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Commencement and Handshaking

May 1, 2009

The increased interest in H1N1 influenza virus combined with the beginning of the commencement season has raised the question: Should I shake hands when I give or receive a diploma this year?

Some universities are answering this question for students and faculty. Here at the University of Minnesota, we continue to follow the lead of official public health agencies such as the CDC, WHO, and the MN Department of Health.

Currently, none are offering specific guidance, other than to recommend that those who are ill remain at home. So we are leaving this decision up to commencement organizers and participants. The goal is to ensure that all involved in 2009 commencements are appropriately recognized and remain comfortable despite this evolving health issue with the influenza virus.

John R. Finnegan, PhD
Assistant Vice President for Public Health Dean
School of Public Health

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University of Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Response Plan (332 K pdf)