Flu Team Health Resource Page

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REMEMBER: If you feel sick or have cold- or flu-like symptoms

GO HOME or STAY HOME. Take a COVID-19 test.

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Please visit our COVID-19 site for the most recent updates regarding BC’s response.

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Prevention tips and information about seasonal flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Latest Flu Team Updates

Nov. 29, 2022

This update contains information and resources so you can stay safe.

Remember – we’re all in this together!


While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses typically circulate during the fall and winter during what’s known as the flu season. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons varies, but flu activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the timing and duration of flu activity has been less predictable.

Though it’s common to use the term “flu” to refer to a cold or other respiratory illness, the flu is much worse. It’s a highly contagious viral infection. The flu is unpredictable, and it can be severe, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant individuals, and those with certain health conditions. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are hospitalized with the flu, and tens of thousands of people die.

The flu spreads easily from person to person through coughs and sneezes. Adults can infect others one day before they show symptoms and up to five days after they get sick. Children can spread the virus for ten or more days.


View the most recent data for King County.  Data are updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and reflect laboratory results reported to the Washington State Department of Health as of midnight the day before.  


Flu Symptoms

·        Fever

·        Cough

·        Sore throat

·        Runny or stuffy nose.

·        Muscle or body aches, chills

·        Headaches

·        Fatigue

·        Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)


Everyone six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine to prevent sickness, healthcare visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from influenza. The flu vaccine is your best protection. Protection lasts throughout the flu season, which usually peaks in January or February and continues into the spring. Some children and adults may be eligible to receive nasal spray flu vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six-months and older, including pregnant and nursing people. If you are 65 or older, talk to your provider about flu vaccine and other important vaccines for your age group.

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to protect you from flu. The flu vaccine does not protect against coronavirus, colds, or other viruses that cause respiratory illness.

The flu vaccine keeps many people from getting the flu. Some people who get the flu vaccine may still get sick. If you do get the flu, the vaccine will help reduce the severity of your illness. It will also lower your chance of needing to go to the hospital.

Other Measures

In addition to getting vaccinated, wash hands often and cover your cough.

If You Get Sick

  • Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
  • Take antivirals drugs – if prescribed by a health care provider.

Review more information for people who are sick.

Monitoring at BC

The Flu Team and President’s Cabinet will continue to track local, state, and national health guidance as it determines the path forward for the college.


Visit your local doctor’s office, pharmacy, or clinic event. Go to www.vaccinefinder.org or call the Help Me Grow Washington hotline at 1-800-322-2588 (language assistance available) to find a flu vaccine location near you.

  • In Washington, all children under age 19 get flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines at no cost. The provider may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine. You can ask them to waive this fee if you cannot afford it.
  • Most insurance plans, including Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccine for adults.
  • Consult your local health department for information about other no-cost flu vaccine options that may be available in your community.

Note: Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can both be received in the same day, or even the same visit for convenience.



Information and follow-up guidance is continually evolving. Here are some additional websites to help you stay informed: 

·       Washington State Department of Health

·        Public Health Seattle and King County

Stay well,

The Flu Team

Resources & What to do if You Get Sick

Contact Information

Look up your instructor’s contact info:

Find contact info of your program or department

Technology Support

If you experience problems setting up your e-mail account or other technology support related questions contact the Student Technology Support Center in N250 or call them at (425) 564-5555. Use STSC for troubleshooting account set-up issues, setting up your emergency alerts, or logging in to Canvas or other online tools.  A technician will contact you and work with you on the issue.

Steps to Take Now

  • Sign up for BC Alerts. BC Alerts is the best way to receive up to the minute information regarding campus closures, weather events and other emergency information impacting the Bellevue College community.
  • Your instructors are being asked to create an emergency communications plan for your class in the event they get sick, or you get sick during the quarter. Be sure to check with them so you know how they’ll stay in touch with you.
  • Monitor your BC email regularly for emails from the Flu Team regarding important updates, resources and guidance related to the Influenza virus, COVID-19 and any other potentially hazardous health event impacting our local area.

Where to Get Help

When using campus technology and planning curriculum, assistance and support is available to faculty from the following offices:

Accessibility Tips for Faculty

Federal law requires that colleges and universities provide equal educational opportunities for all students and employees, including individuals with disabilities. Bellevue College has established clear requirements for information accessibility on web pages to ensure this ethical obligation is met.

