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Messages for University Faculty

September 18, 2009

Dear Twin Cities campus faculty,

Now that H1N1 flu is here . . .

As expected, small but increasing numbers of influenza-like illnesses have been reported on the University's campuses. Please review the provost's Sept. 1 message to faculty, as well as the following points.

Keep in touch with ill students

Let your students know whether to use e-mail, Moodle, or WebVista to find updates on class assignments and schedules. Likewise, please use one of these means to communicate regularly with students. You should also consider using the "e-mail all" function in UM Reports as a means of keeping in touch with students. (Remember to use the blind copy (bcc) field when e-mailing all students.) Students are being asked to notify their instructors by e-mail if they become ill and are unable to attend class.

Exposed to H1N1 flu?

Question: If a student has been exposed to H1N1 but has no symptoms, should the student be excused and asked to stay away from class?

Answer: No. Currently, there are no restrictions recommended by MDH or CDC for those who believe they have been exposed. Exposed persons, however, should monitor themselves carefully for symptoms of influenza. Students who have symptoms should stay home until they have recovered and are without a fever for 24 hours. Students who have been exposed but have no symptoms need to attend and be allowed to attend class.

Please be flexible

As students recover from the worst of the symptoms, H1N1 flu is causing extreme fatigue. To the extent possible, please be flexible in accommodating those students, as they will have a lot of catching up to do in their classes.

Use UThink technology to communicate with students

In addition to the technology resources listed in the Sept. 1 message to faculty, consider using UThink to communicate with students:

UThink is a Web-based tool maintained by University Libraries that enables students, instructors, and staff members to asynchronously create and view blogs. Blogs (short for "Weblogs") are Web sites organized in reverse chronological order, with the newest entries on top. They can be set up quickly and updated regularly by people with little or no Web programming experience. Blogs can be used for a variety of course-related activities, such as to keep journals on class topics, create annotated bibliographies or "webographies," post drafts of papers and solicited peer feedback, brainstorm about class reports or projects, or maintain a list of news articles relevant to a particular topic.

The Academic Technology Advisory Committee ATAC also has a wiki resource for faculty.


E. Thomas Sullivan
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

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