CSM Protocols to Help Prevent Spread of Flu | Your Support Requested

From the President's Office
January 24, 2018

The flu is reported as being widespread in most of the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the number of states experiencing “high” influenza activity has increased to 32 states, including Maryland, with flu activity likely to continue for several more weeks.

As you are aware, flu can be spread easily from person to person. Therefore, in keeping with CDC guidelines, the College of Southern Maryland has adopted protocols to help prevent the spread of flu at CSM, and we need your help to accomplish this.

The faculty has been provided with specific guidelines to advise their students, and we are adopting the same approach for employees as with students — zero tolerance. If an employee is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, he/she should not come to work, and we will be requiring anyone reporting to work with these symptoms to leave immediately.

Employees should contact their supervisor immediately and not come to the workplace nor attend college events if they have the flu or a flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). Absence of a fever should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine containing ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen).

We are working closely with the local health departments to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available to us. These updates regarding the flu are linked directly off of the college’s home web page at http://ready.csmd.edu/flu.html. Additionally, the Friday Report will include updates as necessary.

Here are a few things you can do to help slow the spread of the flu virus:

Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes are widely available throughout the college’s campuses and in high-traffic areas. We encourage you to use these.

Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way. Tissues should be promptly disposed into wastebaskets.

Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. A fever is a temperature taken with a thermometer that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Look for possible signs of fever: if the person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering. If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. 

Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. If you are at higher risk for flu complications, you should consider getting the flu vaccine. People at higher risk include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes).

Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions specific to your area. Stay well and thank you for your efforts to help keep our college community as healthy as possible as we navigate through this flu season.


Dr. Maureen Murphy