During a severe impact by the flu, if you intend to use certain web-based technologies for teaching or working from home, you should still make every effort to ensure the information and presentations for your class or for your employees fulfills accessibility needs. This page outlines a few of the common obstacles you may need to address when using some of the technology resources mentioned in the Flu Planning Guides on this site. Visit the BC Web Publishing Guide for a complete list of web information accessibility requirements and tips on how to meet these.

Flu Proof your Course

 Follow these steps to ensure class continuity for your classes in the event of a severe flu outbreak on campus this year.

Plan Ahead

The single most important thing you can do for yourself and your students to minimize stress and confusion is to plan ahead.  It is hard to be too prepared, and fortunately, many of the strategies outlined here may be beneficial to the operation of your course, even if our campus doesn’t experience severe impacts. Be aware that a number of the available technologies may require you to take a training course, request an account (separate from your e-mail/network account), additional equipment (such as microphone or webcam), or may involve having to wait for service personnel to set up systems for you. Therefore, keep this in mind and request yours as soon as possible to avoid the waiting when the time comes.

Create a Canvas site

All instructors have access to Canvas. If you are teaching a face-to-face class, you could still use Canvas as a supplementary tool to post your course syllabus, course objectives, announcements, and reading materials so that they are available in Canvas for your students to access at any time.

Create an emergency communications strategy

Determine how you will exchange course information and updates with your students should you be unable to meet with them face to face.  Here are some suggestions on how you might do this:

  • Create an e-mail distribution list for your course(s).
  • Include information in your syllabus explaining how you will communicate with your students in an emergency. Post this information in the Syllabus tool in you Canvas site.
  • Talk to your colleagues and support staff in your office and plan in detail how you will stay in touch with one another if several people are absent in your department at the same time.  Consider who could take over for your class if you get sick, and also who you could back-up if a colleague gets sick.
  • Review the information provided elsewhere on this site for students and all employees regarding prevention, procedures and other necessary information.
  • Talk with your division administrator and get clarification on your duties, responsibilities and the availability of support in your department during a severe flu impact.

Establish your course policies

The college is advising students to stay home if they suspect they have the flu. This may result in some of your students being out of class for an entire week or more.  Review your syllabus and attendance policies now—before your students are sick—so you can communicate expectations early. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Inform students of your plan to help them keep up with their coursework should a flu outbreak occur.
    • Tell them how you will notify them about changes in your class plans or assignments.
    • In Canvas, the Announcements feature is a simple way to communicate updates.
    • Simply using e-mail is another way to communicate.
  • You may decide to be more flexible with attendance policies for your course by allowing online discussions or “virtual classrooms” to serve as a substitute for classroom participation. There are a number of resources available for conducting these types of discussions. This may be an ideal way to help accommodate students who have the flu, are still contagious and are not ready to return to campus, but feel well enough to attend class remotely.  Canvas does provide tools for this purpose.
  • Students may miss assignment deadlines and/or exams because of illness.  In your syllabus and grading policy, outline how you will handle late assignments or missed exams and whether or not this policy will be revised if missed work is due to flu-related disruptions.

Determine how you will keep your class going

Handouts, documents and assignments may be posted online using a variety of distribution methods. You should also consider how you’ll want your students to submit assignments electronically in case they cannot come to campus.

Ideas to consider

  • Share assignments and files to a class site—either using Assignments and the Files tool.
  • Send assignments to students via e-mail or the Canvas Inbox.
  • Provide a way for students to submit assignments. Some possible ways to do this:
    • Using Canvas create an Assignment with Online Submissions.
    • Using e-mail—have your students e-mail you assignments via an e-mail attachment.
  • Conduct live, real-time discussions online in your Canvas course site by scheduling a start and end time for the conversation and use provided discussion tools.  Alternatively you can use the e-mail distribution list to post questions to your students.
  • Offer quizzes and exams in Canvas, or send to students via e-mail and as e-mail attachments.  This may require restructuring your quiz or exam as a “take home” assessment featuring less multiple choice or T/F questions and more open-ended, interpretive essay-style or short answer questions.
  • Plan a virtual lab for your students by directing them to freely available websites relevant to your course materials that would provide suitable activities for your course. Check with your textbook publisher; many offer online course materials, labs and activities.

