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” influence activity has increased to 32 states, including Maryland, with flu activity likely to continue for several more weeks.
Since the flu can be spread easily from person to person, the College of Southern Maryland has adopted the following protocols in keeping with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of flu on our campuses:
Students should not attend classes or other 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).
Such absences will be considered excused absences, provided the students notify the faculty in advance of the absence.
Students are responsible for the material covered during the period of their absence.
If a student misses too much time from a class, they may need to pursue an emergency withdrawal from the college.
Faculty may have students removed from the classroom if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and refuse to leave voluntarily.
CSM is adopting the same approach for students as with all CSM employees — zero tolerance. Any employee or student who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not come to campus, and we will be requiring anyone reporting to work or to a classroom with these symptoms to leave immediately.
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).
CSM is working closely with the local health departments to monitor flu conditions. Updates regarding the flu as well as helpful resources are linked directly off of the college’s web page at http://ready.csmd.edu/flu.html.
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.