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Keep calm. Carry on. Be prepared.



To: UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty

From: McKay Coble, Faculty Chair

Date: September 10, 2009

Re: Academic Planning relative to H1N1 Flu

Dear Colleagues:

We write to you with a request for your help in working with the Office of Student Affairs, The Office of the Provost and the Office of Faculty Governance to address issues attendant to the presence of the H1N1 flu virus on our campus.

You will find current information about the realities of the H1N1 flu virus on campus and across the country on the campus website http://www.unc.edu/.  It is estimated that 50% of us will contract this virus in some form or another this semester.  It will not affect us all at once which would make this request easier for us to make and for you to answer.  Instead, we will experience a protracted infection that has already started with reports of several cases on campus.

We are asking each of you in every school, every unit in the College -- educational, service and administrative -- to adopt and attitude of watchfulness, care and flexibility as we move into this term.  

We ask each of you to think of a backup plan for something that would interrupt your ability to teach as you are used to.  UNC has a pandemic plan in place for necessary actions and personnel should we have to close the University but what we are asking of you is to consider how we can best carry on in the face of what will surely and continually interrupt the normal course of the academic year.

We are always committed to not to interrupting the quality of our students’ experience- not to compromise excellence but to maintain it under circumstances of great duress.  How can your back up plan consider attendance, laboratories, classes in which you may experience absences that might normally be un-excused?  How would you handle an exam if half of your class was not there to take it?  How will you cover the classes you would not be able to teach if it were necessary to isolate yourself for up to a week?

There may be students who take advantage of this situation or mistakenly think they have the flu - it is inevitable.  We are especially concerned that students will not isolate themselves when ill with the flu if they fear punitive responses from their faculty.

We hope that the Honor Code will guide students to conduct themselves appropriately during this campus community predicament as we hope the Faculty will approach this time with flexibility, extra vigilance and special consideration for our students for whom we are in loco parentis.  

We have the assurance of the Center for Faculty Excellence that they are poised to help anyone needing assistance with academic planning and we ask that each of our seventy-four unit Chairs and the Deans of our twelve schools assist their faculty in developing systems to keep us going through this challenging time.

Pulling together as a faculty is crucial for the success of any plan to work; we are corroborating Interim Provost Carney’s memorandum of September 9, 2009 to reiterate several important steps in beginning your back up plan: http://alert.unc.edu/go/doc/1395/319805/

Care for each other as we usually do but maybe just a little bit more and look to help each other and our student body succeed in our teaching, learning and research goals this year.  The Office of Faculty Governance is here to help as well.  Call us if you need assistance (919-962-2146).

Thank you for your support,

McKay