Guide for Staff

Where to Get Help

When using campus technology and planning curriculum, assistance and support is available to staff from the following offices:

Accessibility Tips for Staff

Federal law requires that colleges and universities provide equal educational opportunities for all students and employees, including individuals with disabilities. Bellevue College has established clear requirements for information accessibility on web pages to ensure this ethical obligation is met.

During a severe impact by the flu, if you intend to use certain web-based technologies for teaching or working from home, you should still make every effort to ensure the information and presentations for your class or for your employees fulfills accessibility needs. This page outlines a few of the common obstacles you may need to address when using some of the technology resources mentioned in the Flu Planning Guides on this site. Visit the BC Web Publishing Guide for a complete list of web information accessibility requirements and tips on how to meet these.

Get answers to some common questions you may have in the event the college is severely impacted by an outbreak of the seasonal flu. For additional information about the flu and how to avoid getting ill, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Table of Contents

General questions

What is influenza?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

What are the symptoms of  influenza?

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. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How is the flu transmitted?

Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What steps is the college taking to reduce the spread of influenza on campus?

The college is taking several steps to minimize the spread of influenza on our campus, based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These steps include:

  • Asking that students and employees who experience flu-like symptoms or are diagnosed with the flu to stay home until 24 hours after their fever is gone.
  • Installing hand sanitizer dispensers at various locations around campus, and encouraging everyone to wash their hands as frequently as possible. The CDC says this is the single most effective thing you can to do keep from catching the flu.  The college has installed hand sanitizer dispensers in all computer labs on campus, and the Open Lab (N250) also provides Clorox cleaning wipes at the front desk so students can clean computer keyboards and mice before doing their computer work.
  • Providing resources and technology alternatives to teachers and staff so that, even if they catch the flu, they can teach or work from home if they feel up to it.
  • Providing written guidance to students and employees on how they can best avoid catching the flu.

Will the college close if flu cases on campus are confirmed?

The college will only consider closing if an outbreak becomes severe. College leadership will be monitoring the situation closely throughout the year and seek advice from public health officials if the illness begins to spread.

Will all campus events be cancelled (athletics, conferences, forums, etc.) if a school closing alert is issued?

If either Main Campus or North Campus were to be closed due to a severe outbreak of influenza, then all events taking place on the impacted campus would be cancelled.

What should I do if I catch the flu?

  • If you are diagnosed with or suspect you have the flu, stay home. Avoid contact with others until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Alert your teachers or work supervisors via email (or other means he or she has provided) if you become ill with flu.
  • If you feel up to it, remain in communication with your teachers or work supervisor and follow his or her advice about keeping up with course or office work.
  • Do not return to campus until at least 24 hours after your fever breaks.  The CDC also advises limiting your activities until you are at full strength. Overly strenuous activity can lead to longer recovery times.

Can I come to campus if I am feeling just slightly ill?

No, please don’t come to campus. We ask everyone who feels they have or are coming down with the flu – even if the symptoms are not acute at the moment – to stay home, in order to avoid spreading illness to others on campus.

How can I best avoid getting the flu in the first place?

The CDC provides the following advice for minimizing the possibility of catching flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, use the crook of your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

How can I best avoid spreading the flu to others?

The CDC suggests following these steps to avoid spreading flu to others:

  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • Keep away from others as much as possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or with your arm, when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in a waste basket. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What should I do if I am exposed to someone with flu?

The CDC provides this advice:

  • Maintain a reasonable distance from the person.
  • Do not shake hands or make other physical contact.
  • Offer the individual a mask if you have one or a tissue and ask the person to cover their mouth and nose if they should need to cough or sneeze.
  • Use a sanitary wipe after the person has left to clean those areas of your work station that the person has touched.
  • Wash your hands.

What do I do if I become acutely ill while I’m on campus?

BC is not able to provide medical assistance. If you need help arranging transportation home or to a medical facility, contact the Student Programs office at (425) 564-6150, if you are a student; if you are an employee, contact your supervisor.


What should I do if I miss class due to illness?

Notify your instructor(s) if you are sick and cannot attend classes or complete assignments on time. Find contact information for your instructor(s) in your course syllabus or in the college directory. Your instructor will request current contact information from you such as e-mail and phone information.

What will happen to my class if my instructor gets the flu—will it be cancelled?

