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Influenza (Flu) Questions & Answers (Q & A)

Last Updated: December 14, 2017

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold or allergies. The flu usually comes on suddenly. Because colds/allergies and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can tell if a person has the flu.

General Q & A:

Does the Dallas County Community College District have a plan in place to deal with an outbreak of the Flu?

DCCCD has an emergency operations plan that was developed by the district’s department of emergency management. The plan is designed to adapt to specific situations or circumstances like the influenza (Flu).

Under what conditions would a location or a facility close because of an outbreak of influenza (Flu)?

Any decision to close a location would be based on a recommendation from the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department and/or at the discretion of a college/location president, in consultation with the chancellor’s office and the department of risk management.

What would be the basis/rationale for closing a DCCCD location/facility because of an outbreak of influenza (Flu)?

Dallas CountyHealth and Human Services is not currently recommending that locations close due to any public health issues.

Who makes the decision to close a location or facility because of a reported/probable/confirmed case of the Flu?

The college/location president would make the decision to close a facility, in consultation with the chancellor’s office, the department of emergency management and Dallas County Health and Human Services.

May an event be canceled because of an outbreak of the Flu?

Who makes that decision and how should the decision be communicated (and by whom)? Yes, an event could be canceled because of an outbreak of the Flu. Currently, Dallas County Health and Human Services does not recommend canceling events due to the Flu. Instead, the department recommends that everyone follow good health practices such as the regular washing of hands. The college president would make that decision, in consultation with the chancellor’s office and the department of emergency management. Consistency is important as we make these types of decisions.

How and when would such a closure be reported to students? To employees? To the general public?

Initial announcements may be made using the campus telephone PA and/or fire PA systems if a closing occurred during classroom hours. Other announcements may be posted on the district/college website and social media. Another option is using the District’s notification system “DCCCD Alerts” which uses e-mails, text messages, and voice messages. Messages are sent to e-mails and phone numbers provided to the District by students and employees. The general public could be notified using announcements sent to area news outlets by the district’s public and governmental affairs/media relations office.

Who would be responsible for reporting a closure to students, employees and the general public?

A college closing announcement would come from the college president’s office.

Should all colleges/locations close if one college or location must close?

No. Each college/location is evaluated individually, based on its own unique circumstances.

Are we providing hand sanitizers/facilities for hand washing and other sanitary practices that help fight the spread of germs?

It is recommended that colleges provide handsanitizers.

What kinds of cleaning processes are used in buildings on campus to help ensure that students, faculty, staff and administrators have a healthy environment in which they can learn and work?

The custodial staff members use an industry-recognized disinfectant in their daily cleaning.

How often are facilities and bathrooms cleaned?

Restrooms are cleaned an average of four times each day. Facilities in general are cleaned at least twice daily.

What types of information will the district provide to all of its locations about a Flu situation? How often? How much? Who will provide it?

The district’s department of emergency management will provide briefings from the Dallas County Health Department as they are received, plus information from other sources, to the chancellor’s staff. The information will be disseminated to the colleges through the office of public and governmental affairs/media relations.

What teams are collaborating to provide information to the district about Flu procedures and decision-making processes? 

The following teams are collaborating to provide information to the district about Flu procedures and decision-making processes: legal counsel, emergency management, risk management, the chancellor’s office, district human resources, public and governmental affairs/media relations and our colleges.