Emergency Guidelines for the Campus Community

H1N1 Influenza

September 16, 2009 E-Mail to Students

To: Princeton University undergraduate and graduate students
From: University Health Services and Environmental Health and Safety
Re: Important Guidance for Flu and Flu-like Illness

Date: Sept. 16, 2009

In an effort to help all students have a healthy, productive and enjoyable academic year, we feel it's essential to provide updated guidance for handling influenza, including the novel H1N1 (swine) flu virus that has sickened people worldwide. As you may know, flu spreads easily from person to person. Therefore, we are encouraging students to work with us in taking a range of steps to limit the spread of flu at the University as much as possible. There are many members of our campus community who may be at higher risk from complications from flu, so we need your help to prevent you, your friends and others on campus from getting sick.

Take a moment to read the following important guidelines to learn the resources available for students and what you should do if you become ill with flu or flu-like illness.

Get a seasonal flu shot. Prevent the spread of seasonal influenza by getting a free vaccination at the University's annual Flu Fest clinic on Sept. 23-24 and Oct. 12, 2009, in Frist Campus Center. (This clinic will provide shots or flu nasal spray vaccines for traditional seasonal flu only; more information about a vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus will be provided as it becomes available.)  

Know the symptoms of the flu. The symptoms of H1N1 flu and seasonal flu are similar and include fever with cough and/or sore throat. Some people with flu have also reported body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting.

Call University Health Services at (609) 258-3141 if you develop flu-like symptoms. Because state health officials are not recommending lab tests to determine whether an ill person has H1N1 flu, all students with flu-like symptoms should contact UHS and follow the guidance to prevent the spread of illness on campus.

Self-isolate (i.e. stay away from others and eat meals in your room) during your illness and for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care (fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). Ill students who live within driving distance of the University (i.e. 200 miles) may be asked to have a family member pick them up to self-isolate at home. UHS staff will check in remotely (usually via e-mail) with ill students who remain on campus to determine if they need further medical assistance and/or to confirm that they are no longer contagious and may resume activities.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition that you have not previously disclosed to University Health Services, send a confidential e-mail to uhs@princeton.edu in order to be added to UHS' list of students who may need special consideration in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease on campus.

Notify University staff that you are beginning self-isolation and discuss whether you need assistance with residential/dining matters. Undergraduate students in ALL classes should call or e-mail the Director of Student Life in their residential college (DSL contact information is listed at the bottom of this e-mail). Graduate students should notify community programs coordinator Olivia Martel at (609) 258-6686 or omartel@princeton.edu.

Avoid contact with others by: arranging for friends to leave meals outside your door; not attending classes, practices or meetings; and discouraging all visitors. Wear a surgical mask if others are in the room. Ill students will not be permitted in the dining halls, and will be discouraged from eating at off-campus clubs or other communal settings.

Inform close contacts of your illness. Someone with whom you've had close contact may be at serious risk for complications from flu, and it is your responsibility to inform others of your illness.  

Students with pre-existing medical conditions should immediately call UHS at (609) 258-3141 for medical advice if you become ill or have close contact with someone who is sick with flu. Pre-existing conditions include pregnant women, adults with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes, or individuals with immunosuppression. Students with pre-existing medical conditions also should contact their Director of Student Life (for undergraduates) or community programs coordinator Olivia Martel (for graduate students) about temporary housing arrangements if their roommate is sick with flu. Antiviral medications may be recommended for treatment of ill students who have pre-existing medical conditions.

Take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids.

Make academic arrangements if you are in self-isolation because of flu, just as you would for any illness that causes you to miss class. Faculty and deans understand that students with flu will be expected to stay in isolation until they are no longer contagious. Students who miss class or academic deadlines because of flu should contact their Residential College Dean or Director of Studies for advice and support.

Tell University staff when you are no longer contagious.  After you are no longer contagious and ready to leave self-isolation, undergraduate students should notify their Director of Student Life and graduate students should notify community programs coordinator Olivia Martel. This is important to ensure that students are cleared to return to class and resume normal activities, including eating in the dining halls. Call UHS at (609) 258-3141 if you have questions about whether you are no longer contagious and can cease self-isolation.

In general, practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

More detailed flu guidance for students and up-to-date information about the University's response to this public health issue is available on the University's H1N1 web page: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/emergency/swineflu/.

The University continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and state health departments to monitor flu conditions, and we will keep you updated with new information via the H1N1 Web page and other campus communications as it becomes available.

Residential College Director of Student Life (DSL) contact information
--Butler College: Mindy Andino, mandino@princeton.edu or (609) 258-1664.
--Forbes College: Lesley Nye, lnye@princeton.edu or (609) 258-4825.
--Mathey College: Matt Frawley, mfrawley@princeton.edu or (609) 258-8845.
--Rockefeller College: Drew Adair, aadair@princeton.edu or (609) 258-2652.
--Whitman College: Christina Davis, cd2@princeton.edu or (609) 258-8145.
--Wilson College: Michael Olin, molin@princeton.edu or (609) 258-3281.

Back to H1N1 Influenza page

Last update: 16-Sep-2009 9:30 AM
Web page comments or errors: Robin Izzo.