Message on H1N1 (swine) Flu Virus from Leonard Sandridge to University Community

May 4, 2009

To all members of the University Academic and Medical Center Community:

I write to update you on our work related to the possibility of an H1N1 virus (swine flu) outbreak in our community. I also want to provide information that the state Department of Human Resource Management has asked us to share with all employees. 

Please take time to review this information. As of Sunday, there are only three confirmed cases of H1N1 virus in Virginia and none in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.  The University will continue to monitor the situation, making sure we are prepared to act if the situation worsens.

The University maintains a comprehensive plan for responding to a pandemic. I believe that our plan is strong. During the past week we have updated the plan to address the current outbreak. On April 30, I activated the University's Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT), a group of representatives from both the University Academic and Medical Center communities who are responsible for advising on emergency issues and on operations. The CIMT will receive regular updates as conditions change.  The group is looking at University events scheduled in the near term, such as Final Exercises, reunions, summer camps, and study abroad.  At this time, there is no indication that any of these events should be cancelled, but we are developing contingency plans in each case.

The University Office of Emergency Preparedness, directed by Marge Sidebottom, provides overall coordination for emergencies at U.Va. – in this case, for the H1N1 outbreak. This office will issue updates and will announce, if warranted, any changes in operations. If there is a need to alter the University's schedule or cancel a program, students, faculty, and employees will be notified quickly.

The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management has established procedures to respond to pandemic preparedness. The state has asked that we distribute Policy 4.52, Public Health Emergency Leave, to all employees, including employees of agencies exempt from coverage by the Virginia Personnel Act and, as noted, wage employees. Please review this policy.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is currently operating under the designation of "Exceptional Circumstances," described on pages 3-4 in the document. Under this designation, state agencies are expected to remain open, and employees are expected to report to work as usual. Employees who are ill or caring for ill family members will be expected to use personal sick or other appropriate leave balances. 

You should also be aware that each area of the University maintains a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan designed to allow essential units to continue to offer services during an emergency. If you are not familiar with your area's COOP Plan, take this opportunity to review it. Under this plan, employees are designated as "essential" or "non-essential" for specific emergency situations. I ask all of you – supervisors, managers, and employees – to determine your status under your plan for this specific emergency situation by consulting with your immediate supervisor or department head.

The University has been preparing for a pandemic scenario for a long time. Thus far, the H1N1 outbreak has provided an opportunity to test our emergency plans and activate some of our planning processes. This is not an opportunity that we welcome, but it is one that we take very seriously. We intend to remain vigilant and prepared but not panicked.

We will keep you advised as circumstances change. Please don't hesitate to raise any questions that you have. Questions should be directed to the Office of Emergency Preparedness at

I am grateful to you for your cooperation and support.

Leonard Sandridge

CDC recommends activities not be canceled but that students with flu-like illness self-isolate for seven days.

For the most up-to-date information, monitor the University's home page or go directly to the University's emergency site

Updated information on the possible impact of the flu on University operations

If you have additional questions, comments, or suggestions regarding what the University is doing to address the H1N1 virus, email the Office of Emergency Preparedness: The office will try to post responses to the University Q&A within 24 hours.

The CDC Web site is a central, authoritative source on the H1N1 virus nationwide.

April 30, 2009 — There have been confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States and the government has issued a public health emergency. Here are several sources that offer updates on the H1N1 (swine flu) virus:

U.Va. Office of Emergency Preparedness

Charlottesville-U.Va.-Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center

Virginia Department of Health

International Association of Emergency Managers, Universities & Colleges Committee