Faculty Senate Chair Beth Quitslund

Faculty Senate Chair Beth Quitslund

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit

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A message from Faculty Senate and the Executive Vice President and Provost


The following email about medical documentation and guidelines for students, faculty and staff in light of high levels of flu activity and hospitalizations across Ohio was sent on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Dear Colleagues,

As many may know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced this year’s influenza outbreak has reached an epidemic threshold nationally. Ohio is currently experiencing high levels of flu activity, and hospitalizations for influenza are well above their historical average. Although flu is only one of the infections typically seen among students, the prevalence of a relatively virulent flu strain this season makes it a good time to think about the ways that course policies can help Ohio University stay healthier and reduce disruptions from illness.
 
We’ve had some questions from faculty about documentation and requests for clearer guidance from medical professionals as to when students should stay away from classes, labs and work. A small ad hoc committee of representatives from Faculty Senate, Student Affairs, the Provost’s Office, University College, and Campus Care have refined the forms and procedures to document when students are seen by medical providers on campus.
 
The Athens Campus Care clinic will be replacing the familiar “blue slips” with a form that documents when a student was seen at Campus Care, and includes a recommendation for when the student should return to class or work. The medical staff at Campus Care will take into consideration the student’s medical condition, treatment, and risk of spreading viral or bacterial infection. Accepting this recommendation may help protect you and other students. Due to privacy rules within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, these forms will not routinely provide a diagnosis.
 
The form is viewable here.

  • When possible, please try to accommodate absences for sickness. Encouraging students with communicable illnesses to attend class or work can increase risk to their classmates, peers, faculty, staff, and especially those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Make your policy on medical absences clear, particularly under what circumstances a student needs to present documentation that she or he was seen by a medical provider. While it remains the responsibility of the student to obtain documentation, it is important that expectations for receiving the information be clear, as students will have more difficulty obtaining documentation afterwards.
  • Please do not call Campus Care for verification of student illness or for a diagnosis. Medical privacy rules in HIPAA prohibit the staff from discussing a patient without prior written consent. If you have questions about a document presented by a student, please contact Campus Care to verify information contained on the form.

Have a wonderful — and healthy — spring semester!

Sincerely,

Beth Quitslund
Chair, Faculty Senate, Ohio University

Pam Benoit
Executive Vice President and Provost, Ohio University