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2009 H1N1 Influenza

Frequently Asked Questions

(Last updated October 7, 2009)

Below are common H1N1-related questions and answers for students, faculty, and University employees.


Student FAQ—Missing Class and Making Up Assignments

Q: If I become ill with H1N1 flu-like symptoms, do I need to inform my instructor?

A: Yes. Notify your instructor by e-mail and ask how to make up missed classes, tests, and assignments.

Q: If I am absent due to the flu, am I responsible for what was covered in class?

A: Yes. You are responsible for all course requirements, deadlines, and exams. Make arrangements with your instructor or classmates to find out what was covered.

Q: How can I keep up with what’s covered in lectures and labs?

A: Establish now the habit of sharing notes with your classemates and lab partners. If your instructor agrees, ask a classmate to record classes or see if you can participate remotely, for example, by listening through a classmate’s speaker phone.

Q: What if I can’t make up some required activity for a course?

A: Your instructor may substitute another activity. If no appropriate substitution can be devised, the missing component(s) will not be factored into your grade. University policy states: “Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances.”

Q: If I have been exposed to H1N1 flu but don’t have symptoms, should I stay away from class?

A: No. You need to attend class.

Q: If I have H1N1 flu-like symptoms, when can I safely return to class?

A: When you’ve recovered and are without a fever for 24 hours, without fever-reducing medication. If your symptoms are not improving, please
seek medical care.

Q: If I’ve recovered, do I need to bring a doctor’s note excusing my absence from class?

A: No.

Q: How much time will I have to catch up with assignments and other course requirements?

A: This is at the discretion of your instructor. All instructors have been asked to be flexible.

Q: What resources are available to help me catch up?

A: If you’re an undergraduate, check out SMART Learning Commons. You can meet one-on-one with an experienced peer for free consulting. Also, review workshops for various high-enrollment, lower-division courses will be scheduled mid-semester.

Q: Will classes or other campus activities be canceled if enough students get sick?

A: At this time we expect that classes and campus activities will continue as scheduled throughout the fall semester.

Q: If the University does need to cancel classes or activities, how will I be informed?

A: We will inform you immediately through multiple means (e.g., TextU, e-mail, University Web site).


Faculty FAQ—Dealing with Student Illness and Absences

Q: May I require students who’ve recovered from H1N1 flu-like symptoms to bring a doctor’s note excusing their absence?

A: No.

Q: May I ask students who’ve been exposed to H1N1 flu, but have no symptoms, to stay away from class?

A: No. You should, however, ask them to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Q: When is it okay for me to let students who’ve had H1N1 flu-like symptoms return to class?

A: When they’ve been without fever for at least 24 hours, without medication.

Q: When should I expect students to catch up with class assignments?

A: Please be flexible. While recovering from H1N1 flu, students may experience extreme fatigue. And they may have lots of catching up to do.

Q: What should I do if students are unable to make up all course requirements?

A: If a student has missed an essential component of the course, try to substitute another activity or assignment. If you can’t devise a substitute, don’t factor the missing component(s) into the student’s final grade. University policy states: “Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances.”

Q: Will the U cancel classes or other activities if enough students get sick?

A: We expect classes and campus activities to continue as scheduled throughout fall semester. If classes need to be canceled, we will inform you immediately through multiple means. Unless you are ill and no colleague is available to fill in, according to University policy your class must be held. Only the provost has the authority to cancel classes. Authority to cancel classes does not reside at the collegiate or departmental level.

Q: What technology tools are available to faculty to deliver messages and course content to ill students?

A: Faculty are encouraged to draw on the help and expertise of a variety of technology-related offices:

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides a full range of educational technologies—from email Listservs to Moodle to WebVista and more—to help instructors deliver their classes to students at a distance.

OIT’s Digital Media Center (DMC) consultants provide instructors with support around educational technology, pedagogy, and instructional design. For more information, please visit their Web site.

Local technology help and support also is available to faculty and students in many colleges and departments at the University. In the event of an H1N1 flu outbreak, it will be more important than ever for OIT and collegiate and departmental IT staff to collaborate to ensure there are enough resources to help those seeking technology assistance. A list of collegiate and departmental technology support is being compiled on the OIT Help and Support Web page. This list can be found online.

One of our greatest resources is the instructors who already work with and excel at using these educational technologies. Many of these instructors have participated in the DMC Faculty Fellowship Program and may be able to assist others who are new to educational technologies. For a list of these resources, contact the DMC at

UThink is a Web-based tool maintained by University Libraries that enables students, instructors, and staff members to asynchronously create and view blogs.

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

For technology questions or needs not addressed in the sites listed above, please contact the Technology Helpline at 612-301-4357 (1-HELP on campus).


Employee FAQ

Q: What can I do to stay well when so many are getting the flu or H1N1?

  • Your best protection is to get plenty of rest, eat well, drink lots of fluids, and avoid contact with those who are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Q: I think I’ve been exposed to H1N1. What should I do?

  • Continue to go to work as usual. Monitor your health, and notify your supervisor and stay home if you become ill.
  • If you are concerned about exposure in the workplace, talk with your supervisor. You may also contact your local or central Human Resources representative to discuss those concerns.
  • If you have a chronic underlying medical condition or are pregnant, call your health care provider for advice.

Q: I am ill, but I’m not sure if it’s H1N1 or the normal flu. Should I stay home?

  • Stay home. Each of us has the responsibility to protect other students, staff, and faculty from exposure.

Q: I have children who are ill and I may need to miss work to care for them. What should I do?

  • Caring for ill children is important. Call your supervisor to report that you need to stay home just as you would any other time your children are ill.

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