University mobilizes to inform campus community

Be FLUless Not Clueless! Influenza A H1N1 is no joke!

This is the launch of the University of Lethbridge's awareness and preparedness plan to students and staff. Various departments across the University have been working diligently, collaboratively and collectively over the last few months in response to the potential spread of H1N1. The University's position is that it is better to be proactive than to wait for something to happen and subsequently be reactive.

Senior administration is in full support of the H1N1 plan and has invested in the acquisition of hand sanitizer units that are presently being installed in many of the common areas across campus. The health and well-being of students and staff is of paramount importance and hopefully with the provision of hand sanitizing stations, education and continual communication, this will assist in minimizing the impact of H1N1 should it resurface as anticipated during the fall and winter months.

You have probably noted some hand sanitizers on stands that have sprung up over campus recently. In addition to this, there are approximately 300 wall mount units that the Facilities department is working hard to install.

The Health Centre, Internal Audit, Wellness and Risk and Safety Services have jointly promoted the placement of desktop hand sanitizer pumps at many of the reception desks across campus. Students in residence and the resident assistants are receiving a complimentary hand pocket sanitizer to promote the message that "healthy hands" is one way to prevent the spread of infection. There will also be complimentary pocket size bottles available at new student orientation.

Education and awareness is hugely important in the H1N1 preparedness plan and Lori Weber, manager of the University Health Centre, and Suzanne McIntosh, coordinator of Wellness, are busy with students and staff conducting H1N1 awareness and preparedness sessions. Risk and Safety Services is also assisting in this initiative in the student internship and practicum orientations. We are working as a team and getting the word out to all, including the deans, faculty, students and staff.

The H1N1 Communication plan will incorporate messaging through all available communication mediums such as UNews, the U of L home page, posters and pamphlets, digital signage, Notice Board announcements, Twitter and e-mail. Both Information Technology and Communications have been instrumental in the implementation of this plan and a dedicated website has been launched which can be viewed at the following link: This site will be updated regularly.

The University's medical crisis committee will be meeting regularly to address our response to H1N1 to ensure continuity and consistency in our proactive approach to this pandemic situation that has the potential to adversely affect our community.

In addition to this, Anne Baxter of Risk and Safety Services is the University's representative for the post-secondary pandemic liaison group that Alberta Health Services (AHS), Alberta Health and Wellness and Advanced Education and Technology (co-chair) have established.

This committee's purpose is to assist institutions with pandemic planning and ensure that consistent communication, policies and procedures are developed across the publicly funded post-secondary system.