Update on Influenza Preparedness | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
News & Events Header

Teachers College Newsroom

Skip to content Skip to content

Update on Influenza Preparedness

To the TC Community:

College staff have been working with Columbia University's Pandemic Response Team to refine our preparedness plans in anticipation of an increase this Fall/Winter in the number of reported cases of influenza including an expected increase in the H1N1 strain.

This memorandum summarizes the steps we have taken, the policies that will guide future actions and the procedures we will follow to minimize disruption to our day-to-day activities here at the College.
To the TC Community:

College staff have been working with Columbia University’s Pandemic Response Team to refine our preparedness plans in anticipation of an increase this Fall/Winter in the number of reported cases of influenza including an expected increase in the H1N1 strain.

This memorandum summarizes the steps we have taken, the policies that will guide future actions and the procedures we will follow to minimize disruption to our day-to-day activities here at the College.   

I.      Employee Well Being

1.      We are in the process of scheduling seasonal flu vaccinations for employees.  While we will provide more information to you as we lock in a date, location and time, we urge you to pursue getting a vaccination from your private physician independent of the College especially if you are in a high risk category. We would expect that on any day and time we select for on-campus vaccinations there will be long lines that might make it difficult for you to get a vaccination thus the suggestion to get vaccinated by your personal physician.  (Please note that Columbia University has scheduled November 17th for TC students to receive free vaccinations here on campus).

2.      If you begin exhibiting symptoms of the flu we urge you to consult your personal physician as you see fit but certainly do so if your health deteriorates.  If you have influenza or even if you suspect you might, stay home.  Call your supervisor to report your absence.  Professional staff employees will be able to charge current or accrued sick leave, personal days and if necessary, you may charge your vacation bank.  Unionized employee absences will follow existing terms and conditions of their respective contracts with the College.  Faculty will be given separate guidelines from the Provost’s office.

Employees should contact the HR Office for further information regarding absences including options available to them under existing federal and state law or under existing federal and state regulation to reduce their financial exposure due to prolonged illness.

3.      Finally, department heads have been authorized to permit “work-at-home” alternatives for those individuals whose responsibilities permit them to fulfill their obligations from home.  Documentation must be provided to support the decision to permit a “work-at-home” alternative for review by the HR Department.  Failure to provide documentation will result in charges against an employee’s sick leave, personal or vacation day accounts.

II.      Employee Responsibilities

As employees, we have responsibilities to the College and to each other.  Toward that end, we encourage everyone to practice sound personal hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your nose and mouth if you have to cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Clean things that are touched often
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill
  • Avoid crowded conditions when possible
  • Get an influenza shot
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • If you are at risk for serious complications, get a pneumococcal vaccination.  (For more information on pneumococcal vaccination refer to item #9 of Prevention Tips of the Columbia Preparedness site) 

 

We have installed hand sanitizer dispensers at 40 locations throughout the College.  We urge you to use them frequently.

It is also important for each of us to understand our obligation to stay home if we become ill and to encourage colleagues to stay home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.


III.      Service Continuity

While we fully expect the College to remain open and function normally, we have taken steps to:

1.      Maintain maintenance and security operations in the event of a high rate of employee sickness.

2.      Maintain food services.  CulinArt has developed contingency plans to provide essential food service capacity in the event of a high rate of employee sickness.

3.      Prepare our payroll from off-campus.  This will ensure that all will be paid in a timely fashion except for those employees who have not as yet enrolled in our direct deposit program.  For those who have not yet enrolled, doing so now will reduce the risk of interruption to your normal pay schedule in the event of a major flu outbreak here on campus.

4.      Maintain the College’s computing network.

IV.      Ongoing Communication

We ask that you look for periodic updates on the College’s webpage.  Unless there is an urgent matter we will refrain from using TC Community email and rely upon you to check the web.


V.      Actions That We Will Not Be Taking

1.      Upon advice of public health experts, we will not be undertaking extraordinary cleaning of areas reportedly used or frequented by someone who contracted an influenza including the H1N1 strain. 

2.      We will not be asking employees or students to report illnesses to the Office of Public Safety as we did this past Spring.

 

Throughout the Fall and Winter we will continue to coordinate our efforts with CU’s Pandemic Response Team and adjust our policies and procedures accordingly.  We will keep you informed through ongoing Web postings. 

Thank you for your cooperation.

