Australian Catholic University has updated protocols developed during the SARS crisis in order to be prepared for the possibility of a swine flu pandemic.
Australian universities are already cancelling or advising deferral of travel to Mexico and monitoring the wellbeing of staff and students in Latin America, the US and Canada, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Pandemic response guidelines developed during the SARS outbreak six years ago are being reviewed and updated. Universities and schools are regarded as major sites for the spread of disease.
If the virus reaches the level of human to human infection in small clusters, the Australian Catholic University has signalled it will require staff and students returning from an affected region to remain on leave until they gain medical clearance.
In the event of a pandemic, the university will shut down campuses, with the vice-chancellery building only staffed by four uninfected staff to monitor any communication. Macquarie University's staff health and safety manager, Michael Carley, said a crisis management plan would be activated in the event of a pandemic. However, he declined to reveal any specific details.
He said the university had identified and contacted students and staff travelling in Mexico, Canada and the US, with any non-essential travel to Mexico cancelled.
"The university ... will continue to be guided by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and the NSW Department of Health through integrated pandemic management plans."
Students from affected countries may have to stay home (Sydney Morning Herald)
Australian Catholic University