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As we begin finals and prepare for commencement ceremonies and activities, I want to take a moment to provide a brief update about the ongoing swine flu situation.

I want to assure you that the health and safety of our campus community is our foremost concern and that our campus plan takes a proactive approach in the event the current outbreak should worsen.

We have heard from some students and parents, as well as employees, who have valid concerns and questions about the developing international situation. It is important to note that current medications have been effective in treating people who’ve become ill from the virus and no deaths have occurred in America. We are currently monitoring the situation on an hourly basis through the Knox County Health Department, which works directly with state and federal health officials on the latest information and instructions for the general public.

Currently, no adjustments have been made to any university schedule or planned campus activities.

Our campus Pandemic Influenza Response Plan follows Centers for Disease Control guidelines. The plan gives me latitude to take immediate action if the virus continues to spread among humans and begins to cause severe and sustained illness among members of communities. Any action would be taken out of an abundance of caution to protect our students, faculty, staff and visitors. The plan – which is a companion to the campus Emergency Management Plan – relates to public health emergencies and specifies key equipment, resources and personnel needed for this response.

Student Health Services advises that all members of our campus community take special care to follow proper hygiene procedures to avoid becoming ill. More information is posted online at Additional information also can be found at

Students who have flu-like symptoms should first call and speak to a nurse at the Student Health Service at (865) 974-2262. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The key determinant in diagnosing flu is a temperature at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Students requiring after-hours attention should also call UT Medical Center at (865) 305-9000. Students who are ill should stay home and rest and avoid contact with other people.

I will provide more information if conditions worsen or if we receive more specific information that affects our campus and requires that we take additional action. I hope that you have a healthy and safe conclusion to this semester and enjoy the many related events that we have planned.