Tom James                                          Harvey Spector
Provost                                                 Vice President, Finance and Administration


 [1] This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions. About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this novel H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing people at “high risk” of serious seasonal flu-related complications. This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

Published Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009

Update on Influenza Preparedness

To the TC Community:

College staff have been working with Columbia University’s Pandemic Response Team to refine our preparedness plans in anticipation of an increase this Fall/Winter in the number of reported cases of influenza including an expected increase in the H1N1 strain.

This memorandum summarizes the steps we have taken, the policies that will guide future actions and the procedures we will follow to minimize disruption to our day-to-day activities here at the College.   

I.      Employee Well Being

1.      We are in the process of scheduling seasonal flu vaccinations for employees.  While we will provide more information to you as we lock in a date, location and time, we urge you to pursue getting a vaccination from your private physician independent of the College especially if you are in a high risk category. We would expect that on any day and time we select for on-campus vaccinations there will be long lines that might make it difficult for you to get a vaccination thus the suggestion to get vaccinated by your personal physician.  (Please note that Columbia University has scheduled November 17th for TC students to receive free vaccinations here on campus).

2.      If you begin exhibiting symptoms of the flu we urge you to consult your personal physician as you see fit but certainly do so if your health deteriorates.  If you have influenza or even if you suspect you might, stay home.  Call your supervisor to report your absence.  Professional staff employees will be able to charge current or accrued sick leave, personal days and if necessary, you may charge your vacation bank.  Unionized employee absences will follow existing terms and conditions of their respective contracts with the College.  Faculty will be given separate guidelines from the Provost’s office.

Employees should contact the HR Office for further information regarding absences including options available to them under existing federal and state law or under existing federal and state regulation to reduce their financial exposure due to prolonged illness.

3.      Finally, department heads have been authorized to permit “work-at-home” alternatives for those individuals whose responsibilities permit them to fulfill their obligations from home.  Documentation must be provided to support the decision to permit a “work-at-home” alternative for review by the HR Department.  Failure to provide documentation will result in charges against an employee’s sick leave, personal or vacation day accounts.

II.      Employee Responsibilities

As employees, we have responsibilities to the College and to each other.  Toward that end, we encourage everyone to practice sound personal hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your nose and mouth if you have to cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Clean things that are touched often
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill
  • Avoid crowded conditions when possible
  • Get an influenza shot
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • If you are at risk for serious complications, get a pneumococcal vaccination.  (For more information on pneumococcal vaccination refer to item #9 of Prevention Tips of the Columbia Preparedness site) 

 

We have installed hand sanitizer dispensers at 40 locations throughout the College.  We urge you to use them frequently.

It is also important for each of us to understand our obligation to stay home if we become ill and to encourage colleagues to stay home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.


III.      Service Continuity

While we fully expect the College to remain open and function normally, we have taken steps to:

1.      Maintain maintenance and security operations in the event of a high rate of employee sickness.

2.      Maintain food services.  CulinArt has developed contingency plans to provide essential food service capacity in the event of a high rate of employee sickness.

3.      Prepare our payroll from off-campus.  This will ensure that all will be paid in a timely fashion except for those employees who have not as yet enrolled in our direct deposit program.  For those who have not yet enrolled, doing so now will reduce the risk of interruption to your normal pay schedule in the event of a major flu outbreak here on campus.

4.      Maintain the College’s computing network.

IV.      Ongoing Communication

We ask that you look for periodic updates on the College’s webpage.  Unless there is an urgent matter we will refrain from using TC Community email and rely upon you to check the web.


V.      Actions That We Will Not Be Taking

1.      Upon advice of public health experts, we will not be undertaking extraordinary cleaning of areas reportedly used or frequented by someone who contracted an influenza including the H1N1 strain. 

2.      We will not be asking employees or students to report illnesses to the Office of Public Safety as we did this past Spring.

 

Throughout the Fall and Winter we will continue to coordinate our efforts with CU’s Pandemic Response Team and adjust our policies and procedures accordingly.  We will keep you informed through ongoing Web postings. 

Thank you for your cooperation.

Tom James                                          Harvey Spector
Provost                                                 Vice President, Finance and Administration


 [1] This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions. About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this novel H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing people at “high risk” of serious seasonal flu-related complications. This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

How This Gift Connects The Dots
 
Scholarships & Fellowships
 
Faculty & Programs
 
Campus & Technology
 
Financial Flexibility
 
Engage TC Alumni & Friends