Your instructor, or in some cases division staff, will notify you in the event of class status changes or cancellation. Be sure to ask your instructor at the beginning of the quarter what his or her emergency communications plan is for your class.

How will I know if the college closes?

The BC Alerts service delivers reliable emergency text and email messages to you anytime there is an emergency on campus that poses a safety concern for the community. You’re automatically subscribed to BC Alerts if you have a BC email address. If you’re new to BC or haven’t signed up for your NetID yet, you can do this easily online anytime- Get your NetID and Email.

To receive SMS (text message) alerts please sign in and provide your mobile phone number. Normal text message and data rates may apply.


How can I help sick students stay current with class assignments and lectures? The college provides you with a variety of online tools available to keep lines of communication open and assignments accessible from a home computer. Consider providing students with a detailed outline including scheduled chapter readings and assignment due dates. It is important to update contact information and establish your Canvas Class Site for your course during the first week of the quarter. Get more ideas and help with these tools and resources in the Faculty Flu Toolkit.

If the college closes, how can I keep my courses running?

In the unlikely event the college campus closes, academic activities will be temporarily suspended. Campus closure announcements will be posted on the college website and you may call the 24-hour emergency phone line at (425) 401-6680 to get an update.  It’s also recommended you sign up to receive e-mail or text alerts using the Campus Alerts System so you are alerted immediately in the event of a school closure.

What should I do about my class if I become sick?

Plan ahead! In case of emergencies, prepare for an extended absence by organizing 5 days of online activities or 5 days of substitute lesson plans for each of your courses. Program Chairs should have direct access to your back-up lesson plans and can help you coordinate a list of appropriate substitute teachers when needed.

May I send a substitute instructor in my place if I’m sick?

Program Chairs must approve any substitute instructors for missed classes.

Can I use Canvas online tools for my class if necessary?

Changing a traditional lecture course to an online or hybrid course during the term is an option for instructors familiar with Canvas Course Sites. Keep in mind a student’s accessibility to and familiarity with online tools are critical and you’ll need to provide support where needed. See the Faculty Flu Toolkit for more information about supplementing your course with online teaching options.

What should I do about extended absences or incomplete coursework if students are out sick or if the entire college closes?

Up to one-third of students on campus may miss a week or more of classes over the fall term. You may want to consider offering make-up assignment options for non-sequential course material. Finding creative ways of covering essential material outside the classroom will be a challenge this fall. As professionals it is important to collaborate with colleagues in finding reasonable solutions without compromising course integrity.

If a student gets sick, should they report it to the college and if so how?

Emphasize to your students the need to report extended illnesses to you and their other instructors. Students are most contagious when running a fever so insist they stay home until at least 24 hours has passed since their fever has dropped below 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) without use of fever-reducing medication. Consider incorporating a more flexible attendance policy fall term to discourage students from attending class during an illness.


How will my time away from work be counted if I am diagnosed with the flu, or if the college closes?

Absences due to illness will be covered under existing college policies. You’ll need to report any hours you do not work due to illness. If the college closes, time away from work will be handled in accordance with college collective bargaining agreements and college policy.

Flash Alerts

If you are not a student or employee and do not have a SID and PIN, you may sign up to receive alerts from www.flashalert.org, a public site that serves as a clearinghouse for emergency announcements from all schools in the Puget Sound region. You may visit the site anytime. This site also allows you to sign up to receive e-mail alerts issued by BC and other schools.

  • Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with those who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance (at least 6 feet) from others to prevent them from getting sick, too.

  • Stay home if you are sick

Stay home from work, school or errands when you are sick, so you don’t spread the illness further. More information for students and employees can be found on the flu FAQ pages.

  • Cover your cough

Cover your nose with a tissue when sneezing and dispose of the tissues properly. When coughing, cover your mouth with your arm, not your hand. This will help to prevent those around you from getting sick.

  • Wash your hands

Washing your hands often, with soap and water, is one of the best things you can do to keep from getting sick.  The flu spreads readily when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs (which could be anything: doorknobs, desks, telephones, stair railings, etc.) and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.  If you cannot wash your hands use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

  • Avoid touching your face

Avoid touching your face unless you wash your hands first. As noted above, germs spread readily when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Practice good health habits

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink plenty of fluids, manage your stress and eat nutritious foods.

Last Updated June 7, 2024