes. Faculty must seek approval from the "head of the academic unit”.

B) The Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies will make recommendations on flexibility regarding course evaluation methods.

C) Communications (Levels I, II and III):

1. To ensure speedy access to information concerning health bulletins, students, faculty, and staff will be instructed to consult Memorial's H1N1 website (www.mun.ca/h1n1) and their @mun.ca email accounts.

2. Faculty will continue to report class cancellations and these will be posted on the University website by Marketing and Communications as per normal procedures. IF course cancellations are related to H1N1, the university would encourage faculty to notify faculty administration.


3. A staff member who is absent due to H1N1 will be required to notify their immediate supervisor and complete forms as per the requirements of Human Resources.

4. All students will be advised the means of communication regarding H1N1 by posting and sending the following message:

The University is monitoring the potential and actual impacts of the H1N1 situation on our community. For H1N1 information, visit http://www.mun.ca/h1n1/. Also, remember that the University will communicate with you through this website and directly with you at your @mun.ca account.
D) Student absences: For the fall semester, students are not required to produce a medical note for H1N1 illness in accordance with a ruling by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies (SCUGS) on Sept. 10, 2009.

Students will be able to self-report absences using the Banner system. They will be required to indicate if the absence is due to personal H1N1 illness or the absence is due to the need to care for someone with H1N1.

Students are required to self-report at the beginning of the illness. It is anticipated illness will last approximately seven days. Multiple reportings will be monitored.

E) Research and Graduate Studies
Individual Faculty members are responsible for developing plans to manage research programs during an H1N1 pandemic. This will include plans to meet contractual obligations and deliverables, and continued protection of specialized equipment and living things, if one is to be absent due to H1N1.

Special requests for support must be communicated to and approved.

Graduate supervisors need to exhibit flexibility with respect to graduate students meeting course or other requirements in the event they become ill with H1N1 (e.g. rescheduling comprehensive examinations, deferring examinations, etc.).

F) Academic Service
In the event deadlines relating to P & T Committee matters cannot be met because of H1N1 illness of its members, the Director must be advised as early as possible in order to seek a variance so that a faculty member’s review and progress is not adversely affected.
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